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Learning Assessment

(Municipal Commission and Board Members)

Question 6 of 10

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State Ethics Commission

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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You are a Selectman. The Board of Selectmen is an elected board with three members. All three members have health insurance coverage through the Town. The Board must decide whether to change the health insurance coverage currently offered to Town employees, including changes to co-payments and deductibles. These changes would affect all Town employees, including the Selectmen. Under applicable law, towns may make these types of changes only by vote of the Board of Selectmen. May you and the other Selectmen discuss and vote on whether to change the Town’s health insurance coverage?

You are a Selectman.  The Board of Selectmen is an elected board with three members.  All three members have health insurance coverage through the Town.  The Board must decide whether to change the health insurance coverage currently offered to Town employees, including changes to co-payments and deductibles.  These changes would affect all Town employees, including the Selectmen.  Under applicable law, towns may make these types of changes only by vote of the Board of Selectmen.
 

 

May you and the other Selectmen discuss and vote on whether to change the Town’s health insurance coverage?

CORRECT !

 

A municipal employee may not participate in a particular matter in which she has a financial interest.  However, in limited situations, when an elected board is required by law to act, but cannot act because it lacks a quorum due to its members’ disqualifying conflicts of interest, the board may invoke the rule of necessity to allow it to act.   Before invoking the rule, the board should consult with municipal counsel to ensure that all of the requirements necessary to invoke the rule have been satisfied.  The board also must comply with certain procedural requirements.

INCORRECT.

 

A municipal employee may not participate in a particular matter in which she has a financial interest.  However, in limited situations, when an elected board is required by law to act, but cannot act because it lacks a quorum due to its members’ disqualifying conflicts of interest, the board may invoke the rule of necessity to allow it to act.   Before invoking the rule, the board should consult with municipal counsel to ensure that all the requirements necessary to invoke the rule have been satisfied.  The board also must comply with certain procedural requirements.

INCORRECT.

 

A municipal employee may not participate in a particular matter in which she has a financial interest.   An exemption to the law allows a municipal employee to participate in a particular matter in which he has a financial interest if the particular matter involves a determination of general policy and the interest of the municipal employee is shared with a substantial segment of the population of the municipality.   However, that exemption does not apply to this particular matter because it affects only other municipal employees who receive health insurance through the Town, which is not a substantial segment of the Town’s population.  

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