Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

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Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by C on Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:10 pm

Do we always have a BOS member on the Med-care BOD? Does this appointed position conflict with the Charter?

7/3/08 Selectmen's meeting
Mark Belanger was appointed to the Med-Care Board of Directors; The BOS had a question about another Med-Care Board of Director's term limits: Eddie Shurtleff is apparently listed as an "indefinite" alternate and the BOS have never seen an indefinite term before on any committee; They wanted clarification from the Town Manager as to why that appointment is indefinite.


Rumford's Charter:
Section 2. Duplication in Offices. No town official, either elected or
appointed, shall hold more than 1 town office at a time except that the
offices of clerk and treasurer may be held concurrently by the same
person, and except as otherwise provided by Article XX, section 1, of
this act.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by Admin on Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:01 pm

That language seems pretty clear that Mark being “appointed” to the Med-Care Board is illegal.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by T on Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:11 pm

I suspect Mr. Belanger’s appointment would stand if challenged. I believe it would be (or will be) argued that being a member of the Med-Care Board of Directors is not an “office” of the Town of Rumford as Med-Care is a “regional” consortium representing many towns.

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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by C on Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:31 pm

At the very least, I would think it's a conflict of interest.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:07 am

Instead of making allegations of wrong-doing, why not check it out by contacting the town manager or attending a selectmen's meeting and requesting a legal opinion?
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by C on Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:24 am

Kevin- asking for clarification on a town/charter issue was not on my part an intended allegation of wrong doing. And no, everytime I have a question or want clarification or interpretation on the wording or meaning of a town issue I am NOT going to contact Mr. Greaney or pipe up at Selectmens's meetings. I'm sure they'd find me quite a nuisance as I could keep them busy for a while with questions! That is what this forum is handy for. T- I think gave a reasonable answer though I would think any appointment by town officials would be considered "town office". I think the charter has many interpretations.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:19 pm

Isn't Rob Cameron on the Med-Care board too??
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:21 pm

C wrote:At the very least, I would think it's a conflict of interest.

Oh please do tell how Mark is making money from being on both boards. Med-Care members don't even get a stipend. Oh, and by the way, the Chairman of Med-Care is a Selectman in Carthage and has been for a number of years.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:24 pm

I don't believe the Charter has any rules about quazi-municipal organizations. Therefore, an appointment to a quazi-municipal organization would be governed solely by the organization's bylaws.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by C on Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:58 pm

Geez, I never said anything about anyone making money on it. Is Cameron on the MedCare BOD? I would think being on that board would make them have to sit out on any BOS votes regarding MedCare. It seems odd that they would be negotiating as a MedCare board member then voting on the results of those negotiations as a selectboard member. If I'm seeing this wrong I apologize.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Jul 19, 2008 6:07 am

C wrote:Geez, I never said anything about anyone making money on it. Is Cameron on the MedCare BOD? I would think being on that board would make them have to sit out on any BOS votes regarding MedCare. It seems odd that they would be negotiating as a MedCare board member then voting on the results of those negotiations as a selectboard member. If I'm seeing this wrong I apologize.
Perhaps you should look up the definition of "conflict of interest".
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by T on Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:37 am

KevinNSaisi wrote:Perhaps you should look up the definition of "conflict of interest".
Having a “conflict of interest” can also mean having competing professional or personal interests. Having such interests can make it difficult or impossible for one to do his or her job impartially.

That’s what C meant. C, correct me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:54 pm

30-A §2605. Conflicts of interest
Certain proceedings of municipalities, counties and quasi-municipal corporations and their officials
are voidable and actionable according to the following provisions. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2
(NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9,
§2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
1. Voting. The vote of a body is voidable when any official in an official position votes on any question
in which that official has a direct or an indirect pecuniary interest.
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989,
c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD)
.]
2. Contracts. A contract, other than a contract obtained through properly advertised bid procedures,
made by a municipality, county or quasi-municipal corporation during the term of an official of a body of the
municipality, county or quasi-municipal corporation involved in the negotiation or award of the contract who
has a direct or an indirect pecuniary interest in it is voidable, except as provided in subsection 4.
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989,
c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD)
.]
3. Restrain proceedings. The Superior Court may restrain proceedings in violation of this section
on the application of at least 10 residents of the municipality, county or area served by the quasi-municipal
corporation.
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989,
c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD)
.]
4. Direct or indirect pecuniary interest. In the absence of actual fraud, an official of a body of the
municipality, county government or a quasi-municipal corporation involved in a question or in the negotiation
or award of a contract is deemed to have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a question or in a contract
where the official is an officer, director, partner, associate, employee or stockholder of a private corporation,
business or other economic entity to which the question relates or with which the unit of municipal, county
government or the quasi-municipal corporation contracts only where the official is directly or indirectly the
owner of at least 10% of the stock of the private corporation or owns at least a 10% interest in the business or
other economic entity.


Page 2
MRS Title 30-A §2605. Conflicts of interest
2 |
When an official is deemed to have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest, the vote on the question or the
contract is not voidable and actionable if the official makes full disclosure of interest before any action
is taken and if the official abstains from voting, from the negotiation or award of the contract and from
otherwise attempting to influence a decision in which that official has an interest. The official's disclosure and
a notice of abstention from taking part in a decision in which the official has an interest shall be recorded with
the clerk or secretary of the municipal or county government or the quasi-municipal corporation.
A. This subsection does not prohibit a member of a city or town council or a member of a quasi-
municipal corporation who is a teacher from making or renewing a teacher employment contract with
the municipality or quasi-municipal corporation for which the member serves. [1987, c. 737,
Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD);
1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989,
c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD)
.]
5. Former municipal and county officials. This subsection applies to former municipal and county
officials.
A. No former municipal or county official may, for anyone other than the municipality or county,
knowingly act as an agent or attorney, or participate in a proceeding before a municipal or county
government body for one year after termination of the official's employment or term of office with that
government body in connection with any proceeding:
(1) In which the specific issue was pending before the municipal or county official and was directly
within the responsibilities of that official; and
(2) Which was completed at least one year before the termination of that official's employment or
term of office. [1989, c. 104, Pt. A, §22 (NEW); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C,
§10 (NEW).]
B. No former municipal or county official may, for anyone other than the municipality or county,
knowingly act as an agent or attorney, or participate in a proceeding before a municipal or county
government body at any time after termination of the official's employment or term of office with that
government body in connection with any proceeding:
(1) In which the specific issue was pending before the municipal or county official and was directly
within the responsibilities of that official; and
(2) Which was pending within one year of the termination of the municipal or county official's
employment or term of office. [1989, c. 104, Pt. A, §22 (NEW); 1989, c.
104, Pt. C, §10 (NEW).]
C. This subsection may not be construed to prohibit former municipal or county officials from doing
personal business with the municipality or county. This subsection does not limit the application of Title
17-A, chapter 25. [1989, c. 104, Pt. A, §22 (NEW); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C,
§10 (NEW).]
For the purpose of this subsection, a municipal or county government body includes an agency, board,
commission, authority, committee, legislative body, department or other governmental entity of a
municipality or county.
[ 1989, c. 104, Pt. A, §22 (NEW); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §10 (NEW) .]
6. Avoidance of appearance of conflict of interest. Every municipal and county official shall attempt
to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest by disclosure or by abstention.
[ 1989, c. 104, Pt. A, §22 (NEW); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §10 (NEW) .]


Page 3
MRS Title 30-A §2605. Conflicts of interest
| 3
7. Municipal officers adopt ethics policy. In their discretion, the municipal officers may adopt an
ethics policy governing the conduct of elected and appointed municipal officials.
[ 1989, c. 561, §19 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1987, c. 737, §§A2,C106 (NEW). 1989, c. 6, (AMD). 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD).
1989, c. 104, §§A22,C8,C10 (AMD). 1989, c. 561, §19 (AMD).
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by T on Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:06 pm

Like I said.

A “conflict of interest” can also mean having competing professional or personal interests. Having such interests can make it difficult or impossible for one to do his or her job impartially.

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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:12 pm

T wrote:Like I said.

A “conflict of interest” can also mean having competing professional or personal interests. Having such interests can make it difficult or impossible for one to do his or her job impartially.

How does the law support your statement?? I don't see it.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by T on Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:19 pm

There is more than one meaning for the term. BTW, I did research the term and the definition I cited is accurate.

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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:55 pm

Well, we run under the laws of Maine.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:58 pm

T wrote:Like I said.

A “conflict of interest” can also mean having competing professional or personal interests. Having such interests can make it difficult or impossible for one to do his or her job impartially.

Given your definition, how would it apply to a selectman being on the Med-Care board?
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by T on Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:00 pm

I don't know. I'm not the one who said it was a conflict of interest.

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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by C on Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:44 pm

Would someone who helped negotiate a contract for one entity be able to objectively vote on that same contract under a different entity?

Conflict of Interest
Inconsistency between the interests of a person, such as a public official, which arises in
connection with the performance of his duties. Examples are a judge who decides a zoning case
on land he owns and a law firm that represents both plaintiff and defendant.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:38 pm

C wrote:Would someone who helped negotiate a contract for one entity be able to objectively vote on that same contract under a different entity?

Conflict of Interest
Inconsistency between the interests of a person, such as a public official, which arises in
connection with the performance of his duties. Examples are a judge who decides a zoning case
on land he owns and a law firm that represents both plaintiff and defendant.

It may not be a conflict for the person to sit on the board, but it may be ethically advisable for him to abstain when the vote comes to the board of Selectmen.

Your example is irrelevant because both involve a situation in which the person in question whould have a financial benefit.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by C on Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:47 pm

As I stated before in a previous post. I'm not referring to a pecuniary interest. I'm speaking of personal interest. There is a lot of personal conflict (egos) in our government. Some who seem to want to have their way regardless of any other opinions. I can easily picture the Medcare board as a whole deciding on a factor that a selectman or two of the same board disagree with and thus swaying the municipal selectboard he/she is a member of to vote it down.
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:10 pm

C wrote:As I stated before in a previous post. I'm not referring to a pecuniary interest. I'm speaking of personal interest. There is a lot of personal conflict (egos) in our government. Some who seem to want to have their way regardless of any other opinions. I can easily picture the Medcare board as a whole deciding on a factor that a selectman or two of the same board disagree with and thus swaying the municipal selectboard he/she is a member of to vote it down.

Well, if you are not claiming a pecuniary interest, than you are not claiming a conflict of interest. Under your scenario, everyone has the right to their opinion, regardless of how strong their opinion may be. The reason our organizations are run by a board, rather than one person is so that all aprties can be represented and have a say in the actions taken. A Med-Care board member cannot make decisions on his/her own. Because of the way Med-Care is set up, the only thing the board votes on is appointing the town's represenatives to the board. No other decisions come to the selectmen. Even the revisions that are being proposed (I believe) require some decisions to come to the voters, but not to the selectmen. So where is the so-called conflict?
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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by T on Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:27 pm

Like I said.

A “conflict of interest” can also mean having competing professional or personal interests. Having such interests can make it difficult or impossible for one to do his or her job impartially.

The interest does not have to be pecuniary.

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Re: Town Charter: Duplication in Offices

Post by KevinNSaisi on Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:30 pm

Okay, after much research, I concur that it does not have to be financial. I found the following definitions. You will note that most of the definitions indicate that the person's PERSONAL interest is involved.


American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
conflict of interest



A situation in which someone who has to make a decision in an official capacity stands to profit personally from the decision. For example, a judge who rules on a case involving a corporation in which he or she owns stock has a conflict of interest.

[Chapter:] Business and Economics

WordNet
conflict of interest

noun
a situation in which a public official's decisions are influenced by the official's personal interests

American Heritage Dictionary
conflict of interest
n. pl. conflicts of interest
A conflict between a person's private interests and public obligations.


Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) conflict of interest –noun

1.the circumstance of a public officeholder, business executive, or the like, whose personal interests might benefit from his or her official actions or influence: The senator placed his stocks in trust to avoid possible conflict of interest.

2.the circumstance of a person who finds that one of his or her activities, interests, etc., can be advanced only at the expense of another of them.



I did find this definition, which seems to meet your definition more accurately:

The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill
conflict of interest
n. a situation in which a person has a duty to more than one person or organization, but cannot do justice to the actual or potentially adverse interests of both parties. This includes when an individual's personal interests or concerns are inconsistent with the best for a customer, or when a public official's personal interests are contrary to his/her loyalty to public business. An attorney, an accountant, a business adviser or realtor cannot represent two parties in a dispute and must avoid even the appearance of conflict. He/she may not join with a client in business without making full disclosure of his/her potential conflicts, he/she must avoid commingling funds with the client, and never, never take a position adverse to the customer.




So, let's discuss how a selectman would be in a situation in which he/she has a duty to more than one person or organization, but cannot do justice to the actual or potentially adverse interests of both parties. Please note my previous comments regarding the budget procedure.
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