|Organization:||State Ethics Commission|
Settlement In the Matter of Matthew St. Germain
This Disposition Agreement is entered into between the State Ethics Commission and Matthew St. Germain pursuant to Section 5 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented-to final order enforceable in Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(j).
On July 25, 2002, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by St. Germain. The Commission concluded its inquiry and, on June 18, 2003, found reasonable cause to believe that St. Germain violated G.L. c. 268A, s.s. 2 and 3. An Order to Show Cause issued on August 27, 2003.
The Commission and St. Germain now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. St. Germain is a septic system installer who does work in Berkley and other southeastern Massachusetts communities.
2. St. Germain installed a septic system at 142 Bryant Street in Berkley in or about August 1999. That system was inspected and approved by the Board of Health.
3. On Saturday, January 22, 2000, St. Germain met two members of Berkley's Board of Health, James Romano and Steven Rapoza, to obtain the Certificate of Compliance for the septic system at 142 Bryant Street. (Two Board of Health members' signatures were required for the certificate to be valid.)
4. At the meeting, Romano and Rapoza executed the certificate of compliance.
5. After they had executed the certificate of compliance, St. Germain offered $100 cash to each board of health member to sign the certificate of compliance on a Saturday.
6. Berkley's Board of Health regulations do not call for any payment for the execution of a certificate of compliance. The original permit fee covers the issuance of the certificate of compliance.
Conclusions of Law
7. General Laws chapter 268A, s. 3(a) prohibits anyone, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty, from directly or indirectly giving or offering anything of substantial value to any public employee for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such employee.
8. The two Berkley Board of Health members who signed the certificate of compliance were public employees.
9. The signature of each to the Certificate of Compliance, required for the certificate to be legally valid, was an official act.
10. By offering $100 to each of the two Board of Health members substantially, or in large part, as a gratuity for their execution of the Certificate of Compliance, St. Germain gave something of substantial value to public employees for or because of official acts performed by them. The payment was not otherwise provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, and therefore St. Germain violated G.L. c. 268A, s. 3(a) as to the offering of each gift.
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by St. Germain, the Commission has determined that the public interest would be served by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement proceedings, on the basis of the following terms and conditions agreed to by St. Germain:
(1) that St. Germain pay to the Commission the sum of $2,000.00 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s. 3(a); and
(2) that he waive all rights to contest the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this Agreement in this or any other related administrative or judicial proceedings to which the Commission is or may be a party.