- State Ethics Commission
David Giannotti, Communications Division Chief
Puccini repeatedly contracted to provide architectural services to school
Boston, MA — The State Ethics Commission today issued a Public Education Letter to Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School carpentry instructor Richard Puccini to resolve allegations that Mr. Puccini violated the conflict of interest law by contracting with the school to provide it with architectural design services.
According to the letter, on multiple occasions since 2009, Mr. Puccini, who owns the architectural design firm Puccini Designs, contracted to provide architectural design services to the school, including the design of an addition to the main school building and the design of a child care center. Mr. Puccini was paid a total of almost $60,000 for these services. Mr. Puccini’s design services were requested by his school supervisors and he did not solicit architectural work from the school. None of the school design work was publicly bid, nor did the school seek competing quotes for the services Mr. Puccini provided, according to the letter.
The conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee, such as Mr. Puccini, from having a financial interest in a contract with his municipal employer. The law’s purpose is to prevent municipal employees from using their official positions to secure contractual opportunities with their municipal employers that are unavailable to the general public, and to avoid the public perception that municipal employees have an “inside track” to such opportunities. While there are several exemptions to this prohibition, none of them applied to Mr. Puccini’s contracts with his municipal employer, the school, and the Commission found reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Puccini violated the law, according to the letter.
The Commission chose to resolve the matter with a Public Education Letter to Mr. Puccini, rather than through adjudicatory proceedings, because Mr. Puccini provided his architectural services at the request of his school supervisors and did not solicit the work. The Commission determined that Mr. Puccini’s receipt of the letter should be sufficient to ensure his understanding of and future compliance with the conflict of interest law. Mr. Puccini agreed to the issuance of the Public Education Letter and chose not to exercise his right to a hearing.
The Commission encourages public employees to contact the Commission’s Legal Division at 617-963-9500 for free advice if they have any questions regarding how the conflict of interest law may apply to them.