Section 23(c) Legal Opinions

This section prohibits a current or former public employee from disclosing confidential materials or using such information to further his private interests.
  • EC-COI-82-176

    May a state employee perform classroom instruction for a driver education course while simultaneously employed by the RMV?

  • 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-84-10

    The Commissioner of a state agency may also serve on the board of directors of a bank and hold a controlling interest in the bank’s shares without violating the conflict of interest law, subject to the restrictions in §§ 4, 6, 7 and 23(c).

  • EC-COI-84-14

    A former municipal deputy assessor may, on behalf of a property owner, appraise the value of property and act on the owner’s behalf to contest an assessment without violating §§ 18 and 23(c) of the conflict of interest law because a prior appraisal he conducted as a deputy assessor is a different particular matter.

  • EC-COI-84-16

    The conflict of interest law does not prohibit a state agency from entering into contracts with another state agency where the agency heads of each agency are married. Both spouses would be subject to § 23.

  • EC-COI-84-18

    A member of the Special Commission on Hazardous Waste Liability established by St. 1983, c. 7, s.13. to study remedies available to the Commonwealth and to persons who are harmed by the release of hazardous materials who is also an officer of a company which has an interest in a matter which the Special Commission plans to review is informed that he is a state employee subject to the restrictions of §§ 4, 6 and 23 of the conflict of interest law.

  • EC-COI-84-22

    A state employee involved in licensing who also holds a license does not violate the conflict of interest law by operating a business or being employed privately within the industry that requires the license, subject to the restrictions in §§ 4, 6, 23(b)(2) and 23(c).

  • EC-COI-84-30

    A law firm associate is subject to §§ 4 and 23 by serving as a legal consultant to the Department of Administration and Finance and representing the interests of the Commonwealth in matters before a state agency.  As a special state employee, the associate can represent law firm clients before the state agency as long as the Department of Administration and Finance is not an intervenor in the matter.

  • EC-COI-84-146

    A full-time employee of the Governor's Office may leave to become a lobbyist, and may, within one-year of leaving that employment, lobby the General Court, the budget bureau and the Office of Human Services without violating G.L. c. 268A, § 5(e).  The employee will be subject to the provisions of § 23 for the duration of employment in the Governor's Office.

  • EC-COI-85-11

    A former state employee may not work for a private firm in connection with matters in which he previously participated as a state employee. Examples of prohibited matters include permit determinations and  proceedings challenging the validity of regulations which he drafted.

  • EC-COI-85-12

    The conflict of interest statute does not permit government agencies from promulgating their own employee regulations which address the subject of conflict of interest. The Commission has encouraged other government agencies to promulgate their own codes of conduct to expand the standards of § 23 and to clarify the agencies' expectations of their employees with respect to the applicability of G.L. c. 268A. Therefore, an agency may prohibit a former employee from receiving a grant even if the employee's acceptance would be permissible under § 5.

  • EC-COI-85-52

    The current director of legislative and business affairs with the Executive Office of ABC will be subject to a limited one-year lobbying ban upon his leaving ABC to serve as a legislative agent for a private entity. The restrictions will apply to his appearances before ABC and agencies within ABC but will not apply to appearances before the legislature and secretariats other than ABC.

  • EC-COI-85-57

    A full-time employee of a state educational institution may consult to a firm to perform private consulting work for private colleges and out-of-state universities. He is also prohibited from participating as a state employee with respect to any contracts the educational institution has with the firm.

  • EC-COI-85-61

    A former director of a state agency may provide consultant services to private companies as long as she did not participate in the same particular matters as a state employee. She is prohibited from appearing before any court or agency of the commonwealth for a one year period on matters that were under her official responsibility

  • EC-COI-87-18

    An attorney may serve as special municipal counsel representing a board of health in a state lawsuit.

  • EC-COI-88-21

    A state employee who is an attorney and also services 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 os 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-88-23

    A full-time police officer traffic-report in a state agency whose official duties include gathering and providing commuter traffic data to the local media, including a local television station, may accept a part-time private consulting position with the television station as a traffic analyst on major construction projects in the Boston area. The private work will be done during the officer's private hours, using only private vehicles, equipment and materials and would not under section 4(a) be in connection with particular matters in which his state agency has a direct and substantial interest. The state employee would also be subject to the provisions of section 6 and cannot participate as a state employee in any matter which could affect the television station's financial interest.

  • EC-COI-89-5

    The chairman of the board of regents of higher education may also serve as "of counsel" to a law firm which represents clients in matters within the official responsibility of the board of regents, subject to certain conditions. He must abstain from participating as chairman in any matter in which his firm represents a client, and must arrange to have the firm segregate from his compensation any fees connected with representation in board-related matters. Because his of counsel relationship does not have the attributes of a partnership, the firm's partners may represent private clients in matters within the official responsibility of the board.

  • 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-90-4

    Section 4 of G.L. c. 268A permits housing court specialists to perform code inspection work for a housing authority.

  • EC-COI-90-06

    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-90-11

    A former municipal attorney may represent a private client in a lawsuit in which he neither participated nor had official responsibility for as a municipal attorney.

  • 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.