Bob isn’t quoted in the story but his attorney, a man who spent a decade as an Assistant Attorney General, is. He claims that since when he first met with the search committee Bob “expressly said, this is not an interview and I am not a candidate,” that made it OK. The Ethics Commission has put out an advisory ruling saying otherwise, and even his statement that the meeting wasn’t an interview seems a little tough to swallow since it was set up by the search firm hired to find a new president.
The Conflict of Interest law and the subsequent Advisory opinion “attempts to insure that a public employee’s loyalty to the public interest will not be clouded by potentially competing private loyalties. There is a substantial risk of conflicting loyalties whenever a public employee negotiates for prospective employment with a party with whom the employee has concurrent official dealings.”
E-mails obtained by the Globe “show Coughlin’s role in overseeing the administration’s life science issues extended well past his June 11 meeting with the search committee.” These activities include playing “a key role in the governor’s life sciences initiatives, including a $1 billion proposal that was unveiled in early May.” In addition, “the Biotechnology Council will potentially increase its membership and gain additional dues if Patrick’s life science initiative is approved.”
This was a big mistake, and one I am surprised Bob made. He should have known much better. I am sure the Ethics Commission will be investigating this, and I can’t imagine what the MBC is thinking. They lost their last president, former House Speaker Tom Finneran, because he broke the law. Is that really how they want their new CEO to come in?