Pepperell, Massachusetts – Ethics violation complaints against the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Roland Nutter, have been filed with the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission for his participating in a closed-door meeting regarding a complaint of possible fraud involving several town employees being paid for hours they did not work.
One of the positions referred to in the matter the board of selectmen members were meeting about is held by Nutter’s wife.
The ethics complaint filed with the state was made by another member of the Pepperell board of selectmen, Lisa Ferolito, who has criticized the personnel policies of the previous town administrator and the alleged payment for hours not worked.
When asked by The Candle if she filed a complaint with the state ethics board, Ferolito said, “I can confirm that I did file a complaint regarding Roland’s participation in an official meeting of the board of selectmen regarding a matter that involves an immediate family member. That complaint was filed with the State Ethics Commission earlier this week.
“As at least part of the subject matter related to the complaint was discussed in executive session and has not been resolved, I will not elaborate beyond acknowledging that an ethics complaint has been filed until the minutes of the meeting have been made public.”
The Candle was able to determine from a video of the board of selectmen meeting before they went into executive session, that they were going to meet with the assistant assessor and the town’s labor attorney.
And while not stated specifically by the board as to what was going to be discussed before it went into the executive session, The Candle has confirmed from other sources familiar with the matter, that the closed session was related to a February complaint to the board of selectmen about disparate treatment of employees, bullying, and threats by town administrator Mark Andrews to assistant assessor Maureen Bolger for her telling Andrews of the possible fraud of employees being paid for hours not worked.
One of the positions the assistant assessor has identified as being paid for hours not worked is held by selectman Nutter’s wife.
The Candle will be publishing a story tomorrow about the failure of the board of selectmen to act on the complaint, as well as about the participation by selectman Nutter in a matter affecting his wife’s town job.
The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission writes in a guidance to people serving on boards of selectmen that the law generally prohibits them from participating in any way in “…matters affecting your own financial interests, or the financial interests of: your immediate family members (i.e., your spouse and the parents, siblings and children of either you or your spouse) …”
For more than six weeks Nutter has refused to respond to The Candle’s requests for clarification or comment from him regarding his failure to recuse himself from the matters associated to the complaint involving his wife’s town job.
The Candle emailed Nutter again this morning, asking that he respond to previous questions asked of him related to this matter, as well as seeking his comments on the ethics complaint filed with the state. If a response is received from Nutter, The Candle will update this report.