Opinion

Opinion EC-COI-85-36

Date: 05/14/1985
Organization: State Ethics Commission

A lieutenant in a city police department may accept special detail assignments from private locations in that city if he complies with certain conditions in order to avoid creating the type of employment relationship with a private entity which impairs the independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties as lieutenant.

Table of Contents

Facts

You currently serve as a lieutenant in the police department of a city (City). Until recently you were also employed as the assistant security chief at ABC, a large institution. You expect to be assigned to provide detail serviced to private entities in the City and to be paid pursuant to G.L. c. 44, § 53C.[1] Among the private entities to which you may be assigned is ABC.

Question

Does G.L. c. 268A permit you to accept detail assignments at ABC?

Answer

Yes, provided that you comply with the standards described below.

Discussion

In your capacity as a lieutenant in the City police department, you are a municipal employee for the purposes of G.L. c. 268A. Although nothing in G.L. c. 268A outright prohibits your eligibility for special details at either ABC or other locations in the City, you have agreed that your acceptance of a regular employment arrangement at ABC violates G.L. c. 268A, § 23(¶2)(1).[2] Thus, if you were to arrange for special detail assignment on a regular, exclusive basis at ABC, you would be indirectly continuing the same conduct which has resulted in a § 23(¶2)(1) violation. To avoid this result, you should observe safeguards to ensure that your assignment to special details and your performance of work in special details conforms to the rules and regulations of the City police department. In particular:

  1. The activity to which you are assigned must be consistent with the types of activities for which detail officers are customarily assigned.
  2. Your assignments for special detail must be available to all other eligible police officers and must be made on a rotating basis.
  3. Your rate of compensation for special detail must be consistent with the rate schedule established in the collective bargaining agreement covering City police officers.
  4. Your compensation for special detail must be received from the police department pursuant to G.L. c. 44, § 53C.

By complying with these safeguards, you will avoid recreating an employment relationship with ABC which impairs the independence of judgment in the exercise of your official duties as lieutenant.

 

End Of Decision

[1] Under G.L. c. 44, § 53C. the private entity receiving detail services pays the City, rather than the employee, for those services. The City, in turn, pays the employee pursuant to the detail rates established in its police collective bargaining agreement.

[2] This paragraph prohibits municipal employees from accepting other employment which will impair their exercise of independent judgment as municipal employees.

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