Ethics / Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest & Disclosure

The mission of the State Ethics Commission is to foster integrity in public service in state, county, and local government, to promote the public's trust and confidence in that service, and to prevent conflicts between private interests and public duties.

The conflict of interest law applies to state, county, municipal employees, and committee members. In addition, if you provide services to the state or to a county or municipal government, you may be subject to the conflict of interest law. The conflict of interest law addresses circumstances where public employees' private business, family, or other interests conflict with their public responsibilities. The financial disclosure law requires elected state and county officials and state and county employees in "major policy-making positions" to annually disclose their private financial interests on forms submitted to the Commission.

Mandatory Online State Ethics Test

Every two years, all current municipal employees and committee members must complete online training. New public employees and committee members must complete this training within 30 days of beginning public service, and every two years thereafter. Every employee and committee member is also required to acknowledge receipt of the summary of the Conflict of Interest Law annually. Both of these requirements are provided for by using the State Ethics Commission online portal. Requirements are tracked for any employee or committee member automatically upon completion of each test or acknowledgment, it is no longer required to print and turn in certificates to the Town Clerk's office if you use the online portal below.

Take the Mandatory Online State Ethics Test

If it is the first time you are using the online portal, please set up your profile using the steps below, or view detailed instructions (PDF) and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the online test.

  1. Go to the Mass Ethics Training website
  2. Click on the "First Time Logging In"
  3. Type in your "email address", "First Name", "Last Name" and under "Select Organization", choose "Dennis".
  4. You will receive an email to set up your password, log in, and allow you to take your test.
  5. Once you have completed the Training and Acknowledgment Receipt, you are all set for the next 2 years.
  6. Conflict of Interest Online Training Exemptions (PDF).

The State Ethics Commission Website has information regarding Laws, Regulations, and Forms.

There are Educational and Training Resources available for Municipal Employees, Committee Members, and Volunteers. Advisory Opinions, Request Advice, and Rulings are also on their website.

Disclosure Forms

If you feel that you may have a conflict of interest while serving on a Town committee you may wish to file a disclosure form. Reasons to file one include, you have a personal or financial interest which somehow may relate to your job, your family, or committee. There are several forms available depending on what your situation requires. If you are not sure you need to file one or are unsure as to what form to use contact the State Ethics Commission at 617-371-9500 directly so they can advise you.

View the Disclosure Forms

Filing a Complaint

If you believe that a state, county, or municipal employee has violated the conflict of interest or financial disclosure law, you can file a complaint with the Commission's Enforcement Division.

Ethics Helpful Links:

Open Meeting Law, Public Meetings, and Public Records of Boards & Committees

The Open Meeting Law requires that most meetings of governmental bodies to be held in public. There are some exceptions, which are designed to ensure that, public officials are not "unduly hampered" by having every discussion among public officials open to the public.

View the Massachusetts Office of Open Government

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