|Organization:||State Ethics Commission|
Settlement In the Matter of Robert Egan
This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into between the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and Robert Egan (Mr. Egan) pursuant to section 11 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures, This Agreement constitutes a consented to final Commission order enforceable in the Superior Court pursuant to G.L. c.268B,s.4(j).
On April 6, 1987, the Commission initiated a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, involving Mr. Egan, a former Natick Zoning Board of Appeals member. The Commission concluded its inquiry and, on October 5, 1987, found reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Egan violated G.L.c.268A,s.s.17 and 18. Pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s.4 (c), the Commission also authorized the initiation of an adjudicatory proceeding to determine whether there had been a violation.
The parties now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
1. The Selectmen of the Town of Natick appointed Mr. Egan, an architect who had been employed by John Sharratt Associates, Inc. (Sharratt Associates) for l6 years, to Natick's Board of Zoning Appeals (ZBA) in 1978. Mr. Egan served as a member of the ZBA and as its Chairman until he resigned in 1985. He received no remuneration for these services.
2. In July, 1984, the Zoning Board of Appeals members were designated special municipal employees by the Board of Selectmen.
3. In or about August, 1985, Baseball Factory Trust (Trust) asked Sharratt Associates to produce architectural drawings for the rehabilitation of an old baseball factory located in the Town of Natick.
4. Mr. Egan expended approximately #50 hours on the project before he left Sharratt Associates. He was compensated for that work by Sharratt Associates as part of his regular salary.
5. On October 28, 1985, Sharratt Associates filed a Notice of Appeal with the ZBA on behalf of the Trust from the decision of the Inspector of Buildings withholding a special permit that the Trust needed to construct
multi-family housing in the area where the baseball factory was located. In order to be eligible for such a permit, the ZBA would have to find that the Trust had made adequate provision for off- street parking there.
6. Mr. Egan resigned his position with Sharratt Associates on November 4, 1985. In order to compensate Mr. Egan for the fees that they owed him, Sharratt Associates asked Mr. Egan to assume responsibility for the baseball factory job that he had been working on as well as other jobs that Sharratt Associates was responsible for.
7. On November 6, 1985, Mr. Egan submitted a letter to the Board of Selectmen, tendering his resignation from the Zoning Board of Appeals, effective November 6, 1985." The Board of Selectmen voted to accept Mr. Egan's resignation on November 18, 1985. Mr. Egan's resignation was effective as of November 18, 1985 and any matters initiated with the ZBA prior to that time were the subject of his responsibility.
8. Mr. Egan did not act as a member of Natick's ZBA nor did he participate as a ZBA member in any matter that was pending before the ZBA after November 6, 1985.
9. On November 13, 1985, the ZBA held a hearing upon the appeal filed by the Trust The developers, their attorney and Mr. Egan appeared before the ZBA and presented plans and arguments in support of the appeal that had been filed by the Trust. Mr. Egan presented and explained the architectural plans and was compensated for the appearance by the Trust.
10. On November 18, 1985, the Board of Selectmen sent a letter to Mr. Egan advising him that they had voted to accept his resignation.
11. On November 20, 1985, Mr. Egan again appeared before the ZBA and indicated that the Trust was in the process of negotiating a lease for the property across the street from the baseball factory that would provide additional parking spaces for use by the development Mr. Egan further explained that the lease would likely be for a two year period and that possible changes in the existing retail uses of the building might negate the need for these additional spaces in the future. On that evening the ZBA made formal findings regarding the special permit application and these were filed with the town clerk on December 5, 1985.
12. On December 9, 1985, Mr. Egan entered into a formal written contract with the developers which provided for his architectural services on the baseball factory project. Mr. Egan was compensated through this contract for his appearances before the ZBA on November 13 and November 20, 1985.
13. Section 17(a) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, directly or indirectly receiving or requesting compensation from anyone other than the town in any particular matter in which the town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest.
14. Section 17(c) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, acting as agent for anyone in connection with a particular matter in which the town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest.
15. Section 17(a) and (c) apply to special municipal employees, like Mr. Egan, only in relation to a particular matter (a) in which he has at any time participated as a municipal employee, or (b) which is or within one year has been the subject of his official responsibility ..."
16. By receiving compensation from the Trust in relation to its appeal heard at the November 13, 1985 ZBA meeting and by acting as agent for the developers in connection with said appeal at that meeting, Mr. Egan violated Section 17(a) and Section 17(c), respectively.
17. Section 18(b) prohibits a former municipal employee, within one year after his last employment, from appearing personally before an agency of the town as agent for anyone other than the town in connection with any particular matter in which the town has a direct and substantial interest and which was under his official responsibility as a municipal employee at any time within two years prior to the termination of his employment.
18. By acting as agent for the Trust before the ZBA on November 20, 1985 (2 days after his resignation was accepted by the Board of Selectmen) in connection with the special permit application of the Trust, Mr. Egan violated Section 18(b).
19. In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A, s.s.17 and 18, 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 agreed to by Mr. Egan:
1. That he pay to the Commission the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) as a civil penalty for his alleged violation of G.L. c. 268A, s.s.17 and 18;
2. That he waive all rights to contest the findings of fact and the terms and conditions proposed under this Agreement in this or any related administrative or judicial civil proceeding in which the Commission is a party.