Aquinnah official hit with ethics violation

Commonwealth alleges select board member Gary Haley approved his own work for the town.

Aquinnah select board member Gary Haley, shown here in a 2019 meeting of the board, has been accused of an ethics law violation. -Lucas Thors

The state’s ethics commission has found reasonable cause Aquinnah select board member Gary Haley violated state ethics law by choosing himself “to perform electrical infrastructure work for Aquinnah,” overcharging the town, and approving payment to himself, according to a press release. 

Haley was found to have privately performed electrical conduit work for the town, and “overbilling the town by more than $4,000 for the work,” according to the release.

Haley couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. 

Town administrator Jeff Madison didn’t immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.

“I had no idea about this,” select board member Jim Newman said. He declined further comment. 

“According to the order to show cause,” a release states, “Haley, a master electrician in his private capacity, viewed himself as the town’s coordinator on a project to bury underground all overhead utility wires in Aquinnah Circle. In 2018, as a selectman and the Aquinnah Circle project coordinator, Haley allegedly decided that he would personally install conduits for two utility companies to bury their wires underground. The order alleges that Haley submitted an invoice to the town of Aquinnah charging $17,445 for the installation of approximately 1,900 feet of conduit pipe in May 2018. The invoice overstated the duration of work on the project by approximately 22 hours, and charged the town for laborers Haley did not hire or pay,” the order alleges.

As a member of the select board, Haley is alleged to have participated in the approval of the 

town expense warrant that contained his invoice for the conduit job. 

“The conflict of interest law prohibits municipal employees from participating officially in matters in which they have a financial interest,” the release states. “The order alleges that Haley violated this prohibition by, as a selectman, choosing himself to perform the conduit installation work and by then approving the town expense warrant that contained his invoice for the work. The law also prohibits public employees from submitting a false or fraudulent claim to their public employer. Haley allegedly violated this prohibition by charging the town for hours he did not work and for laborers he did not hire or pay.”

The state’s order also alleges Haley violated conflict of interest law in respect to municipal employees having a stake in a contract made by the municipality that they work for. 

A public hearing on Haley’s matter is expected within 90 days, according to the release. 

The ethics commission is empowered to impose up to $10,000 in fines for conflict of interest violations. 


  1. Another side to the story is that it is very difficult to get island tradesman (ie Plumbers, Electricans etc) to Aquinnah for virtually any project, commercial or residential. It seems the prissy island trades people like to work in smaller, tighter island geography thereby not “wasting” down time on the road. This is particularly true as most have to trek back and forth for needed or forgotten supplies/parts to complete the job. 30 and 45 minute drives each way are down time which many operators cannot get away with charging for. So job quotes are higher and completion time fames for the tradespeople and customers are much longer.
    Gary lives in Aquinnah and has a solid reputation for his quality work and community service. Sounds like there is more to the story and a jealous competitor turned him in on this project.

  2. Please crop the picture so that the selectperson who is being discussed is solo. This is unfair to Juli Vanderhoop. Many people don’t read captions or articles and just glance.

    • It is cropped on the main page, you only see Juli if you click on the article which I would think you would only do if you wanted to read it.

    • If people don’t read and just glance they should only look at the comic/funnies sections.
      if anybody mistakes Gary for Juli or vice versa they should immediately make an appointment with Dr Shea in VH. Good grief Jessica !

  3. How do the other two members of the Selectman’s Board not know this (alleged) fraud is going on under their noses?
    Strikes me that there may be more irresponsible public officials than just the accused.

  4. There’s are NO other town employees that should be hit with a conflict of interest compliant ???????

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