Policies

Acceptable Use Policy for the TMMA EMail List


THE TMMA

The Lexington Town Meeting Members Association (TMMA) is a private, non-governmental organization comprised of Lexington, MA Town Meeting Members. More information about the TMMA can be found at www.lexingtontmma.org.

PURPOSE

The TMMA sponsors a Yahoo Group e-mail list to facilitate, support and encourage constructive discussion among our members and to assist with the operation of Town Meeting. Our goal is to minimize restrictions on the use of the list to the extent possible. The TMMA expects our members to self-monitor their usage. This policy has been developed as a guide for use of the list.

APPROPRIATE LIST TOPICS

• Topics regarding Lexington government and the activities of Town Meeting.
• Public policy concerns and issues that are under municipal-level control.
• Announcements of town-affiliated programs and nonpartisan public meetings on matters that are appropriate topics as defined above.
• As a courtesy, list members may post messages on behalf of non-members if such messages meet these guidelines.

MEMBER RESPONSIBILITIES

• Make every attempt to verify facts and information contained in your posting.
• Speak to the issue, not the person, and don’t assume motives.
• Adhere to a high standard of fairness and respect in your posting.
• Do not post campaign announcements or messages of a partisan nature.

TOWN STAFF, BOARDS, AND COMMITTEES

Town staff does not monitor the messages on this list. Correspondence to town staff, officials, boards and committees should be sent to them directly. Post separate emails if you would like to open the same topic for discussion on the TMMA list or to notify non-list members of the issue. Do not use “cc” on any postings to this list.

TOWN MEETING SEASON

During Town Meeting Season, discussion topics should be relevant to current Town Meeting business. Emergent Town issues of obvious urgency are excepted.

POSTING COURTESY

• Sign all messages and identify your committee or position if you are writing in an official capacity.
• Change the subject line if the topic has evolved.
• Don’t respond to off-topic postings.
• Respond off-list when your posting is of limited interest to the larger group.

A statement on sanctions for violation of list guidelines is currently under development and will be posted to the TMMA list prior to the October Executive Committee meeting where it will be on the agenda for discussion and adoption.

Vicki Blier
TMMA List Moderator
Vicki.Blier@LexingtonTMMA.org

Usage procedures related to the TMMA Google Group E-mail list sent to all new members.

Policy on Posting Non-TMMA Events

Announcements of public meetings with subject matter concerning public policy are welcome on the TMMA list.

Text should be limited to a description of the subject matter, the name of the sponsoring organization, the date, time and location. Information should be presented in a neutral, non-advocating, journalistic tone.

Announcements by town departments, official town committees and boards, and the TMMA are welcome without restriction. Posting of political campaign events by candidates and ballot proponents is not allowed on the list.

Ethics — Conflict of Interest

Elected Town Meeting Members are not covered by the Massachusetts Conflict of Interest Laws in G. L. Chapter 268A, which covers all other municipal employees and elected officials. The exclusion of elected Town Meeting Members is because of their special status as elected “voters” rather than elected officials. They have been elected to exercise the right to vote on Town matters. Town Meeting adopted the following non-binding conflict of interest resolution under Article 81, April 2, 1976:

“Resolved that the Town Meeting Member abstain from voting in any particular matter in which to his knowledge, he, his immediate family or partner, a business organization in which he is serving as officer, director, trustee, partner or employee, or any person or organizations with whom he is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment has any economic interest in the particular matter under consideration.”

This resolution constitutes a moral obligation on the part of all Town Meeting Members. It is neither a regulation nor a part of the Town’s General By-laws. It does not have the force of law and is thus not enforceable. In practice, some Town Meeting Members notify the Town Clerk in writing of their intentions to abstain from voting on certain articles because of possible conflict of interest, and the Moderator so reports to the meeting at the time the votes are taken on such articles. Other members rise and state their intentions at the time of debate. The resolution had been preceded by a set of recommendations made by an <i>ad hoc</i> TMMA committee, which suggested the following Code of Ethics, which was adopted by the TMMA on June 9, 1971.

TMMA Code of Ethics

  1. Any person who is employed in any capacity (e.g., attorney, architect, broker, etc.) by another interested in the article under discussion should disclose his or her employment and relationship before speaking.
  2. Any person who has a financial interest in the article under discussion should disclose his financial interest before speaking thereon.
  3. Any person who is the spouse, parent, child, brother or sister of a person who has a financial interest in the article under discussion should disclose such relationship before speaking thereon.
  4. Any Town Meeting Member who is referred to in the above paragraphs 1, 2, or 3 should consider a voluntary abstention from voting on the article in question. Notification of such abstention should, if possible, be given to the Moderator in writing before the session in which the article is considered, but at least before debate on the article.

Last Modified on March 09, 2010, at 11:57 AM EST


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