No matter what level an election, ethics should absolutely be number one when it comes to issues in a campaign. Yesterday The Boston Globe Metro section ran a small blurb regarding my opponent alongside other North Shore local-area political notes. Since then, there has been an uptick in discussions pertaining to rules and ethics. We do have an ethics issue touching the current Stoneham Selectman race, and this posting from the Friends of Stoneham Facebook group captures its essence quite well:
“I believe as a reporter you have a responsibility for giving equal time to the other candidate. I am not a politician, a candidate or a town employee or related to any employees. I am a homeowner and taxpayer who has lived in Stoneham for over 40 years. I vote on the basis of who is the best candidate for the job. Ms. Parker has been a wonderful volunteer in our community for our children. No one is disputing her abilities and willingness to serve our community. In this election however we have an existing Selectwoman who in 9 months, and has done an effective and productive job, and has shown concern for the “whole” community.
Ms. Parker fails to state that she is a part time employee of the Stoneham Police Department and as such, if elected to the Stoneham Board of Selectmen, whenever contracts or budget negotiations are on the agenda –either public or in executive session– Ms. Parker must excuse herself from such matters and leave the room.
See “Section Restrictions on Your Actions by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Ethics Commission: http://www.mass.gov/ethics/education-and-training-resources/educational-materials/explanations-of-the-conflict-of-interest-law/selectmen-summary.html
The importance of this couldn’t be stressed enough. The purpose of having five Selectmen is to avoid a tie when it comes to voting on issues. Not having a properly balanced Board of Selectmen would be absolutely dangerous to the progression of Stoneham.
This issue is also well-discussed and explored in the comments section of this Stoneham Patch article.
-Ann Marie O'Neill, Stoneham Selectman