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Settlement

Settlement In the Matter of Robert Egan

Date: 02/10/1988
Organization: State Ethics Commission
Docket Number: 352

Disposition Agreement

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   

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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.

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