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Commentary – What Should Happen Right Now

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We have been in Everett many years and we have come to understand how things are done here politically.

Filling a vacant School Committee seat is important business. It is also political business and so there are certain realities about what must happen and what must not happen.

We have just such a scenario of what must not happen right now.

Sadly, there is possible conflict of interest issue regarding how a city employee has been soliciting votes for his daughter to get the position.

Soliciting votes for your daughter is not illegal not unless you work for the city council and you are soliciting the votes of the city council you work for.

If this isn’t about a conflict of interest then what is?

According to published reports in another local newspaper, the city solicitor said she was going to apprise herself of the situation and that if she felt there is a conflict of interest she would be making a call over to the State Ethics Commission – something she has likely already done.

This is a situation that must be corrected.

We agree.

How to do that?

We’d probably recommend that Mr. Burley re-think the whole situation for he has the most to lose.

Mr. Burley is the fellow whose daughter, Amanda, is running for the empty School Committee seat left vacant by the death of longtime school committeeman Richard Baniewicz.

Mr. Burley has to know he can’t solicit votes from the people he works for and with and who pay him.

Mr. Burley works for the Everett City Government. He is paid by the City of Everett. He works specifically for the City Council.

This most likely means he can’t call on city council members on the phone or speak privately to them to direct or to ask them to give their vote, to commit their vote, to his daughter.

This appears to be a clear instance of a conflict of interest and those leaders around here who cannot fathom this need to take a course in government ethics.

It is an incident like this that can tend to give Everett a bad name.

There is just too much going on here that is positive to allow something like this to bring the city down or to cause it a black eye.

What matters is process and the integrity of the political system.

We simply can’t ignore a city employee calling city candidates for public office and asking them to give him their vote for his daughter.

Any way you choose to look at it it’s a conflict of interest.

It seems to the Advocate that Mr. Burley, in his position as clerk of committees, should ask for a ruling from the State Ethics Commission if he could solicit votes for his daughter for the open school committee seat. The ruling would certainly end the controversy and put the issue to rest.

Now that we’ve made it public, we leave it to our readers and politicians to decide.

Ms. Burley should withdraw her name from the contest and let this be the end of it.

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