Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tell it to the Judge
State Ethics Commission, Enforcement Division
One Ashburton Place
Boston MA 02108
September 20, 2007
Dear Sir or Madam,
I wish to file a formal complaint and request a ruling by your office on a conflict of interest regarding Amherst Selectman Robert B. Kusner concerning a crucial vote taken Monday, September 17’th.
That night the Amherst Select board (acting in their role of Sewer Commissioners) voted 3-2 to waive effluent water charges for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for an annual savings of $37,000. Since this is a five-year agreement, Amherst taxpayers forfeit $200,000.
Robert Kusner is a full-time professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (thus a “special state employee”); therefore his decisive vote significantly benefited his employer.
On two previous occasions (7/25/05 and 3/1/06) where the “appearance of potential conflict of interest” may have existed, Selectman Kusner filed a disclosure form with the Amherst Town Clerk as required by M.G.L. c. 268A outlining the mitigating facts to explain why no such conflict exists.
In this particular case, however (which I believe goes well beyond merely the “appearance of potential conflict of interest”), Mr. Kusner did not file any such form with the Town Clerk. Since Professor Kusner’s vote was the tiebreaker-deciding vote, I would ask the Commission to void the action taken by the Amherst Select board.
Larry Kelley, 460 West St, Amherst, Ma. 01002
Amherst Town Meeting member, Amherst Redevelopment Authority, http://onlyintherepublicofamherst.blogspot.com/
CC: Amherst Town Clerk, Amherst Select Board/Town Manager