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New call firefighter designation spurs research into ethics laws.

Byline: Betty Lilyestrom

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 William Roberts is the name of several notable people:
  • Sir William Roberts, 1st Baronet (1638-1688), an English Member of Parliament
  • William Roberts (painter), a vorticist painter of the early 20th century
, 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 In the United States, an Ethics Commission is a commission established by State law to discourage dishonest practices by their public employees and elected officials. Almost all American states have such a 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 Robert Reed (born February 23, 1943 in Longview, Texas) was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins. He played college football for Tennessee State University.  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 SELECTMEN. The name of certain officers in several of the United States, who are invested by the statutes of the several states with various powers. , 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 savings bank, financial institution that, until recently, performed only the following functions: receiving savings deposits of individuals, investing them, and providing a modest return to its depositors in the form of interest.  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 The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) administers the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act for the United States Secretary of Defense. FVAP is responsible for educating U.S.  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 FVAP Federal Voting Assistance Program .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
Words:648
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