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Decision

Decision In the Matter of Jeffrey Fischer

Date: 02/25/2010
Organization: State Ethics Commission
Docket Number: 10-0007

Disposition Agreement

The State Ethics Commission and Jeffrey Fischer ("Fischer") enter into this Disposition Agreement pursuant to Section 5 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented-to final order enforceable in the Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(j).


On April 17, 2009, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Fischer. The Commission concluded its inquiry and, on December 18, 2009, found reasonable cause to believe that Fischer had violated G.L. c. 268A, § 21A.


The Commission and Fischer now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Findings of Fact

  1. The Plymouth Development Corporation ("PDC") is a legislatively created body designed to, among other charges, develop, manage and operate public facilities and infrastructure necessary to improve the town's economy.
     
  2. In 2005, the PDC hired Central Parking System to manage Plymouth's parking program (the "parking program").
     
  3. As of January 2007, Fischer was a member of the PDC's board of directors.
     
  4. At its meeting of May 22, 2007, the PDC voted (1) not to renew Central Parking System's contract, which was due to expire on June 30, 2007, and (2) to investigate whether it could hire one of its directors to manage the parking program.
  5. On June 22, 2007, the PDC's legal counsel requested advice from the Ethics Commission's Legal Division, as to whether a PDC director could accept a temporary position under the supervision of the PDC. The Legal Division advised counsel that under G.L. c. 268A, § 21A, a PDC director would not be eligible for appointment to such a position until at least 30 days after the director had resigned from the PDC.
     
  6. After June 22, 2007, but prior to July 1, 2007, Fischer and the PDC entered into an interim agreement to appoint Fischer as the parking manager of the parking program from July 1, 2007 to September 30, 2007, for $30,000, payable monthly in $10,000 installments. Some time after July 1, 2007, Fischer crossed out "July 1, 2007" and wrote "August 1, 2007" on the interim agreement.
     
  7. Fischer resigned from the PDC on June 27, 2007.
     
  8. Fischer served as the interim parking manager from on or about July 1, 2007 to September 30, 2007, and was paid $30,000 for that service.

Conclusions of Law

Section 21A
 

  1. Section 21A of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a former member of a board from being eligible for appointment by such board to any position under the board's supervision until the expiration of 30 days from the termination of his service as a board member. [1]
     
  2. By resigning from the PDC on June 27, 2007, Fischer became a former director of the PDC.
     
  3. The interim parking manager position was under the supervision of the PDC.
     
  4. Pursuant to § 21A, Fischer was ineligible for appointment to the interim parking manager position until July 27, 2007, at the earliest.
     
  5. Fischer served as interim parking manager from on or about July 1, 2007 to September 30, 2007.
     
  6. Therefore, Fischer, as a former PDC director, violated § 21A by accepting appointment to the interim parking manager position, a position under the supervision of the PDC, prior to the expiration of thirty days from the termination of his service as a PDC director.

Resolution

In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Fischer, the Commission has determined that the public interest would be served by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement proceedings, based on the following terms and conditions agreed to by Fischer:

 

(1) that Fischer pay to the Commission the sum of $2,000 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A § 21A; and,


(2) that Fischer waive all rights to contest, in this or any other administrative or judicial proceeding to which the Commission is or may be a party, the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this Agreement.

[1] Section 21A does not apply to a town commission or board member whose appointment or election was first approved at an annual town meeting. Fischer's appointment was not approved at an annual town meeting.

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