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State Ethics Complaint Forces School Committee Resignation

School Committee member Emily Barron has resigned from her position, effective today, October 27, 2022. This had been her first elected three-year term, set to expire in June 2023. The Town Clerk’s office confirmed receiving Barron’s letter of resignation late this morning. Member resignations are official after filing with the Town Clerk’s office and the School Committee. 


Barron is the subject of a State Ethics Committee complaint for violating the Divided Loyalties part of state law, as reported in an earlier Marblehead Beacon article. The complaint states that Barron acted as an agent for a client when she presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals on August 30, 2022. State Ethics law prohibits municipal employees, which School Committee members are considered to be, from acting as agents before any boards or committees in the town. (They are permitted, however, to appear in their personal capacity for their own matters.)  


The remedy for this barrier is to request from the Select Board to be approved as a “special municipal employee.” The law states, “A board member whose position has not been designated ‘special’ may not appear before any boards in the same municipality in which he serves.”


Efforts to contact Select Board Chair Moses Grader to confirm if this was considered for a Select Board agenda item had not been returned at the time of publication. This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 


Editor’s Note: Jennifer Schaeffner, a founding member and reporter for Marblehead Beacon, served as a member of the Marblehead School Committee from 2016 to 2020. In one of her election runs Emily Barron was her opponent.