[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Chelmsford 10-15-1990 by Art. 14. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter governs all municipal employees. A municipal employee is a person performing services for or holding an office, position, employment or membership in a municipal agency, whether by election, appointment, contract of hire or engagement, whether serving with or without compensation, on a full, regular, part-time, intermittent or consulting basis, but excluding elected members of a Town Meeting and members of a charter commission established under Article LXXXIX (89) of the amendments to the Constitution.
The purpose of this chapter is to ensure that municipal employees' private financial interests and personal relationships do not conflict with their public obligation to act objectively and with integrity. This chapter is written to prevent municipal employees from becoming involved in a situation which could result in or give the appearance of unethical or illegal behavior. This chapter restricts what municipal employees may do on the job, after hours and after leaving public service.
It is essential for the continued well-being of the Town of Chelmsford that its citizens have full confidence in the integrity of its municipal employees. The Town of Chelmsford desires to promote such confidence by demanding the highest standards of ethical conduct for each municipal employee. It is required that municipal employees conduct themselves in such a way that their behavior, both in practice and appearance, conforms to the highest standards of ethical conduct. The Town of Chelmsford recognizes the Massachusetts Conflict of Interest Law (MGL c. 268A) as the basis for setting the minimum standard of ethical conduct for all municipal employees. It is considered an integral component of this chapter and should be read in its entirety.
This chapter provides that municipal employees for the Town of Chelmsford will "pay their own way." Municipal employees must avoid conduct which creates the impression that they will act with bias.
Municipal employees shall not engage in the most obvious kind of corruption: bribery. Massachusetts law imposes criminal penalties, not only on municipal employees who seek or receive payoffs or kickbacks but also on anyone who bribes or attempts to bribe a public official for any action or inaction.
Municipal employees shall not request, accept or offer anything of substantial value from or to anyone with whom the municipal employee has had or is likely to have official dealings even if the motivation for the gift is to express gratitude for a job well done or to foster goodwill. The Town of Chelmsford deems "substantial value" to be $50 or more in any calendar year. Substantial value includes but is not limited to additional compensation, waived fees, sporting event tickets, golf outings, parties, meals, discounts, gift certificates, entertainment and refreshments at testimonials, retirement functions and ground-breaking and dedication ceremonies. Free or discounted services, such as construction or accounting work, are considered gifts. The purchase of property at less than full market value from any entity having matters before any town board or agency is strictly prohibited.
Municipal employees shall not solicit contributions, sell tickets or otherwise seek or accept payment for a testimonial or retirement function, or any function having a similar purpose, held for themselves, for a member of their immediate family or another employee if the contributor is a person or entity doing business with the Town of Chelmsford and the admission price or payment exceeds the actual per-person cost of the food and beverages served at the function. Municipal employees shall not request or require any person or entity to sponsor or contribute to any ground-breaking ceremony, dedication ceremony or similar occasion. The Town of Chelmsford, if it deems the occasion appropriate, shall plan and pay for the ceremony.
Municipal employees shall not accept reimbursement for travel expenses from any person or entity having business with or wishing to do business with the Town of Chelmsford and with whom or with which the municipal employee had or is likely to have official dealings. Municipal employees shall not utilize private aircraft for travel, whether business or pleasure, that is owned, leased or rented by entities doing business with or wishing to do business with the Town of Chelmsford and with which the municipal employee has had or is likely to have official dealings. Travel expenses for municipal employees for municipal business shall be paid by the town.
Municipal employees shall not use the nonbusiness facilities of entities having financial contracts with or wishing to have financial contracts with the Town of Chelmsford and with which the municipal employee has had or is likely to have official dealings. This includes but is not limited to staying at vacation spots, lodges or condominiums.
Conflicts of interest.
Municipal employees are prohibited from taking action on any "particular matter" as defined in MGL c. 268A which would affect their own financial interest or the financial interest of:
Their immediate family (themselves, their spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters);
A business organization in which they serve as an officer, director, trustee, partner, silent partner or employee (including a nonprofit organization); and
Any person or organization with whom or which they are negotiating or have any arrangement concerning future employment.
An exception is available to appointed municipal employees who may act on a matter in which they, their family or their business has a financial stake, provided that they receive written permission from their appointing official prior to taking the action.
Municipal employees shall not participate in any way in the hiring, promotion, performance review or salary recommendation of any immediate family member. An exception is available to appointed municipal employees who may act on a budget affecting an immediate family member's financial interest, provided that they receive written permission from their appointing official prior to taking the action.
Municipal employees shall not use their position to benefit from municipal contracts and must avoid conduct which creates the public perception that municipal employees have an inside track on obtaining municipal contracts or jobs.
Municipal employees shall not use or attempt to use their municipal position to obtain unwarranted privileges for themselves or anyone else. Municipal employees shall avoid conduct which creates the impression that they can be improperly influenced or that they will act with bias. Municipal employees are prohibited from misusing confidential information obtained on the job and from accepting outside employment which is inherently incompatible with their public position.
Municipal employees shall not act as agent or attorney for a private party before the town. There are exceptions which are covered under MGL c. 268A, § 17.
Former municipal employees shall not derive unfair advantage by misusing friendships formed or confidential information obtained while serving the town.
Municipal employees shall not use town property of any kind, either directly or indirectly, for other than officially sanctioned activities, except to the extent that said property is available to the public.
Appointing authorities shall appoint only those persons who do not have vested interests in any matter coming before that person's appointed body which would violate or give the appearance of violating the provisions of this chapter.
All municipal employees are required to be familiar with the standards of this chapter. A procedure for the proper orientation of each individual is hereby established:
The Town Manager and Superintendent of Schools shall jointly develop a program to annually inform and educate all municipal employees of the required standards of conduct. The Town Manager and the Superintendent of Schools shall develop a program to inform and educate all incoming municipal employees of said standards of conduct. They shall include in their program, as a minimum, a procedure that will produce for the town's records a signed document from each municipal employee indicating that each individual has read this chapter and is familiar with the requirements of MGL c. 268A.
The Town Manager shall place the State Ethics Commission publication entitled "A Practical Guide to the Conflict of Interest Law for Municipal Employees" conspicuously in the Town Manager's and Town Clerk's office and shall provide copies for placement in all public buildings for the benefit of employees and the public.
All citizens and municipal employees shall regularly be made aware that if they believe a violation of this chapter has occurred or is occurring, they should call or visit the State Ethics Commission's enforcement staff, or they may speak with the Town Manager or the Superintendent of Schools.
The Town Manager and the Superintendent of Schools shall report to the State Ethics Commission any suspected violations of the State Conflict of Interest Law. The Town Manager and the Superintendent of Schools shall report annually to their respective boards the educational initiatives they have taken to comply with this chapter. They shall also report the status of alleged violations brought to their attention, which report shall only be statistical in nature.
When a violation of this chapter has occurred, administrative action as is warranted shall be taken by the appropriate authority.
If any provisions of this chapter shall be held to be invalid, the validity of the remainder of this chapter shall not be affected thereby.