You are the Administrative Assistant (Assistant) to the Board of Selectmen (Board) of a town (Town). The Assistant is appointed on an annual basis to this full-time, paid position. The Assistant's duties have recently been expanded to include the responsibilities of the insurance commissioner (Commissioner), previously a separately appointed, paid part-time position. Additionally, the Assistant's duties now include the responsibilities of Secretary to the Sewer Commissioners (Secretary), previously also a separately appointed, paid part- time position. The Assistant will now be compensated through one paycheck for all of her services in that position. The Assistant is now interested in seeking election to a position on the Board.
You also inform us that the Assistant's spouse is the manager of a Town department (this is a full-time position appointed by the Board).
1. Does G.L. c. 268A permit the Assistant to provide services to multiple municipal agencies, assuming that she will receive only one paycheck?
2. Does G.L. c. 268A permit the Assistant to hold her current Town position and to serve as a Selectman?
3. If she is elected and serves in the position of Selectmen, is Town Meeting approval required under G.L. c. 268A, s. 21A in order for the Assistant to be reappointed in future years to her current position as Assistant?
The Assistant is a municipal employee  for purposes of G.L. c. 268A. Selectmen are also considered municipal employees.
1. The Assistant's Current Position.
Section 20 prohibits a municipal employee from having a financial interest in a municipal contract. For purposes of the conflict of interest law, the term "contract" includes any type of arrangement between two or more parties, under which each undertakes certain obligations in consideration of the promises made by the other. Thus, the Commission has previously held that the term "contract" includes employment arrangements. See EC-COI- 84-91; In Re Doherty (1982). See also Quinn v. State Ethics Commission, 401 Mass. 210 (1987).
Typically, when an individual receives compensation from the same municipality for more than one appointed municipal position, an issue is raised under s. 20 by virtue of the separate employment contract which results from each municipal appointment. Here, however, you tell us that the duties of the Assistant have recently been expanded to include the responsibilities of Commissioner and -535- Secretary, and that the Assistant will be compensated with only one check. In EC-COI-83-83, the Commission concluded that a state employee who received one paycheck which reflected duties performed for two state agencies would not violate s. 7 (the state counterpart to s. 20) because the duties performed would be considered to stem from one state employment contract. See also EC-COI-84-12. Similarly, we conclude here that, because the functions of Assistant, Commissioner and Secretary have been combined into one municipal position, an issue under s. 20 will not arise.
2. Holding the Positions of Selectman and Assistant.
We must also examine s. 20 in light of the Assistant's intention to seek the office of Selectman. A selectman who also serves as the selectmen's Assistant will have a financial interest, within the meaning of s. 20, by virtue of the "employment contract" which results from her appointment to the compensated Assistant's position. Such a financial interest in a municipal contract is prohibited unless one of the exemptions found in s. 20 applies.
Because the Town has fewer than 10,000 residents, the Town's Selectmen are, by definition, special municipal employees . As a special municipal employee, the individual in question may avail herself of the exemption found in s. 20(d)  to overcome the prohibition against the financial interest she has in her employment contract as Assistant . She must file, with the Town Clerk, a written disclosure of her financial interest in the Assistant's position, and must also receive, from the remaining selectmen, approval of the s. 20(d) exemption .
We note that s. 20 also contains an exemption (the "selectman's exemption") which permits a municipal employee to hold the additional municipal position of selectman, provided that the individual is employed by the municipality prior to becoming a selectman. The selectman's exemption imposes several additional restrictions. For example, the municipal employee may receive only one municipal salary but has the ability to choose which salary he will receive. In addition, as a selectman, he may not vote or act on any matter within the purview of the municipal agency by which he is employed or over which he has official responsibility. Finally, he may not be appointed to any additional municipal position while serving as a selectman or for six months thereafter. While the Assistant is not prohibited from using the Selectman's exemption, rather than s. 20(d), to overcome the s. 20 prohibition, use of the Selectman's exemption will render her service as a Selectman of little or no value to the Town because of the restriction that, as a Selectman, the Assistant may not vote or act on any matter within the purview of the municipal agency by which she is employed. See EC-COI-93-4. Because the Assistant is employed by the Board, the restriction imposed by the selectman's exemption would prohibit her from acting or voting on any of the Board's business. Thus, we assume that the Assistant will elect to pursue an exemption under s. 20(d). The Assistant must additionally comply with the standard imposed by s. 19 of G.L. c. 268A.
Section 19 prohibits a municipal employee from participating  in any particular matter  in which she or her immediate family members , including her husband, has a financial interest.
Section 19 will prohibit the Assistant as selectman from participating in matters related to her employment or any reappointment as Assistant. For example, the Assistant could not participate as a selectman in the approval of the s. 20(d) exemption for herself. Moreover, she cannot participate as Assistant or as selectman in any particular matter which will have a financial impact on her husband's employment by the Town. We note that participation includes not only the final, formal vote on a given matter, but also any discussion, recommendations, etc., leading to a formal vote. EC-COI-87-25. Whenever such a matter comes before the Board, it would be advisable for her to leave the room. See Graham v. McGrail, 370 Mass. 133, 138 (1976).
3. The Assistant's Reappointment.
Assuming that the Assistant receives a s. 20(d) exemption permitting her to hold the positions of selectman and Assistant, the next issue is whether the Assistant/selectman may be reappointed by the remaining selectmen to the Assistant's position on an annual basis.
Section 21A prohibits a municipal board or commission from appointing any of its members to any office or position under the supervision of that board or commission unless such appointment is first approved by a vote at an annual town meeting or unless the member has resigned from the Board at least thirty days before the appointment. Therefore, even upon compliance with the requirements of s. 20, an issue will arise under s. 21A if the board of -536- selectmen appoints one of its current members (or a former member prior to the expiration of thirty days) to a position under the supervision of the selectmen .
In EC-COI-92-30, we explained that s. 21A is rooted in the common law doctrine of incompatibility of offices. See Gaw v. Ashley, 195 Mass 173 (1907); Attorney General v. Henry, 262 Mass. 127, 132 (1928); Mastrangelo v. Board of Health of Clinton, 340 Mass. 491, 492 (1960); Starr v. Board of Health of Clinton, 356 Mass. 426 (1969). This incompatibility includes the potential danger that a board member will attempt to persuade his fellow colleagues to appoint him or otherwise engage in conduct which might give the appearance of such self-dealing activity, and the danger that, as a result of alliances formed through service together on a board, board members will be persuaded to reappoint one who, under different circumstances, they would conclude should be removed from office. See Mastrangelo, 340 Mass. at 492; See also EC-COI-80-44 (s. 21A serves to prohibit board member from attempting to persuade fellow colleagues to appoint him and any appearance of self-dealing activity). Our review of this body of common law, and the express language of s. 21A, persuades us that the Legislature has chosen to resolve the actual or perceived incompatibility of positions by prohibiting the appointment of an individual to a position under the supervision of his fellow board members. We must still consider, however, whether the policy considerations embodied in s. 21A are also implicated in the case of a reappointment.
We have previously examined the issue of reappointment in the context of s. 20 and the selectman's exemption. In EC-COI-82- 107, we considered whether the selectman's exemption and its prohibition against appointment to a second municipal position effectively barred an individual's reappointment to a municipal position which he held prior to becoming a selectman. Noting the statute which created this appointment bar was entitled, "[a]n act providing that a person shall not be prohibited from holding the office of selectman in a town because such person is an employee of the Town," we concluded that the appointment bar was intended to cover only new, post-elective appointments. We went on to note that the reappointment at issue in EC-COI-82-107 was not the same as an appointment to a new, post-elective position. Rather, we concluded that the reappointment was more properly regarded as an appointment to the very position which the selectman's exemption expressly permits a selectman to hold .
We decline to reach a similar result, however, with regard to our treatment of reappointment in the context of s. 21A, because s. 21A serves a substantially different purpose. In contrast to the selectman's exemption, s. 21A prohibits a board member from acting to appoint a fellow board member to a position under the supervision of the board, absent a vote of the Town meeting. We find that by erecting this appointment bar the Legislature has once again sought to address the potential for abuse whereby selectmen could acquire or continue to hold a subordinate position by virtue of their incumbency in the office of selectmen. See fn.9, above. We conclude that the application of s. 21A to the Assistant is appropriate where the potential for using the office of selectman to seek designation by her fellow board members to continue to hold the Assistant's position is present upon her "reappointment" . Therefore, if the Assistant is serving as a selectman when her current appointment as the Board's Assistant expires, she may not be reappointed by the Board as Assistant, without first receiving approval of the appointment at the annual town meeting, . or if she has resigned from her Selectman's position, she may be reappointed only after the expiration of thirty days.