Open Meeting Law & Ethics Training

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Open Meeting Law

Download or View the 2017 Open Meeting Law Guide


Ethics Training

Ethics Mandatory Training Requirements, Summaries and Online Training

Chapter 28 of the Acts of 2009, the ethics reform law, imposes mandatory education and training requirements on public employers and public employees (including anyone who serves on a Board or Committee). The law authorizes the Commission to establish procedures to implement and ensure compliance with these requirements, and these Implementation Procedures are issued pursuant to that authority. The requirements can be summarized as follows: Each year, every state, county, and municipal employee must be given a summary of the conflict of interest law prepared by the Ethics Commission and, every two years, they must complete an online training program prepared by the Commission. All records of compliance with these requirements must be retained for 6 years. These requirements apply to all public employees, as defined by the conflict of interest law summarized on the preceding pages. Former public employees are not subject to these requirements. For more information on Ethics you may visit Commission’s website,www.mass.gov/ethics.

View a summary of the conflict of interest law for muncipal employees on the Mass.gov site here.

MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS UNDER ETHICS REFORM BILL

Compliance Deadlines for summaries:

Every public employee must be provided with a summary of the law within 30 days of becoming such an employee, and annually thereafter. Employers must distribute the summaries to all current employees each year by the end of December.

Each employee must provide to his or her employer, as defined herein, an acknowledgment of receipt within ten (10) business days of receipt of the summary.

Compliance deadlines for Online Training Program:

Employees need to complete the State Ethics Commission’s new conflict of interest law online training program within thirty days of employment and then again every two years.

There are two online training programs: one for municipal employees to complete; and a separate program for state and county employees to complete. You will need to click the link for the municipal employee program at: http://www.muniprog.eth.state.ma.us/

GO TO ONLINE ETHICS TRAINING

The following are instructions and tips to access and complete the training.

The training programs can be completed on any work, home or publicly available computer with internet access.

If you access the online program using the above link or through the Ethics Commission’s website, you will have to print out a completion certificate as evidence that you have complied with the online training requirement and return it to the Town Clerks office.

At present there may be some issues with printing and saving the certificate. Please see below:

  1. Print Completion Certificate Issue. Some employees report that when they attempt to print their completion certificate, the certificate does not display properly. This is due to pop-up blockers not being disabled on the employee’s computer. Pop-up Blockers have to be disabled because the program uses pop-up windows to display information. By holding the “Ctrl” key on the computer keyboard when clicking the “View Certificate” button on the program, the completion certificate should display and print properly. The “Ctrl” key temporarily disables any pop-up blocker. In the alternative, to verify that pop-up blockers are disabled on the computer, the employee can follow the instructions in the screen print below by clicking “Tools” in the browser menu selection, then hovering a mouse over the pop-up blocker right arrow. If “Turn off Pop-up Blocker” selection is available, then the Internet Explorer pop-up blocker is enabled and needs to be turned off.
  2. Save Completion Certificate Electronically Issue The “Save Certificate Information” button is not functioning as designed when the user is given the option of printing a completion certificate or saving the certificate electronically to a desktop or network. Do not use the “Save Certificate Information” button on the lower left of the certificate. It will not preserve the certificate. We are working with the program developer to find a solution. Until then, to save a certificate electronically, first convert it to a .pdf and then save it. You can then send it as an email attachment. See the screen print below. You can convert the certificate to a .pdf by clicking “File”, then “Print”, and then select Adobe PDF printer, or if you have the ability to convert any document to .pdf, you can select the “Convert” button. You will then be prompted to save the document.
  3. Adobe Flash Player Issue Employees have reported that they are able to proceed through the program until they arrive at the final course assessment page. The page featuring the instructions and links to complete the final course assessment questions does not display. This is due to Adobe Flash Player not being downloaded on the employee’s computer. The programs are designed to work with Adobe Flash Player as the media player. To download Adobe Flash Player, click the following link: Adobe - Install Adobe Flash Player. Once the flash player has been installed, employees have reported that the Course Assessment pages download properly and they are able to complete the assessment questions.

The programs were designed to work with the Internet Explorer web browser. While the programs will work with other browsers, such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome, some features may not work or display correctly.

The programs are optimized to run on Internet Explorer at 100% view. To adjust your view settings, go to the toolbar at the upper left-hand side of the browser page, select “View” and then select “Zoom” from the drop-down menu and select 100%.

Pop-up blockers should be disabled. Follow the instructions at the beginning of the program to disable pop-up blockers on your computer.

The programs include audio and video components. If headphones are available to you, you may wish to wear them while completing the training to minimize office noise and distraction.

The “Options” and “Help” menus appear on every page throughout the training and provide access to helpful resources, such as accessibility information, the programs’ scripts and a glossary of terms. They are located near the top right of the online training program screen.

If the video does not play on your computer, please verify that you have the Adobe Flash Player plug-in (version 10 or higher) downloaded to your computer. Please refer to the System Requirements document by clicking the “Help” menu tab, then clicking “System Requirements” located near the top right of the online training program screen.

The programs should take about an hour to complete. If at any time during the program your browser has trouble loading a page, use your refresh button. If you have to restart the program, use the table of contents on the left-hand column of the page and click on the “Lesson” to return to your place.

If you have difficulty following the audio portions of the program, you can click the “Script” menu tab, located next to the “Contents” menu tab, on the left column of the program screen. In addition, you may view and print the entire course script by clicking the “Options” menu tab and then clicking “View Script.”

At the end of each training program, there are two 10-question course assessments. You should choose the one appropriate course assessment depending on whether you are an:

Choose one

  • Elected Municipal Official/Board
  • Commission member, or Appointed Municipal Employee

After you complete the appropriate course assessment, follow the prompts on the screen for instructions on printing your completion certificate or otherwise notifying your employer that you completed the program. Be sure to submit the completion certificate to your employer, and keep a copy for your records.

The training programs can be completed on any work, home or publicly available computer with internet access.

Please retain a copy of the completion certificate for your records.

Remember that there are two online training programs: one for municipal employees to complete; and a separate program for state and county employees to complete. You will need to click the link for the municipal employee program at: http://www.muniprog.eth.state.ma.us/

GO TO ONLINE ETHICS TRAINING