Former State and County Employee Legal Opinions, G.L. c. 268A, §§ 5, 12

Ethics Commission Legal Opinions about how the conflict of interest law applies to former state and county employees.
  • EC-COI-78-1

    May an employee of a state agency accept a position in a city department?

  • EC-COI-79-35

    May a former legal assistant in a County District Attorney's office assist a City regarding the same matters he/she participated in as a legal assistant for the County District Attorney's office?

  • EC-COI-80-43

    What issues arise from a member of the General Court and an attorney engaged in the private practice of law who has entered into an office-sharing arrangement with other attorneys, one of whom is a registered legislative agent?

  • EC-COI-81-34

    May a former employee of a state Commission appear before the Mass. Division of Hearing Offices to represent client who is aggrieved by an action of the Commission the employee was formerly employed by?

  • EC-COI-82-114

    What issues arise for a former state employee of State Agency ABC who intends to provide consulting services to Agency DEF?

  • EC-COI-83-80

    May a former state employee receive compensation as a consultant in connection with the former state employee's agency?

  • EC-COI-86-3

    A state employee at the Secretary of State's office is considering a real estate venture that may seek limited partners which is overseen by the Secretary of State's office. Permissible but restrictions apply under sections 4, 5(d), 6 and 23.

  • EC-COI-87-27

    A former state employee who telephones his former agency in an attempt to adjust a case pending in that agency would be considered "appearing personally" before that agency within the meaning of section 5(b).

  • EC-COI-87-34

    A former state attorney may not represent private clients in connection with negotiations, discussions and other communication about the continued promulgation of draft regulations where he had participated in the initial draft in his official capacity.

  • EC-COI-88-8

    A former member of a state board may represent his partnership in connection with an application before the board inasmuch as the former member neither participated in nor had official responsibility for the application while serving on the board.

  • EC-COI-88-11

    A former undersecretary of a state agency is a former state employee who is subject to section 5(a) and (b) and section 23(c) with respect to future employment opportunities. The former state employee's brief discussion advising a city official of a need for a plan to develop a pier was not personal and substantial participating in the city's decision to develop a master plan for the harbor. The constraints of section 5(a) will not apply to partners in the law firm as long as he is "of counsel" status in that firm.

  • EC-COI-88-14

    A former state employee is prohibited by section 5(a) from accepting a position with a consulting firm because he would be compensated in connection with the same grant in which he participated as a state employee. As a state employee, the individual's participation in the grant was personal and substantial even though he did not make the final decision to award the grant.

  • EC-COI-88-21

    A state employee who is an attorney and also serves as a city conservation commissioner is subject to several provisions of 268A. Section 4 allows the state employee to hold a municipal position provided that he does not vote or act on any matter within the purview of his state agency or over which he has official responsibility. As a municipal employee under section 17 he may not represent private clients: (1) before other municipal agencies or (2) on appeals of municipal decisions to state agencies. Section 19 prohibits him from participating as a commissioner in any matter which could directly or indirectly affect the financial interest of his law firm. Once he leaves his state job, he would be subject to sections 5 and 23 as a former state employee. His law firm would not be subject to section 18(d/c) and section 5(d/c) since he would be an associate attorney in the firm.

  • EC-COI-89-7

    The former secretary of the executive office of environmental affairs must comply with the restrictions of 5 and 23(c) in his new "of counsel" position with a law firm. In particular, he must refrain from representing a client in any matter in which he previously participated as a secretary. Because, as secretary, he had official responsibility for all matters within the executive office, 5(b) requires that he refrain from personally appearing before any state court or state agency in connection with those matters.

  • EC-COI-89-26

    A former member of a committee which supervises investments for certain state agencies is prohibited by section 5(b) from appearing for one year before any state agency in connection with an investment in an annuity contract over which he had official responsibility as a committee member, even if he had not previously participated in that matter.

  • EC-COI-89-34

    A former state employee who previously participated in the preparation and presentation of a report on certain pending legislation may, under section 5, assist and represent a prospective developer in connection with a redraft of the bill to be reconsidered in a subsequent legislative session.

  • EC-COI-90-6

    A former state supervisor is subject to the post-employment restrictions of sections 5 and 23 with respect to contracts and other matters in which he previously participated or had official responsibility for as a supervisor.

  • EC-COI-91-1

    A former state employee may represent private individuals in a guardianship proceeding. Prior participation as a state employee in a "care and protection" proceeding constitutes a distinct particular matter. A current guardianship proceeding is not in connection with the prior lawsuit, because the guardianship matter involves different parties, different facts, and a different controversy in a different court, even though both matters concern the same children.

  • EC-COI-91-10

    For purposes of section 5, the Commonwealth has a direct and substantial interest in all Workers' Compensation proceedings, even those matters involving private litigants, because of the Commonwealth's general interest in enforcing the Workers' Compensation law. Consequently, the restrictions of sections 5(a) and 5(b) are applicable to a former employee of the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) who wishes to represent private parties who have appeared as litigants before the DIA. But see EC-COI-97-2, modifying this opinion.

  • EC-COI-92-14

    Under section 5, a former state employee could accept referral of a patient whom she treated while she was a state employee as she did not participate in the discharge plan which occurred after she left state service.

  • EC-COI-92-16

    Under some circumstances, a former state employee who later contracts with a different state agency is covered by the restrictions of both section 4 and section 5.

  • EC-COI-93-9

    A former state employee cannot receive private compensation in connection with particular matters in which he participated as a state employee. Where a company provides services that the former state employee is prohibited from providing himself, mere investment income is not "compensation," unless the individual is active in the business. Such "compensation" (i.e. the proceeds from the prohibited sources) must be segregated from any pool of money which is used to pay the individual his salary or to determine his share of profits. Finally, fellow officers and shareholders of a corporation are not "partners" of the former state employee for purposes of section 5(c), unless there is reason to disregard the corporate entity.

  • EC-COI-93-16

    A former state employee may not receive compensation from a company in connection with a contract awarded to the company by the former employee's agency.

  • EC-COI-99-1

    A former state employee is prohibited from receiving compensation or acting as an agent or attorney for a company selling or marketing its services under a state-wide blanket contract because the employee was part of the procurement team that helped to select the company.

  • EC-COI-05-3

    General Law c. 268A, section 5(e) does not prohibit a former state employee from engaging in paid public advocacy intended to influence public opinion on a matter before the person's former governmental body provided that he does not do so on the grounds of that body. G.L. c. 268A, section 5(e) will, however, prohibit a former state employee from both directly lobbying his former governmental body and from engaging for compensation in lobbying that body through strategic legislative agent activities "behind the scenes." Additionally, before engaging in permissible forms of public advocacy, a former state employee must ensure he complies with the requirements of G.L. c. 268A, sections 5(a), 5(b) and 23(c).

  • EC-COI-10-1

    Two former state employees seek guidance under G.L. c. 268A, § 5(e), in light of recent amendments to that statute, and to the definitions of "legislative agent" and "executive agent" set forth in G.L. c. 3, § 39 and referenced in § 5(e). One former state employee was employed by the General Court, and the other by the Executive Branch; both currently work for entities engaged in lobbying. Both former employees wish to conform their conduct to the law as amended by Chapter 28 of the Acts of 2009.

  • EC-COI-92-18

    An elected County Retirement Board member may remain a Board member and continue private employment with an investment firm if he complies with the provisions of sections 11, 12, 13 and 23.


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