August 17, 1987

FACTS:


You are an elected member of the ABC Board of Selectmen. Your
son is a patrolman with the town police department. The police
department is comprised of one chief and several sergeants and
patrolmen. The Chief has proposed the creation of a new position
of Captain. Only current sergeants will be eligible for the newly
created position of captain. Creation of the new position of
captain requires approval of the board of selectmen, and if
appointed, will create an opening for sergeant. If this occurs,
your son would be interested in being promoted to the position of
sergeant.


QUESTIONS:


1. Does G.L. c. 268A permit you, as a board of selectmen member,
to participate in a vote to create the new position of captain?

2. If the board of selectmen votes to create a new position of
captain, may you participate in a discussion or vote relative to
the promotion of one of the four current sergeants?


ANSWERS:


1. No.

2. No.


DISCUSSION:


Members of the board of selectmen are municipal employees within
the meaning ofthe conflict of interest law and, therefore, are
subject to its provisions. G.L. c. 268A, s.1(q). The conflict of
interest law prohibits a municipal employee, such as a member of
the board of selectmen, from participating in a particular matter
in which the employee, or a member of her immediate family, has a
financial interest.[1] G.L. c. 268A, s.19(a). A determination to
create a new position of captain is a particular matter, G.L.c.
268A, s.1(k), and any discussion or vote on this matter would
constitute participation. See, Graham v. McGrail, 370 Mass.
133(1976); EC-COI-82-10. The remaining issue is whether your son,
an immediate family member, has a financial interest in the matter.
The disqualifying financial interest in a determination to create
the captain's position must be "direct and immediate or at least
reasonably foreseeable" EC-COI-84-123; see also, 84-96 and 84-98.

In this case, the decision to create the new position of captain
would foreseeably impact the financial interest of your son.

This is because you have stated that the appointment of captain
will create a vacancy in one of the four sergeant positions, and
your son has a current interest in being promoted to sergeant.
Thus, there is a line of causation which will impact on your son.
Cf. EC-COI-87-16 (where the individuals who might have potential
interests in a future vacant elected position were not

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sufficiently identifiable).

Since the opening for the sergeant's position will affect your
son's financial interest as long as he is interested in the
promotion, you will be prohibited from participating in any
decision to appoint any one of the four sergeants to the position
of captain. Similarly, you are prohibited from participating in the
selection of a sergeant if your son in fact applies for the
resulting vacant position.

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[1] "Immediate family," the employee and his spouse, and their
parents, children, brothers and sisters.

End Of Decision