Shelburne residents attending Monday evening’s Town Meeting will have the opportunity to vote to adopt a new Ethics and Conflict of Interest Ordinance for Shelburne’s public officials. This proposal would revise the Ordinance adopted by the Selectboard in 2009. The revised ordinance was drafted by the Town’s Ethics Committee, comprising Lee Suskin, Chair, Tom Little, Michael Ashooh, Gwen Webster, Bill Deming, and Pete Gadue. The Selectboard endorsed the ordinance and has placed it before the voters for adoption.
The ordinance defines the Town’s expectations and requirements for ethical behavior of its public officials, making it clear that public officials must act impartially and make decisions in the best interest of the Town and not for personal or financial gain. Town employees are covered by the Town Personnel Policy and employee contracts.
The revised ordinance covers not only conflicts of interest but also actions which a reasonable person believes to have the appearance of a conflict of interest. Public officials conducting quasi-judicial proceedings, such as the Development Review Board and Board of Civil Authority, would be subject to a higher standard and would need to recuse themselves if they publicly displayed a pre-judgment of the merits or discussed the matter with anyone outside of the hearing itself.
The ordinance also establishes clear directions on steps that a public official should take and may no longer take after recusing him or herself from a matter.
To view the ordinance, click here.
The six members of the Ethics Committee fully endorse the revisions and encourage a yes vote.