February 24, 2020
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A Source of Guidance

Published Oct. 30, 2019

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In response to the letter from Madison selectmen Scott Murphy and Al Goldberg [Oct. 17, “An Ethics Commission”], I have to add: Why doesn’t Madison have an ethics commission? Is there any possibly good reason for this?

I find it embarrassing that all our neighboring towns have ethics commissions and rules while Madison does not.

The purpose of such a commission would not be merely punitive (as some may suspect) but to educate and inform what our standards of behavior are. Most towns have a policy that every town employee, volunteer, and elected or appointed official must read and acknowledge in writing; no chance to later say they didn’t know the rules guiding ethical behavior.

An ethics commission would also be a source of guidance when someone, be it town employee or member of the public, has a question about ethical behavior or to report unethical behavior. We have many volunteers and unpaid board and commission members who may not have the background or experience to fully understand some of the ethical challenges that come into play in their positions. Let us support them with this guidance.

I would like to see an ethics commission that would establish the rules of ethical behavior by the town, that would be the commission to investigate any reports of questionable behavior, and that would recommend what actions to take if unethical behavior is found.

Is there a reason we don’t want an ethics commission in Madison? I fully support selectmen Scott Murphy and Al Goldberg in this matter.

Cecilia Pfister