Selectmen Sign "Code Of Conduct:" First Time In 5 Years
By Kristen Arute, Published: July 1, 2020
Hingham Current News File Photo
At last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, new member Bill Ramsey was sworn in after which the Board signed a “Code of Conduct,” a practice that hasn’t been done since 2015. “(It’s the) same document,” said Tom Mayo in an email to the Hingham Current. “Just getting back into the habit of having each board acknowledge and sign it at their first meeting.”
The document, described as a “Code,” is intended to be used in conjunction with existing State Ethics Laws and Regulations and was designed to be a “guide to inform and govern our behavior toward each other, and toward town employees and volunteers, other government officials, and the people of Hingham.” In it the Selectmen say they will “strive to be the standard bearers of civil and productive discussion in our local governance.” The document covers a variety of areas including Exercise of Board Authority, Conducting Town Business, Relations with Members of the Public and Relations with Town Administrator and Town Employees.
There is also a section entitled “Standards of Civility” in which it is noted that “personal attacks have no place in public debate in Hingham” and that all board and committee members and employees of the town are expected to “treat people with courtesy and respect and to conduct their business in a manner consistent with the principles of public discourse espoused in this Code.”
However, there are limitations to the Code. “As a general rule,” said Mayo, “the town has no involvement with what private citizens do on their private social media accounts on their own time and own equipment.”