Personnel administrator Jeannie Horne presented the draft policy to selectmen Monday night. The first paragraph states that “town employees are expected to act honestly, conscientiously, reasonably and in good faith at all times having regard to their responsibilities, the interests of the town and the welfare of its residents.”

The policy will eventually become part of an employee handbook, on which Horne is working.

At the meeting, selectman Chris Donato asked what had prompted the need for the policy.

Selectmen Chairman Betsy Sullivan said the professional conduct policy was needed in town hall to give employees information on their rights and the town’s expectations, but she cited a recent story in the Duxbury Clipper as further impetus for such a policy. Sullivan said she felt the story contained unnecessary personal information about a town employee without that person’s permission. The May 27 story was about letters from two Duxbury police unions that took a vote of no confidence in Town Manager Richard MacDonald. The article listed his actions toward a town employee that prompted a complaint against him with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

“That brought it to a head in my mind,” said Sullivan. “I don’t think it was appropriate and I don’t think it was kind.”

The one-page professional conduct document states that employees must respect the privacy of individuals and not abuse confidential information.

Town Manager Richard MacDonald said the town has needed such a policy for a long time.

“It’s been long overdue,” said MacDonald. “We are so far behind in our personnel policies and procedures. We have to catch up.”

“We have been working to professionalize town hall,” MacDonald added.

“It’s our job as employers to set the expectations,” said Horne.

The policy outlines the town’s expectations of its employees, including that they show up for work, carry out their duties in an efficient and competent manner, and follow instructions and policies. According to the document, the policy’s intent is to ensure that an employee can meet the town’s expectations in performance and behavior and if they can’t, the employee can get the help they need to meet those expectations. Also the policy states that if disciplinary action is needed, it is fair and appropriate.

The policy applies to all paid, appointive town employees, except those under the School Committee’s supervision. Those employees in unions are subject to the policy’s provisions that are not specifically regulated by their union contracts.

Horne called the draft policy “a stepping stone” and said that she was working to produce more human resources information, including the employee handbook.

Selectmen decided to postpone a vote to adopt the professional conduct policy until Selectman Jon Witten could review it.