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01/16/2019

Council to review policy prohibiting employees from serving on town boards, committees

The Town Council will review current rules that prohibit town employees from serving on town boards or committees.

The council agreed on Jan. 14 to refer the review, requested by Councilor Chris Straw, to a future workshop.

Straw, a member of the subcommittee that interviews and recommends applicants for town committees, said that during the most recent round of interviews an applicant was disqualified because he was an employee.

The Statement of Policy for Appointments to Standing Boards and Committees prohibits employees from serving, but does allow some part-time employees or volunteers to serve if the committee is unrelated to their work for the town. These are temporary election workers or wardens; occasional instructors in the Community Services programs; and volunteer fire, rescue, and fire-police personnel.

But Straw said it's hard for him to understand why people who work for the largest employer in the town, the School Department, couldn't also serve on an unrelated committee. "Let's say a kindergarten teacher, why can't a kindergarten teacher not serve on the Riverside Cemetery Committee? Where's the conflict?

"So I would like to see a more nuanced approach," Straw said.

The prohibition on town employees was added to the policy in December of 2003, with the exceptions added in October 2007.