Ethics — Conflict of Interest
Elected Town Meeting Members are not covered by the
Massachusetts Conflict of Interest Laws in G. L. Chapter 268A,
which covers all other municipal employees and elected officials.
The exclusion of elected Town Meeting Members is because of their
special status as elected “voters” rather than elected officials.
They have been elected to exercise the right to vote on Town
matters. Town Meeting adopted the following non-binding conflict of
interest resolution under Article 81, April 2, 1976:
“Resolved that the Town Meeting Member abstain from voting in any particular matter in which to his knowledge, he, his immediate family or partner, a business organization in which he is serving as officer, director, trustee, partner or employee, or any person or organizations with whom he is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment has any economic interest in the particular matter under consideration.”
This resolution constitutes a moral obligation on the part of
all Town Meeting Members. It is neither a regulation nor a part of
the Town’s General By-laws. It does not have the force of law
and is thus not enforceable. In practice, some Town Meeting Members
notify the Town Clerk in writing of their intentions to abstain
from voting on certain articles because of possible conflict of
interest, and the Moderator so reports to the meeting at the time
the votes are taken on such articles. Other members rise and state
their intentions at the time of debate. The resolution had been
preceded by a set of recommendations made by an <i>ad hoc</i> TMMA
committee, which suggested the following Code of Ethics, which was
adopted by the TMMA on June 9, 1971.