Showing posts with label ethics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ethics. Show all posts

Friday, November 12, 2021

Recap: Town Council reorganizes (sort of); hears about open meeting law, etc. appoints 4 to Cultural Council; closes with Executive Session

Quick Recap:
  • Town Clerk Nancy Danello sworn in (2nd time, first time on election night), then she swears in the Town Council
  • Council reorganizes by nomination and vote to retain Mercer, Dellorco, and Jones as Chair, Vice-Chair and Clerk respectfully; so while they have officially re-organized, there is no change in the leadership at this time
  • Appointments of four individuals to Cultural Council approved
  • Overview of Open Meeting, Law, Ethics, etc. provided by Attny Mark Cerel. As many times as I have seen this overview (8 times, I think?), it is good to review, something different catches my attention each time.
  • Council entered Executive Session to discuss the latest on the Prospect St property situation and did not return to open session


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter. I participated in the meeting in the Council Chambers. 

The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #tc1110 

Agenda document ->

  • getting ready for the Town Council meeting to begin shortly - agenda doc and remote connection info ->…  #tc1110
  • Motion to nominate Mercer as Chair, seconded, approved 9-0; motion to nominate Dellorco as Vice-Chair; seconded, approved 9-0 motion to nominate Jones, seconded, passes 9-0 #tc1110
  • motion to adopt procedure manual -> ADOPTION OF TOWN COUNCIL PROCEDURE MANUAL: Resolution 21-67…  #tc1110  subcommittee will review and propose revisions possible  -  seconded, passes 9-0
  • meeting protocol statement read by Chair Mercer; meeting options, Zoom, cable Verizon/Comcast, and live stream - Citizen comments; Rev Juncker and Rabbi Alpert step forward to make Interfaith Council as they did at #schCom1109 meeting  #tc1110
  • statement on #LoveFranklin can be found ->…  #tc1110 (BTW - I am a signer of this statement, one of the 365 community members)
  • J Callaway-Tripp after an atrocious election, congratulations, I hope you do wonderful things #tc1110
  • approval of minutes from 10/06/21 meeting, motion, seconded, passes 9-0  #tc1110
  • APPOINTMENTS a. Franklin Cultural Council: Venus Senjam - motion, seconded, passes 9-0  #tc1110 Cormier-Leger, Frongillo, Jones - thanks to these candidates, good candidates
  • APPOINTMENTS b. Franklin Cultural Council: Patrick Kinner#tc1110 - motion, seconded, passes 9-0 c. Franklin Cultural Council: Shelley Green - motion, seconded, passes 9-0d. Franklin Cultural Council: Jacob Juncker - motion, seconded, passes 9-0
  • LICENSE TRANSACTIONS a. Residence Inn Boston Franklin, License Modification, Change of Manager, Officers/Directors/ LLC Managers & Change of ownership Interest, 4 Forge Parkway, Franklin, MA 02038  #tc1110  motion to approve, seconded, passes 9-0
  • License modification -> b. Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc. d/b/a Shaw's, License Modification, Change of Officers/Directors/LLC Managers, 255 East Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038  #tc1110 motion, seconded, passes 9-0
  • license modification - c. 99 Restaurants of Boston, LLC d/b/a The Ninety-Nine, License Modification, Change of Officers/Directors/LLC Managers, 847 West Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038  #tc1110 motion, seconded, passes 9-0
  • Farmers Market license - D. La Cantina Winery Company, Farmer-Winery, Farmer’s Market License, 355 Union Street, Franklin, MA 02038 #tc1110 motion, seconded, passes 9-0 3rd time for the Market at Fairmount Fruit Farm (11/20/21)
  • Presentation: Open Meeting Law, Public Records, Ethics and Conducting a Public Meeting - Mark Cerel, Town Attorney Memo - >…  Presentation Doc - >…  #tc1110
  • starting with page 11 of the presentation doc - this is the short story version - each of these topics could take more time to review thoroughly #tc1110 applicable for open meeting law when a quorum is together;
  • in open meeting law, public has right to be present but not an absolute right to participate, subject to the chair of the public body; there are consequences for enforcement #tc1110 no blanket immunity for speech, potential liability for any comments if derogatory, threatening
  • shifting to public records law - includes all forms of documents including electronic  - the document itself is the public record regardless of the device it located on; i.e. a personal device. #tc1110 there are town business email accounts for Town Council/School Committee …
  • to help with the separation of the town business and personal business. There are public records officers defined within Municipal operations, most requests are from outside for some other purpose - we don't have a lot of requests as the website is so stocked with docs. #tc1110
  • the easiest answer; if you are thinking about posting it, don't; #tc1110 shifting to ethics - this is a criminal statue  - Town Council members are considered "municipal employees" and covered by all "statutory prohibitions and restrictions"
  • identify the potential conflict sooner than later and recuse yourself at the outset. #tc1110 Ethics Commission can be helpful and then be an investigator and hearing leading to decisions for civil and criminal as required
  • next up - conducting public hearings - #tc1110 differences in liability between legislative role (most resolutions) and administrative (i.e. alcohol license or violations) - be careful about what you do
  • a. Resolution 21-65: Cable Funds in Support of PEG Service and Programming per MGL Ch. 44, §53F3/4 - $18,500.22 (Motion to Approve Resolution 21-65 - Majority Vote) - motion, seconded, passes 9-0 #tc1110
  • b. Resolution 21-66: Gift Acceptance: Veterans Service Department ($3,295.00) and Fire Department ($965.00) (Motion to Approve Resolution 21-66- Majority Vote) #tc1110 motion, seconded, passes 9-0
  • Town Administrator's Report - thanks and congratulations to the successful candidates; cafe will be closed at Senior Center, deep cleaning to be done, also expanding tax workoff to include the cafe; #tc1110  Nov 18, at FHS auditorium also Zoom feature
  • future agenda items; accessory dwelling units for Economic Development; Civil discourse pledge should be taken up; Housing Authority coming Nov 17 as the feature presentation; #tc1110 Councilor Comments - grade 6 youth football game coming this weekend, best wishes
  • need to leaf pickup to assist other seniors to help them with taking the leaves to the transfer station/Beaver St #tc1110 vandalism at FHS bathrooms, work closely with Superintendent and their staff, etc. incidents are taken seriously. dealing with minors and legal process …
  • mental health related issues, a lot of grief and difficulty out there today, not completely surprised. #tc1110 Frongillo touting talk on Mon on "Strong Towns" (info to be shared later) 9:30 AM
  • thanks to the voters; Pellegri tapping on to the Chandler comments about the vandalism; has suggestions on how to stop it; #tc1110 Jones touting Mamma Mia performances this weekend (Fir/Sat) (see the community calendar for details)
  • Thanks to the voters, awesome to see all the folks come out; wish the veterans the best; Nov 18 is an important event, #tc1110 good story on an issue raised last night, SAFE Coalition has a plan underway for the individual today; congratulate all the newly elected
  • thanks also to all those who stepped up to run, even if they were not successful, there are other opportunities to stay involved #tc1110 do need to enter Executive Session - prospect St - not to return to open meeting ; vote to enter, vote via roll call - passes 9-0


Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days

Town Clerk Nancy Danello sworn in by justice of the peace
Town Clerk Nancy Danello sworn in by justice of the peace

Thursday, August 12, 2021 More Perfect Union - 025 - Ethics

"In this episode, Frank and the group discuss how ethics play a role in society and how something the difference between what's legal and what's ethical."
Direct link -> More Perfect Union - 025 - Ethics More Perfect Union - 025 - Ethics


Monday, January 30, 2017

Conflict of interest of public official; reporting requirement

"Any public official, as defined by section l of chapter two hundred and sixty-eight B, (read a Town Councilor) 
who in the discharge of his official duties (voting on a zoning bylaw amendment, for example) 
would be required knowingly to take an action which would substantially affect such official's financial interests, (any bylaw amendment that would affect the market value of residential or commercial property) 
unless the effect on such an official is no greater than the effect on the general public,  (when the Town Councilor is also a realtor, they would have a 'greater' effect than the general citizen) 
shall file a written description of the required action and the potential conflict of interest with the state ethics commission established by said chapter two hundred and sixty-eight B." (how many such filings have been made the realtors who are Town Councilors?)

Why do we ask such?

The potential councilor conflict of interest for realtors was raised during the Summer St zoning map change discussion. One realtor councilor had recused himself. The other realtor councilor chose not to recuse himself.

Glenn Jones after being duly elected in 2013, resigned from the Town Council in October 2014 as he had just been hired to teach at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School. As a member of the Town Council, he would be voting on the Franklin portion of the Tri-County budget. He was subsequently voted in again in 2015 and it was known that he was working at Tri-County so while the conflict potential exists, it was at least disclosed and known. He took the high road in 2014 and kudos to him for doing so.


268A:6A. Conflict of interest of public official; reporting requirement.
"Section 6A. Any public official, as defined by section l of chapter two hundred and sixty-eight B, who in the discharge of his official duties would be required knowingly to take an action which would substantially affect such official's financial interests, unless the effect on such an official is no greater than the effect on the general public, shall file a written description of the required action and the potential conflict of interest with the state ethics commission established by said chapter two hundred and sixty-eight B."
Copied from the MA page found here

From the archives:

  • Jones resignation will bring special election

G.L. c. 268A, the Conflict of Interest Law, as Amended by c. 194, Acts of 2011
G.L. c. 268A, the Conflict of Interest Law, as Amended by c. 194, Acts of 2011

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Code of Conduct

From the Franklin Town Code site:

No member shall vote on any matter where the member's private or family interest will conflict with the public's interest as set out in the State Conflict of Interest Law, MGL c. 268A.,conflict%20of%20interest,interests%20of,interests,conflict,interest,of#10436526

screen grab of MA.GOV State Ethics Commmission webpage
screen grab of MA.GOV State Ethics Commmission webpage

Code of Conduct

Section 23(b)(2) Improper Use of Public Position

Section 23(b)(2) provides that a public employee may not knowingly, or with reason to know, use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions of substantial value for himself or others. Under section 23(b)(2), the Commission has consistently prohibited public employees from using their titles, public time and public resources to promote private interests.

Section 23(b)(3) Appearances of a Conflict of Interest

Section 23(b)(3) prohibits a public employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, engaging in conduct which would cause a reasonable person to conclude that any person or entity can improperly influence the employee or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties, or that he is likely to act or fail to act as a result of kinship, rank, or position of any person.

For example, issues may arise under this section if a matter involving a non-immediate family relative, a close friend or business associate, or a civic organization in which a public employee is a member comes before the public employee in his official capacity, even if the public employee is not otherwise required to abstain under G.L. c. 268A, sections 6, 13 or 19. The public employee's private relationship with such an individual or organization creates an impression that he could be biased in his official actions as a result of the private relationship.

These and other references can be found here

and here

Friday, December 24, 2010

"It's as clear as mud, as it always has been"

As public employees, teachers fall under the state's ethics reform law that was created in July 2009. That law prohibits public workers from accepting gifts valued at more than $50, and requires written notification of any gift that might lend an appearance of impropriety, according to the Ethics Commission.
"Most of the gifts that the teachers receive wouldn't fall into the category where they need a disclosure form," said David Giannotti, an Ethics Commission spokesman. "They're baked goods, or they're homemade holiday cards, or something small like that. You have to look all the facts, and whether a reasonable person would think the teacher could be influenced by the gift. Nobody is going to conclude that a teacher is going to go into the tank for someone for less than $10."
Earlier this month, the Ethics Commission revised the regulations to allow teachers to receive a gift from the entire class up to $150, so long as the gift amounts of each student or parent remained anonymous.

Ethics law means teachers must disclose gifts over $10

Franklin, MA

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Items of interest; ethics reform, farmer's markets, union givebacks

Posted Jun 13, 2009 @ 11:11 PM


Speaker Robert A. DeLeo has appointed his chief advocate, Majority Leader Rep. James E. Vallee, D- Franklin, Majority as the principal House member of the legislative conference committee on ethics reform.

DeLeo credited Vallee with being the drafter of the stringent, far-reaching ethics and lobbying reform bill recently passed by the House and strongly applauded by government reform advocates.

The conference committee, consisting of three House members and three Senate members, is charged with resolving the differences between each chamber's versions of ethics reform legislation.

"I am honored to be part of crafting such an important piece of legislation," said Vallee. "Only when the citizens of Massachusetts see their legislators making bold moves to change the public perception will we prove that we are acting with nothing but the public interest at heart. I look forward to working with my House and Senate colleagues to negotiate a bill that will represent the strongest, most comprehensive, and meaningful overhaul of the way our government does business."

Read the full article about Rep Vallee and the ethics reform efforts in the Milford Daily News here


Posted Jun 13, 2009 @ 11:01 PM

Farmers already depend on the unpredictability of weather and nature each year so it was with some trepidation given the faltering economy that organizers of local farmers markets opened for business last week.

For now, farmers and organizers are optimistic for their harvest sales.

Framingham farmer Tom Hanson said the poor economy in an indirect fashion is fueling farmers markets. He believes people are slowing down, eating at home, and taking the time to come out to the market, while before they were too busy.

Jeff Cole, executive director of the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets, said the downturn in the economy and a declining restaurant industry "leads us to conclude that folks are taking limited resources and making different choices on how they are going to spend, which seems to be in the direction of the markets."

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here. Note: there is no reference to Franklin in this article.

Did you know Franklin has a farmer's market? On the Town Common, Friday afternoons. You can visit the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets website to sign up and receive an email alert to remind you of the market.


Unions mixed on givebacks

Officials lobbying for budget relief

By Connie Paige Globe Correspondent / June 14, 2009
Several area communities and school districts have asked employees to break existing contracts and accept wage freezes, salary-increase deferrals, or other givebacks in the coming fiscal year to help prop up wobbly municipal finances.

With the stakes high for both communities and public employees, municipal and school unions have generally turned down the requests, with reactions ranging from respectful mutual understanding on both sides to acrimony and suspicion.

In Franklin, the School Committee's chairman, fearing that the teachers union had not adequately briefed its members about the town's financial plight, used the online site YouTube to make a direct appeal to teachers. In a virtual Internet duel, the union used its own website to respond.

Whatever the relationship between employers and employees, there is a shared understanding of the need to save cash, as municipal revenues and local aid from the state go into freefall, according to local officials.

Read the full article in the Boston Globe here

The Franklin teachers are scheduled to vote on their latest negotiated agreement with the School Committee on Monday, June 15th.