There is nothing easy about working with the government in Massachusetts. Whether you are a company contracting with government, a volunteer board member of a public board, or a government employee, there are laws and regulations that you need to be aware of in order to stay out of trouble. With almost 15 years working in the public sector, EmCo has the experience to advise you on navigating the Massachusetts Conflict of Interest Law (the “Ethics Law”) and the State Open Meeting Law. These statutes are complex, carry significant penalties if violated, and require a solid knowledge of their operation.
Companies Doing Business With The Government. When you contract with the public sector in Massachusetts, you must constantly consider whether your other personal and business relationships put you in danger of violating the ethics laws. These laws are often not intuitive and require a solid review of your facts, the law, and the regulations and decisions issued by the Ethics Commission. At times, a simple written disclosure can resolve an issue. More complicated matters may require interfacing with the Ethics Commission to obtain an opinion. If the Commission brings charges against you, you definitely want experienced representation to defend and negotiate on your behalf.
Volunteer Board Members For Town Government and State Agencies. If you are a volunteer board member for town government or for a state agency, you are also significantly restricted by state ethics laws in your ability to have any business or personal dealings with government in Massachusetts. There are times when you must disclose certain facts and relationships to comply with the Ethics law. At other times, you should contact the Ethics Commission for advice. EmCo can help with these negotiations.
In addition, the State Open Meeting Law prohibits significant contact between a quorum of board members outside of a public meeting. Meeting outside of a noticed public meeting, even telephone calls or sending e-mails to other board members, may put you in violation of the law and invalidate board action.
If you are a board member on a government board, you need to be advised on these rules and regulations in order to make sure your public service doesn’t become a burden, or worse, on the rest of your professional life.
Government Employees. As a government employee, you have to be aware of the state ethics laws that restrict the people you do business with outside of work and limit actions you can take at work if dealing with individuals and companies with whom you have some relationship. In addition, the ethics laws strictly define and limit what gifts or favors you can accept from people who have business with the government. The laws even limit the work you can do after you leave public service. Should you be investigated by the Ethics Commission or have charges brought against you, EmCo can negotiate with the Ethics Commission on your behalf and represent you should there be an investigation and public hearing.