Councilor Belanger NOT in Conflict of Interest

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Last June I posted a Column titled: Is there a Conflict of Interest? Look at the FACTS!

Councilor Belanger owns Majors Pub Wicked Irish Pub a downtown Lowell Business that falls under the License Commission supervision and I asked if it was a conflict of interest or even legal for him to vote on members serving on that Board.

Communication-Reappoint John Descoteaux to License Commission In City Council, approved by Roll Call vote.

Communication-Appoint Terrence McCarthy to License Commission In City Council, approved by Roll Call vote.

Communication-Appoint Kristen Hogan to License Commission In City Council, approved by Roll Call vote

City Council Tuesday June 24th: Appoint- Nancy McGovern to the License Commission. Ratified by council unanimously.

I questioned this action by the Councilor after reading the State Ethic Commission website, which notes:

State Ethics Commission
City councillors are municipal employees within the meaning of the conflict of interest law and, therefore, are subject to its provisions. G.L. c. 268A, s.1(g). The conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee, such as a city councillor, from participating in a particular matter in which the employee, or a member of his or her immediate family [1] has a financial interest. G.L. c. 268A, s.19(a).

I published that post the day after the SUN Column Blog ran the post questioning about his establishment being the go-to place for the Great Race. I had also questioned the appropriateness of that.

I noted in my post that day – I remember City Councilor Franky Decouteaux not voting on issues that could directly affect her businesses when she served. We have seen in the past few weeks, Councilor Jim Milinazzo, Bill Martin, Bill Samaras and Ed Kennedy all recuse themselves or vote present during the budget meeting when it appeared they were in potential conflict of interest so that no one (re: Lowell Sun and others) could accuse them of violating the ethics law.

I stated then it was up to someone to ask the Ethics Commission if it was allowed and I have been in contact with someone who did that. I’ve alluded to this off and on throughout the past few month.

Now 7 months after the original question was asked, I’ve been told / shown that the Ethics Commission has ruled that they see no need to take any action.

It appears to me that the answer to my question is NO he is not in conflict and I apparently was wrong to think there was (at least according to the Ethics Commission). Since they have chosen to take no action, it must be allowable.

Since I asked the question, I felt it only right to provide the answer.

There is no conflict at least according to the Ethics Commission and Councilor Belanger has done nothing wrong or in ethical conflict.

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