Related to:
Opinion

Opinion Opinion 94-2

Date: 03/08/1994
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Ethical Opinions for Clerks of the Courts

Serving as town meeting member.

Dear Clerk:

This letter is to confirm the advice which was given to you by telephone in response to your request for advice from the Advisory Committee on Ethical Opinions for Clerks of Courts. In your letter to the Committee dated January 20, 1994, you ask for the Committee's opinion with regard to the propriety of your running for the position of town meeting member in the town of .

You hold the position of first assistant clerk of the . Your letter states that there are 200 - 250 town meeting members in who are elected by precincts. The elections are non partisan and there is no salary for the positions. You are not identified as the first assistant clerk of the in any election materials, except that the resume which you submitted to the League of Women Voters notes that you are an employee of the court and a former employee of the . You requested a prompt response from the Committee because the printing of the ballots was imminent.

As relayed to you via telephone by the Secretary, it is the opinion of the Advisory Committee that your running for the office of town meeting member in the circumstances which you describe does not conflict with the Code of Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Courts. Canon 6 of the Code prohibits a Clerk from holding or seeking elective office "if there is a substantial likelihood that matters involving that office will come before the clerk magistrate or the court in which the clerk magistrate serves." In the opinion of the Committee, your seeking or holding the position of town meeting member in while you are serving as the first assistant clerk of the would not violate this provision of the Code. If you are elected and if matters involving your office as town meeting member come before the , you should consult and comply with the provisions of Canon 4 (E) regarding disqualification.

The Committee also confirms the suggestion conveyed to you orally by the Secretary that you should consult the provisions of the Trial Court Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual relative to leave of absence for political office.

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