East Longmeadow Town Council during their November 9th meeting via zoom.

Last night the East Longmeadow town council discussed adopting a code of ethics for all elected officials.

The proposal was made in response to the resignation of town manager Mary McNally. In her resignation letter, McNally stated that her resignation was prompted by the behavior of an unnamed councilor.

(For more on McNally’s resignation see my post East Longmeadow Town Manager Resigns in Angry Letter to Councilors.)

The elephant in the room, the “particular person” that no councilor is bold enough to call by name is Thomas O’Connor. Mr. O’Connor did not attend the meeting.

The discussion started with council president Michael Kane acknowledging that “Mary’s leaving is for one reason and one reason only.” Mary echoed his assertion by stating that her resignation was due to

my dissatisfaction with a particular behavior which I found very untenable after 26 months.

Kane lamented that “disciplinary action is very difficult.” The town’s charter leaves only two options for dealing with a troublesome elected official. The official could willingly resign or he or she could be recalled by the voters.

(It seems like the second option, voter recall, is more than adequate to deal with the situation at hand. If Mr. O’Connor is really as odious as the councilors portray him, then collecting the signatures necessary to recall him should be possible.)

The substance of the proposed ethics code was not discussed. But it seems likely that any code put forward by the councilors would give them additional powers that are not contained in the town’s charter or bylaws.

The councilors also discussed that a Freedom of Information Request has been filed by a resident, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 66, seeking

All emails and text messages that possess certain words: O’Connor, resignation, Tom, or behavior.

Additionally, an open meeting law complaint was filed with the attorney general’s office “logged by Tom O’Connor.” No further details were given about the complaint.