CONFLICT OF INTEREST LAW
Please take the time to review the Conflict of Interest law.
Conflict of Interest and nepotism are issues in our town government. I am also proud to say that in my view I don't know of any violation. It is commendable that our public officials have always managed to steer away from trouble as far as I know based on public information.
However, it has not always been in the best interest of the town to do so just to satisfy rules against CONFLICT OF INTEREST and NEPOTISM.
Why is this so?
Often, matters cannot be voted on because members have to abstain from dealing with vital matters because it may affect or benefit a relative in a department, board or commission. This is not an unusual problem in small towns such as ours.
Nepotism is a problem in two ways; when there is a direct link to a spouse, brother, sister, parent or child ;- or when it is indirect and therefore creating "the appearance of" ( ie. situations involving cousins, nephews, nieces ) .
One of the ways that issues can be discussed and voted on even if there is a potential conflict of interest is to "invoke the rule of necessity ". This would often be the case when you have a member with a conflict condition but you still need that member in order to have enough members to vote ( aka quorum) . However, this is not practical for two reasons.
1. You have to seek the advise of counsel and the Ethics Commission to get clearance. You have to be sure to provide disclosure PRIOR to acting on a matter . Often, clearance is not attainable even after it is disclosed and requested of the authority ( ie. Ethics Commission)
2. It must always be the very last resort. The Ethics Commission has strict rules about using this very sparingly not as a normal course of action. You simply can't use this as a routine way of doing the public's business.
If you have any questions regarding this please let me know.
I hope this information is helpful.