Breaking: Doug Bennett Files Ethic Complaint Against Mayor Menino

Seizing on today’s news that Mayor Thomas Menino has used city workers to fix up property he owns, City Council candidate Doug Bennett has filed a complaint with the state ethics commission.  “Elected officials should not be hiring those who work for the public.  Not only is this a conflict of interest, but this creates an unfair relationship between the supervisor (in this case Mayor Menino) and his subordinates (Boston City Employees).  This relationship creates the perception that if the City Employees don’t do the work that is asked of them by Mr. Menino, then the result is that they could lose their employment.  Thus, this creates the perception of City Employees being indebted to the Mayor out of fear for losing their employment.” said Bennett.

On several occasions from 1997-2004, Mayor Menino and his family used City Employees to conduct maintenance, construction, and repairs on properties owned by the Meninos.  Yet, in 1992 the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission ruled that it was prohibited for any public official to approach a subordinate employee or a contractor to perform private services for that official: “Such solicitations inevitably involve unwarranted privileges by virtue of the supervisory employee’s power over the person under his jurisdiction.”

Bennett goes on to say, “This is very similar to the Mayor using City Employees to collect signatures so his name is placed on the ballot and to work the polls on Election Day.  This creates an unfair advantage for Mr. Menino in which would normally be unavailable to the general public.  Therefore, Boston City Employees are put in a position where they feel as if they are obligated to the Mayor or else they would endanger their employment.  I believe that this is a clear ethical violation by Mr. Menino and ask that the Commission’s Enforcement Division conduct a thorough investigation into his activities.  I believe that Mr. Menino’s activities warrant an abuse of power.”

The full text of Bennett’s letter to the ethics commission can be found after the jump.

To: The Enforcement Division,

     Massachusetts State Ethics Commission

     One Ashburton Place,

     Room 619

     Boston, MA 02108

From: Doug Bennett

          85 East India Row, #25A

          Boston, MA 02110

February 25, 2009

To Enforcement Division:

I would like to file a complaint against Thomas M. Menino of 102 Chesterfield Street in Hyde Park, MA.

From 1997- 2004, Mr. Menino and his family on several occasions hired Boston City Employees to do repairs on homes owned by the Meninos.

In 1992, the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission ruled that it was prohibited for any public official to approach a subordinate employee or a contractor to perform private services for that official: “Such solicitations inevitably involve unwarranted privileges by virtue of the supervisory employee’s power over the person under his jurisdiction.”

Elected officials should not be hiring those who work for the public.  Not only is this a conflict of interest, but this creates an unfair relationship between the supervisor (in this case Mayor Menino) and his subordinates (Boston City Employees).  This relationship creates the perception that if the City Employees don’t do the work that is asked of them by Mr. Menino, then the result is that they could lose their employment.  Thus, this creates the perception of City Employees being indebted to the Mayor.

Additionally, this is very similar to the Mayor using City Employees to collect signatures so his name is placed on the ballot and to work the polls on Election Day.  This creates an unfair advantage for Mr. Menino in which the general public is not able to take advantage of.  Those City Employees are put in a position where they feel as if they are obligated to the Mayor or else they would endanger their employment.

I believe that this is a clear ethical violation by Mr. Menino and ask that the commission conduct a thorough investigation into his activities.  I believe that Mr. Menino’s actrivities warrant an abuse of power.

Respectfully,

Doug Bennett

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno