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Bruce is new Finance Committee chairman

August 7, 2014

The Walpole Finance Committee reorganized at its first meeting of the fiscal year on Monday, electing Daniel Bruce as chairman and Joe McDermott vice-chair.

The chairmanship had previously been held, since 2010, by Larry Pitman, who stepped down at the end of his term on July 1. Pitman was replaced by former RTM Mark Trudell of Precinct 4.

Bruce’s wife is a teacher in the Walpole school system, and he has faced some questions in the past from some political observers about whether he should be allowed to vote on the school budget as a member of Fin. Com. He told committee members on Monday that the State Ethics Commission informed him that he could vote on school line items, as long as he does not directly vote on his wife’s salary.

The Finance Committee votes only on the school department’s total budget appropriation before each Spring Town Meeting, and is not allowed per state law to vote on individual line items, such as salaries, in the school department’s total bottom line.

The Ethics Commission advises Finance Committee members to “abstain from any action on budget items which include the salary of an immediate family member.” The law does not specifically prohibit members from acting on those particular line items, however, and committee members may still vote on the budget as a whole even if it ultimately includes their family member’s compensation.

Bruce also serves as an RTM from Precinct 6.

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