New call firefighter designation spurs research into ethics laws.
COLUMN: Leicester Notebook
All of the town's call firefighters got a new job designation last week but only one of them asked for it. How the rest of them feel about it remains to be seen.
The one who asked for it was William Roberts, who is a call firefighter who gets paid by the town only when he answers fire calls. Like most call firefighters he earns his living at a full-time job - in his case serving as owner and operator of Classic Automotive Co. William wanted to use his company to perform work for the town but he was told by the state Ethics Commission that in order to do that he would have to be designated under his firefighter's job as a special municipal employee.
Town Administrator Bob Reed wasn't sure whether it was possible to designate one call firefighter as a special municipal employee, so he took the matter to town counsel, who said no, it wasn't possible. The job itself would have to be so designated, so in order to grant William Roberts' request, the Board of Selectmen, by unanimous vote, designated all of the town's call firefighters as special municipal employees.
The change doesn't give them a nickel more wages for fighting fires. And it doesn't guarantee them the right to use their non-town skills and equipment for the town without violating state ethics laws. There are pages of other requirements they would have to meet first.
What it does mean is that the fire chief and other fire engineers are going to have to sit down and learn all those ethics requirements, because as part of the vote selectmen tasked them with learning all there is to learn about the state ethics laws, and then teaching them to all the call firefighters.
The Leicester Council on Aging has just received a much-needed grant of $5,000 from the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.
COA director Rachelle Cloutier said the grant will be used to augment the efforts of Barbara Paszuk, the Council's part-time outreach coordinator. Ever since her appointment, Barbara has worked tirelessly to locate new and interesting programs for seniors and bring them to the Leicester Senior Center.
Money for the grant comes from a fund established many years ago by the former Leicester Savings Bank as it was closing, and its operations center became the Leicester branch of the Community Bank for Savings. The fund annually provides financial support for a variety of programs of the kind that Leicester Savings Bank backed regularly during the many years of its existence.
Leicester Town Clerk Debbie Davis recently sent the Notebook an interesting email that that unfortunately arrived too late to be squeezed into the column before the end date of the program it was promoting. But Debbie told us this week that though the formal event was over, the purpose for it still exists and she still wants to be involved in it.
The formal event, promoted as part of the Federal Voting Assistance Program and incorporating help from city and town clerks across the United States, was called the Armed Forces and Overseas Citizens Voters Week, and its aim was to encourage all service members, their voting age dependents and overseas civilians to register to vote and request absentee ballots for this year's state and federal elections.
"The elections themselves are still more than a month away so there is time to do this, though it should be done as soon as possible in order to meet state filing deadlines," Debbie said. "If you have a family member currently overseas, whether serving in the military, working or studying, you can encourage them to visit www.FVAP.gov to register and request an absentee ballot. A family member can also request an absentee ballot be sent to a voter by filing an application with the town clerk's office."
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Jul 20, 2012|
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