Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tulimieri’s Take

"Former Cambridge official to pay penalty in ethics violation" by Andy Metzger State House News Service  June 24, 2015

The man who once oversaw redevelopment of Cambridge’s booming Kendall Square has agreed to pay $37,500 in penalties for ethics violations and to repay $21,245 in unauthorized compensation.

Joseph Tulimieri was executive director of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority from 1978 until his resignation amid controversy in September 2012. Toward the end of his tenure, he began making some decisions unilaterally, without the required approval of a five-member board.

He was acting like a dictator.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Ethics Commission’s executive director, Karen Nober, signed an agreement with Tulimieri laying out his violations.

Tulimieri acted on his own in February 2010 to give himself and other redevelopment board staff a 3 percent raise and to convert his $10,000 travel allowance into salary, according to the agreement. Those two actions bumped his salary up to $214,100 from $198,114.

With pension to be based on that amount.

The agreement states that based on materials associated with a March 17, 2010, meeting “it appears” the board gave retroactive approval to those salary increases.

In November 2010, Tulimieri unilaterally gave another 3 percent pay increase to staff, raising his salary to $220,479.

Tulimieri retired from his full-time position Jan. 1, 2011, and then “with some general awareness” on the part of the city manager, Robert Healy, resumed working part time. He said he did not seek approval of his part-time return because of an absence of a quorum at a board meeting.

See: Rossi's Reward 

Most of the board members are appointed by the city manager, with approval of the City Council. The state Department of Housing and Community Development has one appointee.

In spring 2012, questions about the lack of board members at the authority percolated in the news media amid the permitting of an expansion of Google’s Kendall Square offices.

Isn't that also a biotech cluster?

Tulimieri resigned in September 2012 as a new board was named. It set about investigating the authority, and Tulimieri’s compensation came to light, news accounts said.

Among the changes under the new board was the creation of a website with information about the authority’s activities. An annual report after Tulimieri’s departure says he resigned after a special board meeting.

The agreement says Tulimieri five times violated state law prohibiting municipal employees from making decisions on matters in which they have a financial interest.

Tom Evans, a former state transportation official, is now executive director.