For Immediate Release - December 30, 2010

Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division Alleges that Former Southampton Board of Health Member Paul Truehart Violated the Conflict of Interest Law

Performed Septic Work Requiring Board of Health Approvals

The Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division filed an Order to Show Cause ("OTSC") alleging that former Southampton Board of Health ("Board") member Paul Truehart ("Truehart") violated the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by performing septic installation and repair work in Southampton which required Board approvals. Truehart was a Board member from 2008 to 2010.

According to the OTSC, in 2008, Truehart, doing business as Truehart Paving and Construction Services, completed a septic system upgrade at 11 East Street for which he was paid $19,500. In 2009, Truehart completed a septic system repair at 2 Parsons Way for which he was paid $2,900. In 2010, Truehart completed site work and septic system installations at 11 and 17 Riverdale Road Extension for which he was paid $46,858. Septic system work in Southampton requires Board approval of applications and plans and inspections by the Board's Health Agent.

Section 17(a) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, directly or indirectly requesting or receiving compensation from anyone other than the town in relation to any particular matter in which the same town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. According to the OTSC, Truehart violated section 17(a) by receiving payment from the owners of 11 East Street, 2 Parsons Way, and 11 and 17 Riverdale Road Extension for upgrading, repairing and/or installing septic systems and signing Title V Certificates. Such payment was in relation to the Board's decisions to approve the applications and plans for the septic system work and/or its Health Agent's inspections of that work.

Section 17(c) prohibits a municipal employee from, otherwise than in the proper discharge of his official duties, acting as agent or attorney for anyone other than the town in connection with any particular matter in which the same town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. According to the OTSC, Truehart acted as agent for the property owners when he signed the Title V Certificates for submission to the Board, and when he contacted the Board's Health Agent to inspect his work, thereby violating Section 17(c).

The Commission will schedule a public hearing within 90 days.