Scituate councilman, retired cop admits ethics violation, will pay $1,250
PROVIDENCE — The former president of the Scituate Town Council admits he violated the state’s ethics code by using his elected position to ask why other officers were getting lucrative police detail assignments while he was on the list.
As part of a settlement with the Rhode Island Ethics Commission reached Tuesday, James H. Brady agreed to pay a $1,250 fine, acknowledging that he violated an advisory opinion he sought from the commission shortly after he was elected in 2018. The commission told him to stay away from using his position on the council to influence police detail work.
Brady is a retired Scituate and Johnston police officer, and his ethics case was detailed last summer in a Hummel Report investigation published in The Providence Sunday Journal. The story revealed that he made more than $20,000 in police details in 2018, the year he was elected to the council. He made $28,000 in 2017, on top of his two pensions.
But the amount decreased to $6,700 in 2019, and the council president approached the chief at the time, Donald R. Delaere Jr., asking how assignments were being made for work that averages $50 an hour. Brady told the Ethics Commission he was asking for another officer, but would not tell investigators who it was.
The Ethics Commission voted unanimously to accept the proposed settlement to a case that was filed by the Scituate Democratic Town Committee. Brady was reelected to the seven-member council last fall and is now the vice president. He is no longer working police details in the town.
He did not respond to a request for comment, but his lawyer, William C. Dimitri, called Brady’s actions a misstep. “He messed up and takes responsibility,” Dimitri said.
Scituate has no town manager or administrator, making the council president the de facto leader in many areas of local government.
Included in the complaint was a series of emails between Brady from his council email address to the leadership of the Police Department, including one that said: “Chief, can you check into why an out of town detail officer (East Greenwich) was working an in town detail today on Danielson Pike with National Grid, when all retired officers were not sked first?”
The chief said he’d look into it, but in a chain of emails, the council president put increasing pressure on the chief to answer his questions. Brady followed up with another email that read: “Can you send me a list of everybody in the police department that has use of a town owned/funded cell phone.”
A 26-page report prepared by the commission’s prosecutor, Katherine D’Arezzo, concluded that there was probable cause that Brady violated ethics rules by inserting himself into the detail process as council president, sometimes signing his emails “James Brady, President STC.”
“His intent was to do things right, and in a flurry of emails between himself (and the police) he overstepped,” Dimitri said.
Michael J. Marcello, who filed the complaint on behalf of the Scituate Democratic Town Committee, said Tuesday the committee “was pleased with the finding of an ethics violation by then-council president (Brady) and that he admitted his wrongdoing after months of silence.”
Marcello added that the real victims were Delaere and the residents of Scituate who were deprived of “ethical decision making” in the management of the Police Department.
Marcello, a former state representative, was elected in November as the lone Democrat on the council and now serves alongside Brady.
The Hummel Report is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies, in part, on donations. For more information, go to HummelReport.org. Reach Jim at Jim@HummelReport.org.