Ethics Commission Fines  Cambridge RA Director Joseph Tulimeri $37,500 for Conflict of Interest 

ethics-sign1-778814Tulimieri also required to make restitution to the Redevelopment Authority in the amount of $21,245

 The State Ethics Commission approved a Disposition Agreement (“Agreement”) in which Joseph Tulimieri, the former Executive Director of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (“CRA”), admitted to violating G. L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, by increasing his own compensation on five separate occasions.  Pursuant to the Agreement, Tulimieri paid a $37,500 civil penalty and was required to also make restitution to the CRA in the amount of $21,245.

 Section 19 of the conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee from participating as such in any particular matter in which, to his knowledge, he has a financial interest. 

According to the MA Ethics Commission, Tulimieri served as the CRA Executive Director from 1978 until January 1, 2011.  He reported to the five-member CRA Board.  On February 10, 2010, Tulimieri took two actions to increase his own compensation.  He approved 3% pay raises for all staff, including himself, retroactive to July 1, 2009, and he converted his $10,000 travel allowance into salary, retroactive to January 1, 2010. 

Both actions were taken without first obtaining the approval of the CRA Board.  These actions increased Tulimieri’s compensation from $198,114 to $214,100.  The CRA Board subsequently ratified these pay increases at its March 17, 2010 meeting. 

In November 2010, Tulimieri, without first obtaining Board approval, authorized an additional 3% pay raise for all staff, including himself.  This action increased Tulimieri’s compensation from $214,100 to $220,479.  When Tulimieri retired from the CRA on January 1, 2011, he received a payout for his accrued and unused vacation and compensatory time based upon an annualized rate of pay of $220,480. 

After his retirement, Tulimieri, without seeking Board approval, continued to work as Executive Director on a part-time basis at an hourly rate of pay of $113.07, which was based on his rate of pay at retirement.  The Agreement states that Tulimieri claimed that he did not seek Board approval for the November 2010 pay raise, or for his decision to hire himself as the part-time Executive Director after his retirement, because the Board did not have a valid quorum of the five members available.  On September 27, 2012, Tulimieri resigned from the CRA. 

 The Agreement states that by participating as Executive Director in particular matters in which he knew that he had a financial interest, Tulimieri violated section 19 on five separate occasions.  As described above, Tulimieri received $21,245 in unauthorized compensation as a result of his actions, and he agreed to make restitution in that amount to the CRA, in addition to paying the civil penalty of $37,500.