Skip to Content
The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE REMOVAL OF CERTAIN ELECTED FINANCIAL OFFICIALS FOR THE TOWN OF SHERBORN.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1.  (a) For the purposes of this act, the following terms shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

“Financial official”, an elected treasurer, collector or member of the board of assessors of the town of Sherborn. 

“Reporting individual”, a person whose relationship conducting town business may legitimately make that individual aware of irregularities, including, but not limited to, members of the finance departments, other financial officials, auditors, banks, town officials and members of town committees. 

“Review committee”, a committee convened pursuant to subsection (c) consisting of the chair of the select board of the town of Sherborn; and the chair of the personnel committee of the town of Sherborn; the chair of the advisory committee of the town of Sherborn; and the chair of the board of assessors of the town of Sherborn, provided, that the chair of the board of assessors is not the subject of the complaint; an elected financial official appointed by the moderator of the town of Sherborn, provided, that the elected financial official is not the subject of the complaint; and the moderator of the town of Sherborn; provided, that all members shall be voting members; and provided further, that if the chair of the board of assessors of the town of Sherborn is the subject of the complaint, the moderator shall appoint another member of the board of assessors.

(b)  If, in the course of performing the duties required by the office and the laws that govern the office, a financial official: (i) demonstrates a pattern of errors, omissions, negligence or dishonesty; or (ii) may have committed an act so egregious that the act may put the financial well-being of the town at great risk, then the financial official may be removed from office in accordance with the procedures set forth in this act.

(c)  The town administrator of the town of Sherborn shall receive and document any written and signed reports of alleged transgressions submitted by a reporting individual.  If the town administrator determines that the severity, frequency or urgency of complaints satisfy clause (i) or (ii) of subsection (b), the town administrator shall inform the moderator of the town of Sherborn, who shall convene and preside over a meeting of the review committee.

Not less than 4 members of the review committee shall be present to constitute a meeting. Counsel for the town shall be present to advise the review committee.  Any eligible members of the review committee who are unable to attend shall so state in writing, to be entered into the record at the meeting.  The meeting shall be held in accordance with the procedures set forth in clause (1) of subsection (a) of section 21 of chapter 30A of the General Laws. The financial official shall receive written notice of the review committee meeting not less than 48 hours before the meeting, as provided in said clause (1) of said subsection (a) of said section 21 of said chapter 30A.  The written notice shall include a description of relevant information relating to the issues to be addressed at the review committee meeting, an invitation to attend and submit testimony in defense of the actions in question and a statement of the right to bring legal counsel, all in accordance with said clause (1) of said subsection (a) of said section 21 of said chapter 30A. The notice shall be prepared by the town administrator or a designee.

(d)  The review committee shall review the alleged complaints to determine if the complaints constitute cause for removal from office pursuant to this act. The town administrator shall present all the facts, including any testimony, before the review committee, but shall not participate in the vote.

The review committee meeting shall stay in session, or be continued if necessary, until all relevant information is heard and the financial official has had the time necessary to present the defense and rebut the charges.  After all evidence has been received, the review committee shall vote to excuse, censure or remove the financial official.  A vote to remove shall be for malfeasance or nonfeasance in office. The review committee shall regard this process very seriously, with the advice of town counsel.

If the review committee votes to remove the financial official, the financial official shall be given the choice to resign and, if the financial official so chooses, shall be allowed to proffer a letter of resignation, in a form approved by the town, to sign and be witnessed by the town moderator.  If the financial official does not resign, the financial official shall be given a letter, prepared before the end of the meeting and signed at the meeting by each of the voting review committee members, stating the result of the vote and that there will be no unsupervised access to town funds or records by the financial official who has been removed.  All keys shall be collected from the financial official who has been removed and the financial official who has been removed shall have all computer access revoked.  A summary of the meeting with the resulting vote shall be reviewed before the meeting adjourns and shall become a public record immediately. The vacated position shall be filled in accordance with the General Laws.

SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, January 9, 2019.