Ethics commission passes on Edgartown wastewater probe

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File photo by Ralph Stewart

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission will not review allegations against a selectman relating to billing and record keeping irregularities in the town wastewater department.

In a letter to selectmen dated March 12, an ethics commission investigator said the commission had carefully reviewed the allegations that an unnamed selectmen received services without paying.

“Based on that review, and on any necessary follow-up investigation, we have decided that this matter does not warrant further action,” wrote senior investigator Katherine Gallant. “This decision is based on our view that it is appropriate to defer to the administrative actions already taken by the town.”

At the regular Monday selectmen’s meeting, chairman Art Smadbeck read the ethics commission’s response into the record.

Selectmen referred the matter to state authorities on December 20, 2011, after appointing retired judge John Paul Sullivan to investigate and recommend action.

During an 11-month state police investigation, plant manager Joe Alosso told police that former and current employees, a wastewater commissioner, and an unnamed selectman received free services, according to the police reports.

Judge Sullivan’s investigation said the unnamed selectman was Michael Donaroma, but the judge completely cleared Mr. Donaroma of any wrongdoing.

The Edgartown District Court issued a criminal complaint against a sewage hauler who admitted to police that he did not report all the sewage he dumped at the wastewater plant. The court documents sharply criticized Mr. Alosso, for “gross mismanagement” of the financial records and procedures. The town negotiated a resignation agreement with Mr. Alosso.

In other action Monday, selectmen granted an aquaculture license for Thomas Rogers, following a short public hearing.

Selectmen also authorized NSTAR to install a conduit under Pease’s Point Road, near Simpson’s Lane, to install underground electrical service for a home under renovation.