Friday, September 15, 2000
In ethical bind, selectmen legalize combined financial position
At an emergency selectmen's meeting on September 5, eleven motions were required to legalize what seemed to be a simple thing: combining the positions of tax collector and treasurer, each a part-time position, into one full-time position. As reported on August 18, Ann Vandal of Dracut was appointed to the combined position, effective at the start of September. However, the state government notified Carlisle interim town administrator Madonna McKenzie that the town violated State Ethics Law Section 266 A in combining the two positions without a vote on a home rule petition at Town Meeting.
Under the eleven motions, Ann Vandal will be classified a "special municipal employee" in her position as tax collector until the legislature can act on a consolidation home rule petition, assuming such a petition receives the required votes at a special Town Meeting in November. Apparently, the ethics rule applies to towns with populations exceeding 3,500, and only to town employees, not elected or volunteer positions. A review will be made of other combined positions to ensure legality.
The selectmen were somewhat mystified as to the intent of the law, but John Ballantine surmised, "The larger intention seems to be to provide a check and balance."
The selectmen also used the opportunity to vote two parcels to be acquired from developer William Costello at Carriage Way "unique." The two parcels off East Riding Drive will be combined with town land and sold as a lot. By law, once voted "unique," the lot information must be posted in the central register for 30 days before the town can make the purchase.
McKenzie also reported that the town cannot be represented by a broker in the sale, but can entertain bids from buyers represented by brokers. The highest bid (minus broker fees) will be accepted, subject to financial and other requirements spelled out in the Request for Proposals (RFP). It is hoped the RFP will be ready by October 5.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito