Related to:

Opinion EC-COI-87-12

Date: 04/27/1987
Organization: State Ethics Commission

A selectman may also hold a second elected position as an assessor.


You currently hold the elected offices of selectman and assessor
in a town. Prior to your election, you served

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as a full-time Director of the Community School, a public school
in town. You resigned that position upon your election because of
the full-time nature of the selectman's job and a new director was
hired. Recently, town meeting voted to change the board of
selectmen from a three to five person board with a full-time
Executive Secretary. Coincident with the change in the structure
of the Board, the Director of the School resigned. The School is
seeking applicants to the Director's position, and you would like
to be a candidate.


1. Does G.L. c. 268A permit you to hold the elected offices of
selectman and assessor?

2. Does G.L. c. 268A permit you to serve as the School Director
while you remain a selectman?

3. Does G.L. c. 268A permit you to serve as the School Director
within six months after you complete your service as selectman?


1. Yes.

2. No.

3. No. You are eligible for appointment only after a six month
waiting period following completion of your services as selectman.


As an elected selectman and assessor, you are considered a
municipal employee under the conflict of interest law, G.L. c.
268A, s.1(g), and are subject to the provisions of s.20 of that

1. Assessor and Selectman

Although there are several restrictions within G.L. c. 268A
governing multiple position holding, the conflict of interest law
specifically provides that any elected official in a town, paid or
unpaid, may hold one or more additional elected positions. G.L. c.
268A, s.20(g) paragraph 2. Thus, you may properly hold the elected
offices of assessor and selectman.

2. Selectman and School Director

The conflict of interest law states that "no... selectman shall
be eligible for appointment to any additional position while still
a member of the board of selectmen or for six months thereafter."
The plain language of this statute prohibits you, as selectman,
from being appointed to the additional municipal position of School
Director. Sound policy considerations support this conclusion. The
Legislature adopted this restriction in response to its concern
that selectmen would or could acquire additional municipal
positions "by virtue of their incumbency .. ." EC-COI-82-107. The
enactment of a six month waiting period therefore reflects the
Legislature's view that the period is "desirable in light of the
authority and visibility which accompanies the of Board of
selectman." EC-COI-83-1.

The conclusion that you may not hold the position of selectman
and School Director is consistent with the plain language and
legislative purpose of G.L. c. 268A, s.20. Your situation is
distinguishable from the facts which the Commission addressed in
EC-COI-82-107. In that opinion,the Commission concluded that a
police officer who was elected selectman could be reappointed to
his police officer position which he consistently maintained
because it was unclear whether the prohibition on appointments
extended to reappointments. This conclusion does not apply where,
as here, the Director job would not be a reappointment. In fact,
you resigned from the job (as opposed to taking a leave of
absence), a new full time Director was hired with no notion that
the position was temporary or subject to your availability, the
present vacancy requires a job posting, and you must be interviewed
for the job and compete with a pool of other potential candidates.
We do not believe that these facts would constitute anything other
than seeking an appointment to an additional municipal job, in
violation of G.L. c. 268A, s.20(g) (paragraph 2).


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