Mashpee Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to recommend that voters at the October Town Meeting reject an article that would prohibit town employees from holding elected positions in the town.
“Personally, I’m opposed to it,” said chairman Andrew R. Gottlieb at the board’s meeting on Monday, August 19. “If people don’t want employees on the board, they don’t have to vote for them.”
Since the article was submitted by petition, it does not require approval of the selectmen to appear on the Town Meeting warrant.
In July, the article was submitted to the town with the signatures of 14 Mashpee residents. The signatures of 10 residents were needed for the article to appear on the warrant.
The article argues that “town employees who hold elected positions on any Mashpee Town Board can be conflicted when making decisions regarding issues that are pertinent to their jobs or their co-workers.”
Five of the residents who signed the article by petition also signed an earlier petition calling on planning board member John F. Phelan, who doubles as Mashpee’s deputy fire chief, to recuse himself from a decision about the construction of a cellphone tower in a residential area on Red Brook Road.
Petitioners argued that Mr. Phelan’s employer—the Town of Mashpee—would benefit financially from the construction of a cellphone tower, creating the appearance of a conflict.
Mr. Phelan consulted the state Ethics Commission and was told there was no conflict, he said at the time.
The selectmen did not discuss the article at length but voted 4-0 to recommend that it not be passed.
Even if Town Meeting approves the article, it is unclear whether it is legal and would be approved by attorney general upon review.