December 8, 2010 Minutes

These minutes were posted by the Ethics.

Meeting Minutes

December 8, 2010

Members present:  Chairman Merrill Vaughan (MV), Vice Chair Denise Patterson (DP) and member Robert Elliott (RE); excused Stacy Polizotti.  Quorum of three members is established.

MV called the meeting to order at 7:05

Motion to accept the minutes of July 15, 2010 was made and seconded, no discussion, motion carried 3-0

MV reiterated the necessity of holding meetings at least once a quarter as per The Code of Ethics. 

Old business; 1)  BE and DP both suggested that we need to publicize the Ethics Committee and to help attract potential members.  MV said he would work on an article for The Sun. 

2) .Changes to the Pittsfield Code of Ethics were discussed with the following changes

    a. page 2, II INTRODUCTION; PURPOSE, last sentence change the last word from “will” to “shall

    b. MV recommends that definite of “abusive language” be added; RE was concerned about confusion – because tempers can flare, and there would be a concern that a little issue could be dragged out.  DP suggested that the following definition be as follows ,  Section II,paragraph C add 6:  Appropriate reasonable language should be used at all times by town officials.  MV would like to have the following in newly added sub paragraph 6:  All Town Officers, (appointed or elected) and employees (full time and part time) shall refrain from any abusive or derogatory language to any citizen or public official (elected or appointed) that which would be derogatory or foul language of hurtful intent.

    c. MV suggested adding the following to Section V, paragraph A:  After the words “at least twenty-one years of age.” No person who has appeared before the Pittsfield Ethics Committee and has been found in violation of The Code shall not be a member of The Committee for a minimum o five (5) years.  MV stated this would be a way of preventing someone found in violation to not bring in negative attitude to the committee.


MV will type up the changes, pass them to the members for approval and then woke with the Town Administrator to set up a Public hearing once the Committee has approved the changes.


RE brought up a good point that a person bringing  charges against a Town Officer as defined in The Code, needs to have good “standing” on the basis for the charge.  An example of standing would be  an abutter, with close proximity will affect you.  It  boils  down to having common sense.


      MV brought up the issue of establishing an operating budget with the Board of Selectmen (BOS).  He submitted a letter asking to appear in front of the BOS; he appeared and was in turn, denied the money as there was no place to take the $400.00 from.  MV firmly believes that an operating budget of $400.00 and is necessary and that it would not be used unless necessary.   He firmly believes that it should be brought up each year before the annual Budget Committee cycle.


     A discussion was brought up as to what happens after an individual is found to be in violation of The Ethics Code.  MV stated that after we find someone in violation of The Code, we send our finings to the Board of Selectmen where they take into consideration the finings and dispense with the punishment as they seem fit.  Once the BOS has made their decision, the Ethics Committee reviews and if they concur with the BOS action, the case is closed and filed away.    


There was no new business.


Next meeting will be in early January to finalize changes.


Motion was made and seconded to  adjourn the meeting, voted 3 – 0 to adjourn at 7:45.