You may recall Bill Felkner, OSPRI president, was removed from his seat on the Chariho School Committee by the Supreme Court after he was elected to the Hopkinton Town Council citing the Doctrine of Incompatibility.
The ProJo reports that this attitude might be catching on.
Groups such as Operation Clean Government and Common Cause Rhode Island argue that the rules should be tightened, because how public officials act on union matters in their communities could affect their own unions. Labor contracts in one town are often cited in negotiations in another town. And local unions are often affiliated with the same statewide union.
Defenders of the status quo argue that the current ethics rules are sufficient. The Ethics Commission has held repeatedly that there is no financial or business relationship between a public official who belongs to a union in another town and a union negotiator.
Eventually they will come to the realization that it’s not a matter of ‘having always been done’ nor an issue of specific examples of conflict. It’s “conflict” in general and similar conflicts are present with every lawyer who has clients that deal with the state while they are state legislators. Isn’t that the same thing as representing two sides of a contract at the same time (which is what Felkner got removed for)?