Thursday, October 18, 2007

Even as I try to shed some cynicism, Demotivators never let me down

...we need to get rid of cynicism in politics...

although then again, as quoted by Craig Sandler of the State House News Service at the MMA Massachusetts Selectmen's Association Fall Conference on Saturday October 13, 2007:

"No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up." - Lily Tomlin in "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe"

Tradition @Despair, Inc.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Interpreting the Ethics Laws: No Action Taken by State Ethics Commission

Update on the Ethics complaints filed by Larry Kelley:

Daily Hampshire Gazette:
This just in to the Gazette Newsroom

State ethics complaint against Amherst Select Board members closed without any action taken

AMHERST -- The state Ethics Commission complaint filed against two members of the Select Board has been closed without any action being taken.

Information obtained from board members Rob Kusner and Alisa Brewer Wednesday morning, who were the subjects of the complaint, as well as from complainant Larry Kelley of South Pleasant Street, reveals that the matter was closed because the appropriate disclosures had been filed by both board members with the town clerk.

Kelley said he was surprised and disappointed by the decision "I'm not overly pleased with it," Kelley said.

The original complaint was filed by Kelley because Kusner and Brewer, who both voted in favor of a waiver on effluent fees for the University of Massachusetts, have connections to the university. Kusner is a mathematics professor, while Brewer's husband is a UMass professor.

Kelley maintains that the Select Board should at least have to do over its vote because the formal disclosures were not filed with town clerk until a week after the vote.

See more about the decision in Thursday's print edition of the Gazette and on GazetteNET.

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Alisa says: Verbal disclosure is sufficient. Verbal disclosure was made at the September 17th Select Board meeting. Case closed. If you're interested in actual ethics violations, check out these enforcement actions.

Ethics Commission

268A:23. Supplemental provisions; standards of conduct.

Section 23. (a) In addition to the other provisions of this chapter, and in supplement thereto, standards of conduct, as hereinafter set forth, are hereby established for all state, county and municipal employees.

(b) No current officer or employee of a state, county or municipal agency shall knowingly, or with reason to know:

(3) act in a manner which would cause a reasonable person, having knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to conclude that any person can improperly influence 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, position or undue influence of any party or person. It shall be unreasonable to so conclude if such officer or employee has disclosed in writing to his appointing authority or, if no appointing authority exists, discloses in a manner which is public in nature, the facts which would otherwise lead to such a conclusion.

Previous posting on this blog:

268A:19. Municipal employees, relatives or associates; financial interest in particular matter.

(b) It shall not be a violation of this section

(3) if the particular matter involves a determination of general policy and the interest of the municipal employee or members of his immediate family is shared with a substantial segment of the population of the municipality.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Annual Town Election Date Announced: Tuesday April 1, 2008

Last night the Select Board voted to hold the next Annual Town Election on a date separate from the Presidential Primary of Tuesday March 4, 2008, due to the many pieces of information provided by the Town Clerk and others about the level of complication vs the benefits of holding the elections at the same time. The cost savings at most might have been $3,600.00, and compared to the confusion of four Primary ballots plus a local just wasn't going to work out.

Please, mark your calendars: Annual Town Election Tuesday April 1, 2008, polls open 7:00 am - 8:00 pm

Monday, October 1, 2007

Town Meeting Vacancies: Four Seats Open


Posted 9/28/2007

Town of Amherst Representative Town Meeting Vacancies

The following Town Meeting vacancies exist:

Precinct 3: 1 vacancy

Precinct 7: 1 vacancy

Precinct 10: 2 vacancies

In accordance with Section 1.5422 of the Amherst Town Government Act, the above vacancies may be filled by filing a petition with the Town Clerk to request a special meeting. The petition shall be signed by no fewer than 10 elected town meeting members from said precinct.

For more information contact the Town Clerk’s Office by email or phone 413-259-3035.

Updated September 28, 2007.
Current Town Meeting members