Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The following shall be the charter of the town of Nantucket:- `tuc Preamble.
We, the inhabitants of the town of Nantucket, in order to provide more perfectly for a municipal government known as the town of Nantucket, to provide for the common welfare, and to secure for ourselves and for our community all the rights, powers, privileges, duties and obligations which may now or in the future be derived from town government, do hereby establish for ourselves and for our community this instrument as the charter of and for the town of Nantucket. `tuc ARTICLE I. Powers of the Town.
Section 1.1. It is the intent of this charter to confer on the town of Nantucket, first incorporated in sixteen hundred and seventy-one, all powers possible under the Constitution of the commonwealth as fully and completely as though they were expressly enumerated in this charter. The town shall remain subject to the laws of the commonwealth, its rules and regulations and to the by-laws of the town, except to the extent they are inconsistent with the provisions of this charter. The charter shall not be construed as a codification of all such laws, rules, regulations and by-laws but as effecting those particular changes by which the inhabitants of Nantucket may secure a more efficient, responsive and wise government.
Section 1.2. The powers of the town under this charter shall be construed liberally in favor of the town. `tuc ARTICLE II. Legislative Functions.
Section 2.1. The legislative powers of the town shall remain vested in the town meeting open to all voters.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, certain powers of town meeting as to real estate acquisitions shall be vested in the board of selectmen, as specified in section 3.3, subject to the voters' right to petition, as specified in clause (b) of sections 2.1 and 3.3, to place before town meeting any real estate acquisition voted by the board of selectmen under said section 3.3.
The following additional powers may be exercised by town meeting:
(a) to exercise any power which a charter for the county of Nantucket may vest in town meeting; and
(b) to veto any real estate acquisition voted by the board of selectmen pursuant to section 3.3; provided, however, that a petition proposing such veto in the form of a town meeting warrant article is signed by at least ten registered voters and provided that the petition is timely filed with the town clerk. The town clerk shall then present the petition to the board of selectmen within the time permitted for inclusion of the article in the next town meeting warrant. The board of selectmen may proceed with the real estate acquisition unless the acquisition is vetoed by the town meeting.
Section 2.2. The moderator shall be elected for a term of one year and shall have all the powers and duties given to moderators under the Constitution and the laws of the commonwealth, and such additional powers and duties as are authorized by this charter.
Section 2.3. In advance of each town meeting, the town moderator shall by written notice to the town clerk appoint an alternate town moderator who shall, during such town meeting, serve as acting moderator in the event of absence or disability of the moderator.
Section 2.4. The town clerk shall serve as clerk of the town meeting. In advance of each town meeting, the town clerk shall by written notice to the moderator appoint an alternate clerk of the meeting who shall, during such town meeting, serve in the event of absence or disability of the clerk of the meeting. If an alternate clerk of the meeting is not appointed or is unable so to serve, the moderator shall appoint a clerk.
Section 2.5. (a) The board of selectmen shall include all proposed operating expenditures in a single article or in consecutive articles in the warrant and also all proposed capital improvement expenditures in a single article or in consecutive articles.
(b) The board of selectmen shall publish the warrant of each town meeting in a newspaper of general circulation within the town promptly after issuance of the warrant. After such publication of the warrant, the finance committee shall hold a public hearing on each article and vote its recommendations. For articles that do not call for the town to raise and appropriate, transfer or borrow sums of money, the finance committee may choose to make no recommendation.
(c) The board of selectmen shall publish the warrant with the recommendations of the finance committee by mailing a copy of such warrant to the address or postal box of each registered voter at least seven days prior to the town meeting.
Section 2.6. One spokesperson for the town's nonresident property owners shall be allowed to speak at any annual or special town meeting on matters before the meeting but only at such times during a meeting as the moderator may allow and in accordance with the rules of order.
Section 2.7. Except to the extent other procedures have been or are adopted by town meeting or by the moderator in conformity with this charter and the laws of the commonwealth, town meeting shall follow the latest revised edition of Town Meeting Times: A Handbook of Parliamentary Law, by Johnson, Trustman and Wadsworth. `tuc ARTICLE III. Board of Selectmen.
Section 3.1. The board of selectmen shall be composed of five members elected for terms of three years each, so arranged that the terms of as nearly equal number of members as possible expire each year. To qualify for office, each member shall be and remain a resident of the town. Three of the five members shall constitute a quorum. A majority of the quorum shall be sufficient to set the board's meeting agenda and to decide any question, except as may be otherwise provided in this charter.
Section 3.2. Within thirty days following each annual town election, the board of selectmen shall choose one of its duly elected members as chair and another as vice-chair, each to serve until a successor is elected. The vice-chair shall, during any temporary disability or absence of the chair, serve as acting chair. The chair shall:-
(a) execute, and cause the town clerk to affix the town seal to, all contracts, bonds or other instruments requiring the signature and seal of the town and having been duly approved by the board of selectmen;
(b) preside over all meetings of the board of selectmen with the right to vote on all questions, absent conflict of interest, and to propose the agenda prior to each such meeting;
(c) report annually to the people of the town on the work of the previous year; and
(d) serve as representative of the board of selectmen at ceremonial and civic occasions.
Section 3.3. Subject to applicable administrative procedures pursuant to the laws of the commonwealth or town by-law, the board of selectmen may, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, vote the following:
To acquire any real estate, including any partial interest therein, by purchase or acceptance of gift; such acquisition being without the necessity of any vote of town meeting, but subject to the restriction that any acquisition of real estate by eminent domain may only be effected if first authorized by vote of town meeting pursuant to the laws of the commonwealth and subject also to the availability of any necessary funds appropriated for such acquisition.
The board of selectmen shall publish a public notice of such vote in a newspaper having general circulation within the town. Any such acquisition shall be subject to veto by town meeting if a petition as set forth in clause (b) of section 2.1 is filed with the town clerk within thirty days following the date such public notice is published.
Nothing in this section of the charter shall affect the acceptance of gifts pursuant to section fifty-three A of chapter forty-four of the General Laws.
Section 3.4. (a) The board of selectmen may, at a public meeting, exercise the following powers:
(1) to appoint the town administrator for the purposes set forth in Article IV. Such appointment shall be upon appropriate terms and conditions, including provision for annual performance reviews, in conformity with this charter and the General Laws. By a majority vote of the full count of members then in office, the board may remove the town administrator;
(2) to appoint town counsel, and registrars of voters and other election officials, upon the recommendation of the town clerk, also other town officers and employees to the extent so permitted to them by this charter;
(3) to appoint and, for cause, upon written charges and after a public hearing if so requested, to remove members of the following town boards, councils, commissions and committees:
Airport commission, conservation commission, commission on disability, council on aging, council for human services, finance committee, parks and recreation commission, our island home board of directors, personnel board to consist of four or five members, and the zoning board of appeals; and any other committee for which a town by-law makes the board of selectmen the appointing authority; also any advisory committee established by the board of selectmen and any committee acting for both the town and the county.
Cause for removals shall be put forward in good faith, and not arbitrary, irrational, unreasonable or irrelevant to the duties of the office, on grounds of incapacity beyond temporary illness, chronic non-attendance or violation of the oath of office.
Nothing in this clause shall mandate the continued existence of any such board or the specific number of members appointed;
(4) to exercise the power to disapprove of appointments made by the town administrator pursuant to paragraph (b) of section 3.4 or section 4.3 of this charter. All appointments by the town administrator to the position of assistant town administrator, of department head or of any other position pursuant to this charter, are subject to a vote of disapproval by the board of selectmen; provided, however, that such appointments shall take effect unless the board of selectmen votes disapproval within a fifteen day period following the day on which notice of the proposed appointment is filed with the board chair;
(5) to fill by appointment any elective position on a town board, commission or council, vacant by reason of a member's resignation, death or incapacity beyond temporary illness, but only if the laws of the commonwealth allow for appointments in such cases, the appointee to serve, any such laws notwithstanding, only until a successor is elected at the next annual town election; and the successor so elected then to serve for the remainder, if any, of the member's unexpired term; and
(6) to appoint to the planning board three associate members to serve in zoning matters as alternates in lieu of any elected alternate, the terms of appointment being of such length and so arranged that the term of one associate member shall expire each year. Nothing in the charter shall affect the election of the regular planning board members in accordance with the laws of the commonwealth.
(b) Any vacancy occurring in an appointed position in town offices, boards, councils, commissions or committees shall be filled by the board of selectmen, the town administrator or other appointing authority, whichever is empowered to make the initial appointment to the position vacated, for the balance of the unexpired term.
Section 3.5. The board of selectmen shall have the power:-
(a) to act in the capacity of the board of county commissioners;
(b) to establish general town priorities, goals and policies;
(c) to establish an advisory committee to conduct any inquiry or investigation or to make planning, policy or other recommendations; further to establish a three member audit committee whose duties would include appointment of an outside audit firm, review of annual audit results and evaluation of the internal accounting procedures and controls. The audit committee will be composed of three voting members appointed for a one year term. The committee would consist of the chairman of the board of selectmen, the chairman of the finance committee and one appointed member from the board of selectmen;
(d) to adopt rules for the conduct of business and to fix times and places for meetings, to establish all five members as a committee of the whole, and to designate any number of its members as a subcommittee;
(e) to approve or disapprove town contracts, contract amendments, contract terminations and contract enforcement actions proposed by the town administrator;
(f) to identify emergency situations and to declare emergencies;
(g) to hear and decide upon license applications as may be provided by town by-laws or by general or special laws; and
(h) to hear and decide administrative appeals from the historic district commission or from any other town body as may be provided by town by-law or by the laws of the commonwealth. `tuc ARTICLE IV. Town Administration.
Section 4.1. (a) The administration of the town shall be vested in the town administrator who shall, with the assistance of the various town department heads, cause this charter, the town's legislative actions pursuant to Articles II and III, and applicable General Laws to be enforced.
(b) It is the intent of this charter to confer upon the board of selectmen such limited legislative powers and general executive policy setting and investigative powers as are provided in Article III but at the same time, by virtue of this Article IV, to confer upon the town administrator full control over town administration, as defined in paragraph (a) of section 4.4 of this charter, and of the administration of town services provided for in this Article IV. Accordingly, this charter seeks to establish clear lines between Article III powers of the board of selectmen and Article IV administrative functions as follows:-
(1) the board of selectmen are to deal with individual town administration employees only through or jointly with the town administrator responsible for the overall administrative management of the town's affairs as specified in this Article IV; and
(2) all routine contact with town employees concerning the functions of town administration and its provision of services shall be from the board of selectmen through or jointly with the town administrator.
(c) Nothing in the foregoing nor in this charter shall be construed to prohibit informal, nondirective conversations of town selectmen with other town officials, nor the inquiry by the board of selectmen into any act or issue concerning town administration.
Section 4.2. (a) The board of selectmen shall appoint a town administrator for an initial term of two years. Any successive terms shall not exceed three years each. The town administrator so appointed shall, by education, experience and ability, be qualified to perform the duties established for the position. Such person need not be a resident of the town at the time of appointment but shall be a resident during the term of office starting not later than six months following appointment.
(b) The town administrator shall devote full time to the duties of the office.
(c) The town administrator shall be responsible to the board of selectmen for the efficient operation of town administration, for acting in conformity with policies established by the board with respect to budget and other matters, and for the proper implementation of legislation adopted by the town pursuant to Article II. The town administrator shall have all the powers, rights and duties delegated by the board of selectmen or as are commonly associated with the office of chief administrative officer of a local government unit.
(d) In particular, the town administrator:-
(1) shall supervise, direct and be responsible for the efficient administration of all officers, boards, councils, commissions and committees appointed by the town administrator, and all other town functions for which the town administrator is given responsibility by this charter, town by-law, administrative code, or other legislation; and may issue administrative orders;
(2) shall have appointment powers as provided in section 4.3;
(3) shall, with the assistance of the department heads, prepare and submit to the board of selectmen, all annual operating budgets and capital budgets, and any proposal for budget amendment; shall establish the schedules and procedures to be followed by all town departments, boards, councils, commissions and committees in connection therewith and shall direct all phases of the budgetary process throughout each fiscal year;
(4) shall prepare the town meeting warrant for adoption by the board of selectmen pursuant to a schedule set by the board, by administrative code or town by-law.
(5) may be present at all meetings of the board of selectmen and may participate in all deliberations, without the right to vote;
(6) shall, with the assistance of the town department heads, ensure adequate inventory, care, construction and maintenance of all town properties, owned or leased, and foster centralized purchasing including, if so requested, for the school committee;
(7) may require reports from and may examine the records, accounts and operations of any town department, board, council, commission or committee and shall recommend whatever actions or programs are deemed necessary or desirable for the town, the welfare of its residents and of visitors to the Islands;
(8) shall review, analyze and forecast trends of town services and programs of all town departments, boards, councils, commissions and committees and make reports and recommendations thereon to the board of selectmen;
(9) shall negotiate and sign on behalf of the town contracts and contract amendments for the town and initiate contract terminations and enforcement actions, subject in each case to resolution of approval or disapproval of the board of selectmen, and including any town employment, but not union contracts, subject to the availability of funds;
(10) shall have the authority, subject to resolution of approval or disapproval of the board of selectmen, to prosecute, defend and compromise all litigation to which the town is party. In the event that a board, council, commission or committee of the town is a party defendant to litigation and the town a party plaintiff, that board may vote to be represented by special counsel funded from the same appropriation as town counsel would otherwise be;
(11) shall assure that all terms and conditions imposed in favor of the town or its inhabitants in any statute, franchise or contract are faithfully kept and performed;
(12) may order any town administration department head to undertake tasks for any other town administration department, on a temporary basis if deemed necessary for proper and efficient administration;
(13) shall make recommendations to the board of selectmen of actions they might take for the improvement of the town and for the welfare of its residents and island visitors, also for provision of adequate working space and conditions of town administration and other town agencies;
(14) shall approve warrants for payment before such warrants are submitted to the board of selectmen; and
(15) perform any other duties as may be required by this charter, by town by-law or by majority vote of a quorum of the board of selectmen.
Section 4.3. The town administrator:-
(a) shall appoint the heads of all town administration departments other than any elected heads, subject to resolution of disapproval pursuant to clause (4) of paragraph (a) of section 3.4 by the board of selectmen;
(b) shall appoint members of town boards, councils, commissions and committees, but only to the extent that the power of appointment of the board of selectmen under section 3.4 of this charter to make such appointments is delegated by the board of selectmen to the town administrator and then subject to resolution of disapproval pursuant to clause (4) of paragraph (a) of section 3.4 by the board of selectmen;
(c) may, at the administrator's discretion and for cause, remove, suspend or otherwise discipline any appointee of the administrator, subject, however, to any grievance procedure as may be established by town by-law, rule or regulation or any applicable union contract provisions; and
(d) may, if the board of selectmen creates the office of assistant town administrator, appoint and, subject to the limitations set out in clause (c), remove, suspend or otherwise discipline the assistant town administrator. Such assistant town administrator shall serve as acting town administrator during the temporary absence or disability of the town administrator.
Section 4.4. (a) The town administration shall include the building, finance, fire, health, island home, marine and coastal resources, police, public works, and visitors services departments; provided, however, that nothing in this charter mandates the continued existence of any such town administration department or continuance of a department name or function.
(b) The town administration shall not include the airport, the park and recreation, the school and the water departments.
Section 4.5. The heads of town administration departments shall be responsible to the town administrator for the efficient operation of their respective departments and for the proper implementation of the laws and regulations of the commonwealth and of town by-laws applicable to their departmental functions.
Section 4.6. With authorization of the town administrator and subject to availability of budgeted funds, the heads of town administration departments shall appoint and hire the personnel of their respective departments. With authorization of the town administrator, the department heads may remove, suspend or otherwise discipline such personnel, subject, however, to any grievance procedures as may be established by town by-law, rule or regulation or any applicable union contract provisions.
Section 4.7. The town clerk shall be elected and shall have such duties and powers as are provided by General Law, including the power to appoint an assistant town clerk.
Section 4.8. The town administrator shall not exercise any control over the discretionary power vested by the laws of the commonwealth in any town board, council, commission, or committee not within town administration.
Section 4.9. Each town board, council, commission or committee not within the town administration shall have the power to appoint its respective staff personnel, subject to availability of budgeted funds and, except staff of the school committee, subject to prior written notification to the town administrator. Such staff personnel shall be responsive to the town administrator only in matters of the town's general administrative procedures but not as to substantive decisions entrusted to such board, council, commission or committee. With prior written notification to the town administrator, such boards may remove, suspend or otherwise discipline their staff personnel, subject, however, to any grievance procedures as may be established by town by-law, rule or regulation or any applicable union contract provisions. `tuc ARTICLE V. Elections, Dismissals and Recalls.
Section 5.1. The regular elections to any town office shall be by official ballot for the annual town election. Except as may be provided generally for town governments by the General Laws of the commonwealth or as provided for recalls in section 5.4, nothing in this charter shall grant any power to remove or dismiss any elected town official.
Section 5.2. No selectman shall individually or collectively seek to influence the town administration to dismiss any person from or to appoint or to promote any person to any position in the town administration. However, the board of selectmen may, pursuant to clause (4) of paragraph (a) of section 3.4, adopt a resolution of disapproval as to appointments which the town administrator is empowered to make in accordance with paragraph (b) of said section 3.4 or section 4.3 of this charter.
Section 5.3. The town shall indemnify and hold harmless all town officers pursuant to section thirteen of chapter two hundred and fifty-eight of the General Laws.
Section 5.4. (a) Any holder of elective town office may be recalled by the voters of the town. Any two hundred registered voters may file with the town clerk an affidavit identifying the name of the officer sought to be recalled and stating in full the specific grounds for the recall. The affidavit shall be signed by each voter under pains and penalty of perjury and shall include the street address of each voter.
(b) Within ten days, the town clerk shall certify the signatures and, if sufficient, shall deliver upon request to any of the certified voters a blank recall petition form naming such voter. Each such petition form shall carry the clerk's signature and seal and date of the certification, shall be addressed to the board of selectmen, shall identify the officer's name and the stated grounds for recall, and shall demand election of a successor to the office.
(c) If, within twenty-one days after the certification date, such recall petition forms signed by a least twenty percent of the registered voters with town residence address shown are returned to the town clerk, the clerk shall, within fourteen days, certify the signatures of registered voters, to determine sufficiency of the petition.
(d) If sufficient, the town clerk shall thereupon submit the petition with date of its certification to the board of selectmen which shall forthwith give written notice thereof to the officer sought to be recalled. If the officer does not resign within seven days, the board of selectmen shall order a recall election to be held concurrently with the next annual election for town officers not less than seventy-five days after such certification date. The recall election, once ordered, shall proceed, even if the office becomes vacant, in the same manner as for an annual town election.
(e) The officer sought to be removed may seek renomination, may serve until expiration of the current term of office unless and until a successor is sooner elected, and may not be put twice to the recall process in the same term.
(f) Recall election ballots shall first submit the question:
For the recall of (name of officer)
Against the recall of (name of officer)
and then the heading "Candidates" followed by a listing of the names of candidates nominated for the office. Only if the majority of votes counted upon the question of recall is in the affirmative shall the votes upon the candidates be effective to elect the one receiving the highest number. `tuc ARTICLE VI. General Provisions.
Section 6.1. The provisions of this charter shall govern, notwithstanding any general or special law of the commonwealth to the contrary. Where not contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this charter, the town shall remain subject to the laws of the commonwealth.
Section 6.2. Unless expressly altered or superseded by the provisions of this charter, the code of the town of Nantucket shall remain in force and effect notwithstanding ratification of this charter unless and until amended, added to or repealed in accordance with this charter and the laws of the commonwealth.
Section 6.3. The town clerk shall have custody of the original of this charter and any amendments thereto.
Section 6.4. (a) To the extent any specific provision of this charter shall conflict with any provision expressed in general terms, the specific provision shall prevail. The provisions are severable, the remaining provisions being unaffected if a charter provision is held to be invalid.
(b) To facilitate bringing town governmental organization and operations into conformity with this charter, the members of the town and county charter commission elected April fourth, nineteen hundred and ninety-five shall serve ex officio as members of a committee on charter conformance, but only during the continuance of the charter commission and, in any event, not later than April fourth, two thousand. Such committee shall serve in an advisory capacity to the board of selectmen, the town administrator and to such boards, councils, commissions and committees as may request advice.
Section 6.5. (a) This charter may be replaced, revised or amended in accordance with the procedure set forth in either chapter forty-three B of the General Laws or in chapter three hundred and twenty-eight of the acts of nineteen hundred and ninety-two.
(b) As permitted by Section 4 of Article II of the Articles of Amendment of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, this charter may also be amended as follows:
The town meeting may, by a two-thirds vote, propose amendments of this charter. All proposed charter amendments so voted shall be published and submitted for approval at the next annual town election in the same manner as provided for the adoption or revision of a charter upon the recommendation of a charter commission. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any change in the charter relating in any way to the composition, mode of election or appointment, or terms of office of the town meeting or the board of selectmen or a town manager shall be made only by the procedure of charter revision set forth in Section 3 of Article II of the Articles of Amendment of the Constitution of the Commonwealth.
Section 6.6. This charter shall take effect on July first next following ratification by the voters of the town. All town officers, boards, councils, commissions and committees shall continue to perform their duties until reappointed or reelected or until successors to their respective positions are fully appointed or elected or until their duties have been transferred and assumed by another.
Any person holding a town office or employment under the town shall continue to retain such office or such employment and shall continue to perform the duties of the office or of the employment until such time as provisions shall have been made in accordance with this charter for the performance of such duties by another person or agency. No person in the permanent, full time service or employment of the town shall forfeit pay grade or time in service by reason solely of the adoption of this charter. All such persons, unless removed in accordance with this charter, shall be retained in an employment capacity as similar to their former employment capacity as is feasible.
SECTION 2. The town and county charter commission elected April fourth, nineteen hundred and ninety-five pursuant to chapter three hundred and twenty-eight of the acts of nineteen hundred and ninety-two shall continue to exist for thirty days after the effective date of this act and any act that it may recommend in furtherance of a merger of the town and county of Nantucket; provided, however, that it shall submit a final report of its recommendations as to such a merger by December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and ninety-eight; and provided, further, that in no event shall such commission continue beyond April fourth, two thousand.
SECTION 3. This act shall be submitted for acceptance to the qualified voters of the town of Nantucket at the next annual town election to be held at least two months after the effective date of this act in the form of the following question which shall be placed on the official ballot.
"Shall an act passed by the general court in the year nineteen hundred and ninety-six, entitled 'An Act providing for a charter for the town of Nantucket' be accepted "
A summary of the charter to be prepared by the town and county charter commission shall accompany the ballot question described herein.
If a majority of the votes cast in answer to such question is in the affirmative, this act shall take full effect, but not otherwise.