City Council candidate Doug Bennett does what few incumbents ever dare to do: take on the Mayor. Menino’s use of city-employees for off-hour repairs violates the spirit of the state’s ethics laws. Menino should know enough to keep an arm’s distance from moonlighting city employees. But then again his son is a very good example of a moonlighter.
To: The Enforcement Division,
Massachusetts State Ethics Commission
One Ashburton Place,
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.
Thanks to Doug Bennett, this year’s city election will prove to be interesting.