Salem Planning Board Rules of Procedure
Article 9 - Standards of Conduct
9.1 The primary obligation of Planning Board members is to serve the public interest, and to conduct himself/herself so as to maintain public confidence in the Planning Board and the conduct of its business.
9.2 Members shall not directly or indirectly solicit any gifts or accept or receive any gift (whether in money, services, loans, travel, entertainment, hospitality, premises or in some other form), under circumstances in which it could be reasonably inferred that the gift was intended to influence them in the performance of their duties or was intended as a reward for any recommendation or decision on their part.
9.3 To avoid conflict of interest or even the appearance of impropriety, any member who may receive some private benefit from a public Planning Board decision must not participate in that decision. The private benefit may be direct or indirect; create a material personal gain or provide an advantage to relations, friends, groups or associations that hold a significant share of the official’s loyalty. An official with a conflict of interest must make that interest public, abstain from voting on the matter, and except as specified below, leave the table or podium area when Board members deliberate and vote on a matter. Further, the Board member may not discuss the matter privately with any other Board member voting on the matter or otherwise communicate directly or indirectly with Board members regarding the matter in question so as to attempt to influence the vote on said question.
9.4 In circumstances where the number of Board members who may not participate as a result of the provision of Article 9.3 results in less than a quorum being able to participate in a given question, the abstaining members may be counted as "present" for purposes of determining whether a quorum is present although they are not allowed to participate in any way other than abstaining. A Board member who is participating only for the purpose of being counted for the presence of a quorum shall be entitled to sit at the podium, provided that he/she not participate, comment, or make any indication of his/her position.
9.5 A Board member must not disclose or improperly use confidential information obtained in the course of his duties for financial gains or further a personal interest.
9.6 All Board members share a responsibility to enforce adherence to the standards of conduct herein. If a member believes that one or more members may either by intention or inadvertence be in violation of these standards, s/he shall call that fact to the attention of the Chairman who shall in turn call it to the attention of the member in question. In event of a dispute as to whether a member should or should not participate, the question shall be posed to the Board, as to whether the member in question should or should not participate. Such vote shall be advisory and non-binding and not be requested by other than Board members.
9.7 All discussions between Planning Board members and applicants or their agents regarding matters to be decided by the Board shall take place at public hearings as part of the public record. (Added 8/12/97)
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