Former Essex Regional Retirement Board Chair/Executive Director Timothy Bassett Pays $10,000 Civil Penalty for Violating the Conflict of Interest Law
Used public time, facilities and equipment for his private lobbying work
The State Ethics Commission approved a Disposition Agreement (“Agreement”) in which former Essex Regional Retirement Board (“ERRB”) Chair and Executive Director Timothy Bassett (“Bassett”) admitted to violating G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, by conducting his private lobbying business during normal work hours and using ERRB facilities and equipment. Pursuant to the Agreement, Bassett paid a $10,000 civil penalty.
According to the Agreement, Bassett served as the ERRB Chair/Executive Director from 2003 to 2010. As Executive Director, Bassett was paid an annual salary of approximately $134,000. From 2003 to 2009, Bassett was a registered lobbyist and worked part-time as a lobbyist for Peter McCarthy Associates. Bassett earned approximately $14,000 a year as a lobbyist. From 2003 to 2009, during ERRB work hours, Bassett frequently met with McCarthy and lobbying clients at his ERRB office, and he frequently used ERRB equipment, computers, fax machines and printers to conduct his lobbying business. Bassett also met during ERRB work hours with legislators and their staff at the State House to lobby on behalf of his private clients.
Section 23(b)(2) of the conflict of interest law prohibits a public employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, using or attempting to use his official position to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of substantial value and not properly available to similarly situated individuals. The Agreement states that Bassett violated section 23(b)(2) by conducting his private lobbying work while on ERRB time and/or using ERRB-provided facilities and equipment.
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