Haley speaks on alleged ethics violation

Ethics commission updates scheduling.

Aquinnah select board member Gary Haley believes he will be exonerated for the alleged ethics violation. — Lucas Thors

Aquinnah select board member Gary Haley told The Times after a select board meeting at the Aquinnah town hall Tuesday that he expects to be “completely exonerated” for allegedly violating state ethics law. The commission alleges Haley chose himself to perform electrical infrastructure work for Aquinnah, overcharging the town, and approving payment to himself.

Haley is set to appear in front of the Massachusetts state ethics commission on Oct. 7 at 10 am, and Oct. 8 at 10 am if needed.

In a May press release, the commission alleged Haley overbilled the town of Aquinnah by more than $4,000 for electrical conduit work.

Haley said he expects any allegations against him to be dropped. “I don’t think there is any proof of any of this stuff, whoever came forward with it. I either expect to be found not guilty, or have the charges just completely thrown out,” Haley said. “In the meantime, we just go through the motions, and it will all be behind us in October.”

Haley brought up an ongoing issue for the town, saying that because the town is so remote and there aren’t as many big-money projects or developments happening, it’s difficult to get contractors to bid on projects, or get a reasonable bid price.

With the town already running off a small budget, this can put officials in a bind — particularly for emergency projects that must be taken care of expeditiously.

Haley said he took the matter into his own hands at a select board meeting, when he offered to do the work at the Aquinnah Circle at no cost. 

“We were put in that predicament because we couldn’t get Comcast and Eversource and whoever else out there at the same time, so I was at that meeting, and I just said I will do it for free,” Haley said. “Obviously things changed part of the way through, but that’s how it was. It was an emergency that needed to be taken care of. If there was someone along the way who didn’t like the way things were regarding that, well, I’m sorry, but it had to be done at that point in time.”

The commission updated its scheduling order last week in a prehearing conference on June 28. After the conference, a revised scheduling order was issued for filing deadlines.
According to the revised order, discovery requests are due on July 13, and responses to those requests are due July 27. Motions for decision on pleadings and other dispositive motions such as summary decision are to be filed by August 26. Opposition to those motions is due by Sept. 9.