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Settlement In the Matter of Thomas campbell

Date: 07/02/2007
Organization: State Ethics Commission
Docket Number: 07-0023

Table of Contents

Disposition Agreement

This Disposition Agreement is entered into between the State Ethics Commission and Thomas Campbell, 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 May 11, 2006, 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 Campbell. The Commission concluded its inquiry and, on March 14, 2007, found reasonable cause to believe that Campbell violated G.L. c. 268A, s.s.19 and 23(b)(2).

The Commission and Campbell now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

Findings of Fact

1. At all relevant times, Campbell was an elected member of the Hingham Recreation Commission.

2. As a Recreation Commissioner, Campbell was a municipal employee as defined in G.L. c 268A, s.1(g).

3. Between approximately April 2004 and early 2005, Campbell's daughter worked part-time at the Hingham Recreation Commission as a seasonal employee.

4. During the time in which his daughter worked at the Hingham Recreation Commission, Campbell asked Hingham Recreation Program Coordinator Ted Carroll on a number of occasions if he had any additional hours to give to Campbell's daughter.

5. In response, Carroll gave Campbell's daughter an additional weekly shift at the Recreation Commission. Had Campbell not asked him to give his daughter more hours, Carroll would not have done so.

6. While working at the Recreation Commission, Campbell's daughter earned, on average, approximately $7.85 per hour. She earned a total of approximately $1,715 while employed with the Recreation Commission.[1]

Conclusions of Law

Section 19

7. Section 19 of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from participating[2] as such an employee in a particular matter[3] in which, to his knowledge, an immediate family member[4] has a financial interest.[5]

11. As a Recreation Commissioner, Campbell was a municipal employee.

12. The decision to give an employee work hours is a particular matter.

13. By asking Carroll if he had additional hours to give Campbell's daughter, Campbell participated as a Recreation Commissioner in those particular matters.

14. Where his daughter was paid for those hours, she had a financial interest in them.

15. Campbell knew that his daughter had a financial interest in being given additional hours of work.

16. Therefore, by asking Carroll on a number of occasions if he had additional hours to give Campbell's daughter, Campbell participated as a Recreation Commissioner in particular matters in which to his knowledge his immediate family member had a financial interest, thereby repeatedly violating s.19.

Section 23(b)(2)

17. Section 23(b)(2) prohibits a municipal employee from knowingly or with reason to know using his official position to secure for others an unwarranted privilege of substantial value which are not properly available to similarly situated individuals.

18. Where Campbell's daughter was given extra hours of work, those hours were a privilege.

19. As a Recreation Commissioner, by asking a subordinate if that subordinate had extra hours of work to give his daughter, Campbell used his position to secure this privilege for his daughter.

20. Where Carroll would not have given Campbell's daughter additional work had Campbell not used his official position to ask him to do so, the privilege of additional hours was unwarranted.

21. The privilege of being given additional hours was of substantial value because Campbell's daughter earned over $50 for the additional shift.

22. The unwarranted privilege was not otherwise properly available to similarly situated individuals.

23. Therefore, by using his Recreation Commission position to secure additional hours of work for his daughter, Campbell repeatedly violated s.23(b)(2).

[1] Pay records do not clearly indicate what portion of the $1,715 was earned from the extra weekly shift.

[2] "Participate" means to participate in agency action or in a particular matter personally and substantially as a state, county or municipal employee, through approval, disapproval, decision, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation or otherwise. G.L. c. 268A, s. 1(j).

[3] "Particular matter" means any judicial or other proceeding, application, submission, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, decision, determination, finding, but excluding enactment of general legislation by the general court and petitions of cities, towns, counties and districts for special laws related to their governmental organizations, powers, duties, finances and property. G.L. c. 268A, s. 1(k).

[4] "Immediate family" means a spouse and any dependent children residing in the reporting person's household. G.L. c. 268A, s.1(i).

[5] "Financial interest" means any economic interest of a particular individual that is not shared with a substantial segment of the population of the municipality.  See Graham v. McGrail, 370 Mass. 133 (1976). This definition has embraced private interests, no matter how small, which are direct, immediate or reasonably foreseeable. See EC-COI- 84-98.  The interest can be affected in either a positive or negative way.  EC-COI-84-96.