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League Expects to See Ethics Change

The League of Women Voters of Greenwich hopes to soon see changes in the Town's Code of Ethics after making recommendations made last year, said JoAnn Messina, former president of the league.

"I think we're talking about modeling behavior and having a code of ethics that models behavior that lets everyone know that this is what is anticipated and expected," Messina said. "Personnel policy can do that to an extent, but I think there is much more when you're speaking of a code of ethics and we'd like to model behavior before something occurs."

The league recommended the town ensure every town officer has an understanding of the code and establish a system of disciplinary action as a result of Board of Ethics' findings. However, because town officers may include those not employed by the town, such as volunteers, the board of selectman agreed the town will have to determine a policy on ethics enforcement.

The league recommended creation of a companion guide to the ethics code and development of a plan to distribute the code of ethics disclosure form to all town officers.

"How do we ensure that every town officer knows they are subject to the town code of ethics?" said Cheryl Dunson, president of the Connecticut League of Women Voters. "JoAnn Messina and I have served on many volunteer boards, and it wasn't until we undertook the study that we were aware we were town officers."

Though amendments to the ethics code are more difficult than creating ethics policy, the league is also recommending the code be amended to include an expanded gift policy, among other provisions.

Representatives from the Board of Ethics said changes to the code and ethics policy changes should be ready to present to the Board of Selectman and Representative Town Meeting before the end of the year.

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