Town’s list of Special Municipal Employees

On Friday, I posted about the Town’s new policy for  Special Municipal Employees. That policy included defining a process for designating SMEs. I noted that the Town had designated them in the past on an ad hoc basis. At that time, I didn’t have a list of who received that status. I now do.

An email from Town Clerk Jim Hegarty shared his list of which positions in our Town Government have the status. He explained that there was no background in the files that explains the justifications for granting the status with more flexible conflict of interest rules.

Here is the list with the dates that the designations were granted:

Advisory Committee – 5/22/07
Board of Assessors – 5/22/07
Town Counsel – 5/22/07
Tree Warden – 5/22/07
Board of Council on Aging members – 5/11/10
Election poll workers – 5/11/10
Economic Development Committee – 10/15/19

Notably, Town Counsel is one of the positions that the new policy defines shouldn’t have it.

The policy also calls for the Board of Selectmen to review the list each year. If they choose to revoke status, they will notify the person/committee in advance of the vote.

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Conflict of Interest Laws / SMEs
3 years ago

Beth, a recent Conservation Commission appointee (appointed as Special Counsel– but recommended and selected by Town Counsel) was hired by the Town but also given Special Municipal Employee (SME) status. Also, in your article above, Town Counsel is listed as having “SME” status. This does not match up with Town Counsel’s statement in a recent Board of Selectmen meeting where he stated that he did not want and never had the designation. Are there minutes to the 2007 meetings explaining the SME grants (can links be provided)? Also, Mr. Healey (an attorney on the BOS who got the same designation for himself in the past) just helped draft the new policy and helped Attorney Dave McCay get the SME designation, however, Mr. McCay simply dropped off the EDC, even after being granted the designation, which is puzzling.

Can you provide a link to the actual SME list either here or where you have posted the link to the policy itself? Also, the conventional taxpayer wisdom is that there is no reason (or it is highly undesirable) for any attorney, especially any town attorney who is supposed to be representing the town, to have SME status. Why were those on the list in the article above granted SME status? For what reason was the new Con Comm attorney granted SME status? And why is the Town Attorney on the above list? What was the rationale given in 2007? It is now 2019. How could those on the list not know that they were on it? Thank you for any sunshine you can shed on this topic.

Conflict of Interest Laws / SMEs
3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Thanks Beth. Regarding the link to the list above itself: where is the list from? What source / committee / board? Where did you find it? Who maintained that specific list in their file?

Also, at a recent BOS meeting, Town Counsel made his second legal report to BOS for the decades he has been working for BOS and the town. He earned high praise from Mr. Kolenda for making his second report to the BOS. Town Counsel also stated that he was hired in 2002.

However, from the list you posted above, it looks like a number of SME designations were actively sought, worked on by the BOS(?), and given by the State in 2007. So the 2002 and 2007 dates do not line up. All of this information is public (or should be). Could you perhaps post links to the BOS Agendas / Minutes for 2007 that explain who and how Town Counsel got this SME designation, as well as the others? If BOS cannot remember exactly why and the reason given, it seems that those who have this exception to Conflict Laws should state their current need. According to the new policy, they must justify specifics on their need to the public / taxpayers. This should not be some automatic carry over from a time that no one in charge can recall. Thank you for any light you can shed.

Conflict of Interest Laws / SMEs
3 years ago
Reply to  Beth Melo

Contrary to what has been claimed, town counsel was employed by the town in 2007, when the sme designation was approved.

He stated in a recent BOS meeting he started in 2002.

But he stated in prior BOS meetings that he never had it. The 2007 list shows town counsel on the list. How could he claim he never had it and doesn’t want it, but it’s on the 2007 list. He had it. No town counsel should ever have it. How did it end up on the list? How could he not know he was on the list? Who submitted the list to the state? Who was on bos and voted this through? The minutes should reflect who exactly voted that list through. Thank you.

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