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Campaign Etiquette

The past couple of years have left me wondering what has become of Campaign Etiquette in our little Town of Wenham.

On Tuesday night, I had to attend the Selectmen's meeting to point out to the Chairman of the BOS (who is also on the board of a non profit land trust, and handles their IRS filings), and the incumbent running for re-election, that any campaign endorsement by a non profit is strictly prohibited by the IRS, so why were campaign signs for the incumbent on the land trust property?  Although the Chair apologized for the error - it is worrisome that individuals in their positions - on the BOS and the trust itself - were "unaware" of the clearly worded and easily accessible, published IRS regulation.

Similarly, I also had to point out that recent endorsements in the newspapers, and the incumbent's campaign literature, by "appointed" town positions, as well as photos taken in town hall, are all clearly prohibited by the published MA State Ethics Political Activity Guidelines.

Similarly, last year we witnessed the prior Chair of the BOS using the Town Seal on campaign literature (as well as a couple of other Ethics Guidelines missteps) - all again clearly outlined as DONT's in the State's Guidelines.

Since this information was easy for me to find, it makes it hard for me to understand how our elected officials can be unaware of "the rules" - and as such I asked that our elected officials agree to simply play by the rules.

I encourage all Wenham residents to be engaged in your Town's governance - as it is one of the few places left where you have a direct influence in our government and its activities.  As such, I ask that you all ensure that our elected officials listen to what we ask them to do for us, and that they play by the rules, as that is what we elected them to do on our behalf in the first place.

Please come to Town Meeting on April 5th to have your voices be heard, and come out to Vote on April 10th, to make sure our elected officials understand what we expect of them.

Dave Reid
Michelle Bailey April 05, 2014 at 06:59 AM
Use common sense: * Leave your governmental "volunteer" job out of it. * Do not use your position title * Do not use town property or equipment to promote a candidate. * Always ask permission of the land owner before placing a sign * Speak kindly of your neighbors even if you disagree.

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