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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A CHARTER FOR THE TOWN OF PLAINVILLE.

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.  The following shall be the charter for the town of Plainville:

ARTICLE 1

INCORPORATION, POWERS

Section 1-1  INCORPORATION

The inhabitants of the town of Plainville within the corporate limits as established by law shall continue to be a body corporate and politic under the name “Town of Plainville”.

Section 1-2  SHORT TITLE

This instrument shall be known and may be cited as the Plainville Charter.

Section 1-3  POWERS OF THE TOWN

Subject only to express limitation on the exercise of any power or function by a municipality in the constitution or laws of the commonwealth, it is the intent and purpose of the voters of the town of Plainville to secure through adoption of this charter all powers it is possible to secure for a municipal government under the constitution and the laws of the commonwealth.

Section 1-4  DIVISION OF POWERS

The administration of all of the fiscal, prudential and municipal affairs of the town shall be vested in an executive branch headed by the select board. The legislative powers of the town shall be vested in a town meeting open to all voters.

Section 1-5  CONSTRUCTION

The powers of the town of Plainville under this charter are to be construed liberally in its favor and the specific mention of any particular power is not intended to limit in any way the general powers of the town of Plainville as stated in section 1-3.

Section 1-6  INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS

Subject to the constitution and statutes of the commonwealth, the town of Plainville may exercise any of its powers or perform any of its functions and may participate in the financing thereof, jointly or in cooperation by contract or otherwise, with any state, or civil division or agency thereof, or the federal government, or any agency thereof.

Section 1-7  PRECEDENCE OF CHARTER PROVISIONS

To the extent any existing by-law, vote, rule or regulation of or pertaining to the town of Plainville contravene or otherwise conflict with this charter, this charter shall take precedence.

Section 1-8  DEFINITIONS

As used in this charter, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Charter”, the charter of the town of Plainville as it may from time to time be amended.

“Days”,      working days or business days, not including Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays, if the time set is less than 7 days; provided, however, that if the time set is not less than 7 days, every calendar day shall be counted, unless otherwise specified as “working days” or “business days”, in which case Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays shall not be counted.

“Emergency”, a sudden, unexpected, unforeseen happening, occurrence, event or condition that necessitates immediate action.

“general laws”, laws that apply to all cities and towns, to all towns or to a class of municipalities of which the town of Plainville is a member.

“General Laws”, the General Laws of the commonwealth.

“Majority vote”, unless otherwise required by law or this charter, a majority of those members of a multiple-member body present and voting; provided, however, that a quorum is present; and provided further that those abstaining or voting “present” shall not be counted as voting, although they shall be counted for purposes of determining a quorum.

“Minutes”, the written report of a meeting created by a public body required by sections 18 to 25, inclusive, of chapter 30A of the General Laws.

“Multiple-Member Body”, any town body consisting of 2 or more persons whether styled as a board, commission, committee, sub-committee or otherwise and whether appointed, elected or otherwise constituted.

“Quorum”, unless otherwise addressed by general or special law or regulation, a majority of the full compliment of members of a multiple-member body.

“Town agency”, any board, commission, committee, department, division or office of town government.

“Town meeting”, the open town meeting established in article 2, whether annual or special.

“Town bulletin boards”, the posting location for notices under sections 18 to 25, inclusive, of chapter 30A of the General Laws and any other location that may be authorized by by-law or vote of the select board. 

“Town officer” or “Town official”, when used without further qualification or description, a person having charge of an office or department of the town who in the exercise of the powers or duties of that position exercises some portion of the sovereign power of the town.

“Warrant”, the notice provided to voters in association with a town meeting or town election as required by section 10 of chapter 39 of the General Laws.  

“Voters”, registered voters of the town of Plainville.

ARTICLE 2

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

Section 2-1  TOWN MEETING

The legislative powers of the town shall be vested in a town meeting open to all voters of the town.

Section 2-2  PRESIDING OFFICER

The town moderator, elected as provided in section 3-6, shall preside at all sessions of the town meeting.  At town meetings, the town moderator shall regulate the proceedings, decide all questions of order, make public declaration of all votes and exercise such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by general law, charter, by-law or vote of town meeting. 

Section 2-3  FINANCE COMMITTEE

There shall be a finance committee appointed by the select board of such number of members and for such term of years in the manner set forth in the town by-laws.  No member of the finance committee shall hold a town office or be employed for compensation by the town.

The finance committee shall report, in writing, its recommendations regarding all warrant articles relative to expenditure of funds together with a statement of the reasons for each such recommendation.

Section 2-4  TIME OF MEETING

The annual town meeting shall be held in the last quarter of the fiscal year on the date established by by-law.

Section 2-5  SPECIAL MEETINGS

Special town meetings may be held at the call of the select board at its discretion. Special town meetings shall also be held on the petition of 200 voters, in the manner provided by general law.

Section 2-6  TOWN MEETING WARRANTS

(a)  Warrants - Every town meeting shall be called by a warrant issued by the select board, which shall state the time, date and place at which the meeting is to convene and, by separate articles, the subject matter to be acted upon.

(b)  Initiation of warrant articles – The select board shall receive at any time all requests for submission to town meeting of an article. The board shall include all articles that are filed by any 10 voters for an annual town meeting and any 100 voters for a special town meeting.  The select board may establish a deadline by which petitioned articles shall be submitted in order to appear on an annual or special town meeting warrant.

(c)  Referral of warrant – Upon execution of any town meeting warrant, the select board shall immediately cause a copy of the warrant to be forwarded to the finance committee, town moderator and town clerk. A copy shall also be posted at the location utilized for notices posted under sections 18 to 25, inclusive, of chapter 30A of the General Laws.

Section 2-7  RULES OF PROCEDURE

The town meeting may, by by-law, adopt rules to govern the conduct of all town meetings.  Town meeting procedures not otherwise prescribed by by-law shall be governed by the latest published edition of “Town Meeting Time: A Handbook of Parliamentary Law, Johnson, Trustman and Wadsworth, Massachusetts Moderators Association”, as applicable.

ARTICLE 3

ELECTED OFFICERS

Section 3-1  IN GENERAL

(a)  Elective Offices – The offices to be filled by the voters shall be a select board, a board of health, a board of assessors, a town moderator, a town school committee, a planning board, a board of trustees of the library, a board of park commissioners, a housing authority and a redevelopment authority. In addition, members of boards of, or representatives to, regional authorities or districts as may be established by law or by interlocal agreement may be filled by ballot at town elections.

(b)  Town Election – The date for the annual town election shall be established by by-law.

(c)  Compensation – Elected town officials shall receive such compensation as may be appropriated annually; provided, however, that such officials shall not be considered “eligible employees” for purposes of section 2 of chapter 32B of the General Laws unless otherwise meeting the requirements of said section 2 of said chapter 32B.

(d)  Coordination – Notwithstanding their election by the voters, the town officers elected under section 3-1 shall be subject to the call of the select board or the town administrator, at reasonable times, for discussion of any matter relating to their respective offices or to the town generally.

(e)  Filling of Vacancies: Elected Officials

(1)  Multiple-Member Boards – A vacancy in any multiple-member board, other than the select board,  shall be filled by a majority of those present and voting at a joint meeting of the select board and the remaining members of such board; provided, however, that a quorum of the select board is present.  Such meeting shall be held not earlier than 1 week following the posting of notice at the location utilized for notices posted under sections 18 to 25, inclusive, of chapter 30A of the General Laws.  The person chosen to fill any such vacancy shall be a registered voter of the town and shall serve in such office until the next regular town election at which the balance of the unexpired term, if any, shall be filled.

(2)  Select Board – If there is a failure to elect a member of the select board, or if a vacancy occurs on the select board, the remaining members of the select board may call a special election to fill the vacancy or shall call the special election upon the written request of not less than 200 voters filed with the select board not less than 100 days prior to the date of the next annual election.

(3)  Town Moderator – If there is a failure to elect a town moderator or a vacancy occurs in the office, the vacancy shall be filled in accordance with the General Laws.

(4)  Town Clerk – If there is a failure to elect a town clerk or a vacancy occurs in the office, the assistant town clerk shall serve as town clerk until the clerk’s successor is elected and sworn at a special or annual town election, whichever occurs sooner.

(f)  Recall of Elected Officials

(1)  Any holder of an elective office in the town of Plainville may be recalled as herein provided.

(2)  Any 30 registered voters of the town of Plainville may file with the town clerk an affidavit, identifying a “lead petitioner”, and containing the name of the officer sought to be recalled and a statement of the grounds of recall, which affidavit shall be sworn under the pains and penalties of perjury. The town clerk shall thereupon notify the lead petitioner that petition blanks demanding such recall are available, printed forms of which the clerk shall keep on hand. The blanks shall: (i) be issued by the town clerk with the clerk’s signature and official seal attached thereto; (ii) be dated and addressed to the select board of the town; (iii) contain the names of the first 10 registered voters listed on the affidavit, the name of and office held by the person sought to be recalled and the grounds of recall as stated in the affidavit; and (iv) demand the election of a successor to such office. A copy of the petition shall be entered in a record book to be kept in the office of the town clerk. The recall petition shall be returned and filed with the town clerk not later than the first business day following 20 days after the notice to the lead petitioner that petition blanks are available. The petition shall be signed by 15 per cent of the registered voters in the town as of the immediately preceding annual town election and include the place of residence of the signer, giving the street and number. The registrars of voters shall within 5 business days certify thereon the number of signatures that are names of voters of the town.

(3)  If the petition shall be found and certified by the board of registrars to be sufficient, the town clerk shall not more than 5 business days after certification submit the petition to the select board with the town clerk’s certificate. The select board shall within 5 business days give written notice to the officer against whom the recall is sought of the receipt of the certificate and shall, if the officer does not resign within 5 business days thereafter, thereupon order an election to be held on a Tuesday fixed by the board not less than 64  but not more than 90 days after the date the election is called; provided, however, that if any other town election is to occur within 90 days after the date of the town clerk’s certificate, the select board may, in its discretion, postpone the holding of the recall election to the date of the other town election. If a vacancy occurs in said office after a recall election has been so ordered, the election shall nevertheless proceed as provided herein.

(4)  Any officer sought to be recalled may be a candidate to succeed himself and, unless the officer requests otherwise in writing, the town clerk shall place his name on the official ballot without nomination. The nomination of other candidates, the publication of the warrant for the recall election and the conduct of the recall election shall be in accordance with the provisions of law relating to elections unless otherwise provided in this act.

(5)  The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of the office until the recall election. If then recalled and reelected, the incumbent shall continue in office for the remainder of the unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided in section 7. If recalled but not reelected in the recall election, the incumbent shall be deemed removed upon the qualification of the incumbent’s successor, who shall hold office during the unexpired term. If the successor fails to qualify within 15 days after receiving written, certified notification of the successor’s election, the office shall be deemed vacant.

(6)  Ballots used in a recall election shall submit the following propositions in the order indicated:

For the recall of (name of officer and office)

Against the recall of (name of officer and office)

Under the propositions shall appear the word “Candidates”, the directions to voters required by section 42 of chapter 54 of the General Laws and the names of candidates for the office.

If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of recall is in the affirmative, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. If a majority of votes on the question is in the negative, the ballots for the candidates need not be counted.

(7)  No recall petition shall be filed against an officer of the town within 3 months after the officer takes office or less than 3 months prior to the end of the term for which the officer was elected nor, in the case of an officer subjected to a recall election and not recalled thereby, until at least 6 months after the recall election.

(8)  No person who has been recalled from a town office or who has resigned from office following the filing of a recall petition shall be appointed to any town office within 2 years after such recall or resignation. This section shall not preclude any person from running for elected office within the town.

Section 3-2  SELECT BOARD

(a)  There shall be a select board consisting of 3 members elected at-large for terms of 3 years, so arranged that the term of office of 1 member shall expire each year. No person shall serve on the select board while at the same time serving as a town employee.

(b)  Powers and Duties.  The executive powers of the town shall be vested in the select board, who shall have all the powers given to select boards by general law or otherwise. The select board shall serve as the chief goal-setting, planning and policy-making agency of the town and as such shall not administer the day-to-day affairs of the town. The select board shall act through the adoption of policy directives and guidelines that are to be implemented by officers and employees appointed by or under its authority. Individual members shall not purport to represent the board or exercise the authority of the board except when specifically authorized by the board to do so. The members shall appoint a town administrator and a temporary town administrator under sections 4-1 and 4-2, constables, tree warden, fence viewer, town counsel and members of multiple-member bodies and associate or alternate members thereof. 

Members of the select board shall be ineligible to serve on multiple-member bodies established by this charter or by by-law to which the select board is the appointing authority, except where such appointment contemplates that the board member will represent the select board on such multiple-member body.

(c)  The select board may remove any person appointed or hired by the board, whether for a fixed or indefinite term.

(d)  Licensing Authority - The select board shall be the licensing board for the town and shall have the power to issue licenses as authorized by general law, this charter or by-law, make all necessary rules and regulations regarding the issuance of such licenses, attach conditions and impose restrictions on any such license as it deems to be in the public interest and enforce all laws relating to the issuance of such licenses.

Section 3-3  SCHOOL COMMITTEE

(a)  There shall be a school committee consisting of 5 members, each elected for a term of 3 years so arranged that the terms of as nearly an equal number of members as is possible shall expire each year.

(b)  Powers and Duties – The school committee shall have all the powers and duties given to school committees by the General Laws, including, but not limited to, collective bargaining, and it shall have such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by-law or town meeting vote.

Section 3-4  BOARD OF ASSESSORS

(a)  There shall be a board of assessors consisting of 3 members, each elected for a term of 3 years so arranged that 1 term shall expire each year.

(b)  Powers and Duties – The board of assessors shall annually make a fair cash valuation of all property, both real and personal, within the town and, subject to the terms or limitations of this charter, shall have all the powers and duties given to boards of assessors under the constitution and laws of the commonwealth and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by charter, by-law or town meeting vote.

Section 3-5  TOWN CLERK

(a)  There shall be a town clerk elected for a term of 3 years.

(b)  Powers and Duties – The town clerk shall: (i) be the keeper of vital statistics for the town; (ii) be the custodian of the town seal; (iii) administer the oath of office to all persons, elected or appointed, to any town office; (iv) issue such licenses and permits as are required by law to be issued by town clerks; (v) supervise and manage the conduct of all elections and all other matters relating to elections; and (vi) be the clerk of the town meeting, keep its records, and in the absence of the town moderator or deputy town moderator, preside pending the election of a temporary town moderator. The town clerk shall have such other powers and duties as are given to town clerks by general law, this charter, by-law or town meeting vote.

Section 3-6  TOWN MODERATOR

(a)  Term of office – There shall be a town moderator elected for a term of 3 years.

(b)  Powers and Duties – The town moderator shall be the presiding officer of the town meeting, as provided in section 2-2, regulate its proceedings and perform such other duties as may be provided by general law, charter, by-law or town meeting vote.

Section 3-7  BOARD OF HEALTH

(a)  There shall be a board of health consisting of 3 members, each elected for a term of 3 years so arranged that 1 term shall expire each year.

(b)  Powers and Duties – The board of health shall be responsible for the formulation and enforcement of rules and regulations affecting the environment and the public health and, subject to the terms or limitations of this charter, shall have all of the powers and duties given to boards of health under the constitution and laws of the commonwealth and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by charter, by-law or town meeting vote.

Section 3-8  PLANNING BOARD

(a)  There shall be a planning board consisting of 5 members, each elected for a term of 5 years so arranged that 1 term shall expire each year.

(b)  Powers and Duties – The planning board shall make careful studies of the resources, possibilities and needs of the town and shall make a comprehensive or master plan, setting forth in graphic and textual form policies to govern the future growth and development of the entire town. The planning board shall have the power to regulate the subdivision of land within the town by the adoption of rules and regulations governing such development and the administration of such rules and regulations. The planning board shall make recommendations to the town meeting on all matters affecting land use and development, including the zoning by-law of the town.

The planning board shall make an annual report, giving information regarding the condition of the town and any plans or proposals for its development and estimates of their costs. The planning board shall have all of the other powers and duties planning boards are given by general law, this charter, by-law or town meeting vote.

Section 3-9  BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES

(a)  There shall be a board of library trustees consisting of 3 members each elected for a term of 3 years so arranged that 1 term shall expire each year.

(b)  Powers and Duties – The board of library trustees shall have custody of and manage the public library and all property of the town related to the library. All funds and property that the town may receive by gift or bequest for the purpose of library support or maintenance shall be administered by the board in accordance with the gift or bequest. The board of library trustees, subject to the terms or limitations of this charter, shall have all the other powers and duties given to boards of library trustees under the constitution and laws of the commonwealth and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by-law or town meeting vote.

Section 3-10 BOARD OF PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSIONERS

(a)  There shall be a board of parks and recreation commissioners consisting of 3 members, each elected for a term of 3 years so arranged that 1 term shall expire each year.

(b)  Powers and Duties - The board of parks and recreation commissioners shall conduct and promote recreation, play, sport, physical education and other programs to meet the leisure time needs of the community. The board of parks and recreation commissioners shall have general charge and management of the town playing fields, parks, public lawns and landscaped areas and the town pool and of all property of the town relating thereto, in coordination with the town administrator. The board of parks and recreation commissioners shall have all of the powers and duties given to boards of parks and recreation commissioners under the constitution and laws of the commonwealth and shall have such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by-law or town meeting vote.

Section 3-11 HOUSING AUTHORITY

(a)  There shall be a housing authority consisting of 5 commissioners, each elected for a term of 5 years so arranged that the term of 1 commissioner shall expire each year, with the manner of selection for such commissioners to be consistent with section 5 of chapter 121B of the General Laws.

(b)  Powers and Duties – The housing authority shall make studies of the housing needs of the community and shall provide programs to make available housing for families of low income and for elderly and disabled persons of low income. The housing authority shall have such other powers and duties as are assigned to housing authorities by the General Laws.

ARTICLE 4

TOWN ADMINISTRATOR

Section 4-1  TOWN ADMINISTRATOR

(a)  There shall be a town administrator appointed by the select board with the powers and duties set forth in this charter. The town administrator shall have the appropriate education, training and administrative experience and shall have not less than 3 years of experience in public administration: (i) as a city or town administrator; (ii) as an assistant city or town administrator; or (iii) in a position with substantially similar functions to a city or town administrator or an assistant city or town administrator. The town administrator shall receive compensation for services as determined by the select board within the amount appropriated for such purposes. 

(b)  The town administrator shall, subject to appropriation, be a full-time position and the town administrator shall not hold any other elective or appointive office and shall not engage in any other business unless it is approved in advance in writing by the select board.

(c)  Not less than annually, the select board shall evaluate the performance of the town administrator and shall designate 1 member of the board to prepare a fair and concise summary of the evaluation process and results.  The summary shall be a public record. 

Section 4-2. VACANCY; INTERIM; TEMPORARY

(a)  Vacancy - Upon a vacancy in the office of town administrator because of resignation, removal or otherwise, the select board may fill the office in the manner it deems to be in the best interests of the town, whether by making a direct appointment of a town administrator or by appointing a screening committee to recommend not less than 3 candidates for appointment.  Candidates for appointment as town administrator shall be required to satisfy the minimum qualifications required by town by-laws or as set forth in the job description for town administrator, as it may exist from time to time, or have equivalent experience.  If the board appoints a screening committee, it need not appoint a town administrator from amongst the candidates recommended by the screening committee and may, at the board’s sole discretion, request the screening committee to provide additional candidates, disband the screening committee and appoint a new screening committee or make a direct appointment.

(b)  Interim Town Administrator - Pending appointment of the town administrator pursuant to subsection (a), the select board shall within a reasonable period of time appoint an interim town administrator to perform the duties of the town administrator. The interim town administrator may serve for not more than 6 months; provided, however, that the board may extend the appointment for not more than an additional 6 months if a permanent town administrator has not yet assumed the duties of the town administrator or if the search for a permanent town administrator is actively ongoing.

(c)  Temporary Town Administrator - The town administrator shall, by a letter filed with both the select board and the town clerk, designate a qualified officer or employee of the town to serve as the temporary town administrator during a temporary absence or disability of not more than 14 days.  If the temporary absence or disability exceeds 14 days, the select board may designate any qualified town officer or employee to serve as the interim town administrator until the return of the town administrator.

Section 4-3. COMPENSATION

(a)  The town administrator shall receive compensation for services as determined by the board; provided, however, that the compensation shall be within the limits of available appropriations.  The board may enter into a contract with the town administrator pursuant to section 108N of chapter 41 of the General Laws for a period of time to provide for the salary, fringe benefits and other conditions of employment including, but not limited to, severance pay, relocation expenses, reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performances of duties or office, liability insurance and leave.

Section 4-4. APPOINTING AUTHORITY

(a)  Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the town administrator shall, based upon merit and qualifications, appoint all town employees except employees of the school department.  The appointments of department heads or agents of appointed or elected multiple-member bodies shall become effective not later than 15 days following appointment; provided, however, that the select board may vote to sooner approve or reject any such appointment.  The town administrator shall consider appointment of departmental employees after seeking, where appropriate, the input or recommendation of the respective department head.  When appointing a department head, or an agent of an appointed or elected multiple-member body, that receives policy direction from a multiple-member body, the town administrator shall, prior to making such appointment, consult with the body as to the body’s qualifications for the position and the intended process for identifying qualified candidates.

(b)  Notwithstanding section 108A of chapter 41 of the General Laws and subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreements, individual employment contracts or town personnel by-laws, the town administrator or a designee shall be responsible for the classification, assignment, promotion, discipline, discharge or layoff of all town employees except employees of the school department.

(c)  Subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreements, individual employment contracts or town personnel by-laws, policies established by each multiple-member body derived directly from and adopted to carry out their respective statutory authority shall be applicable to employees appointed by the town administrator; provided, however, that the employees shall be subject to administrative policies and procedures applicable to all employees.

Section 4-5. POWERS AND DUTIES

The town administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the town and shall be responsible to the select board for the proper operation of town affairs for which the town administrator is given responsibility under this charter. The board shall communicate to the town administrator its plans and policies so as to secure their effective implementation.  The powers, duties and responsibilities of the town administrator shall include, but not be limited to:

(i)  supervising, directing and being responsible for the efficient administration of all employees appointed by the town administrator and their respective departments and of all functions for which the town administrator is given responsibility, authority or control;

    (ii)  administering, either directly or through persons supervised by the town administrator, general and special laws applicable to the town, town by-laws and all regulations established by the select board;

   (iii)  coordinating all activities of town departments under the direction of the select board and the town administrator with the activities of departments under the control of officers, town boards or commissions elected directly by the voters of the town;

    (iv)  keeping the select board fully informed as to the needs of the town and recommending to the board for adoption any measures requiring action by the board or by the town as the town administrator considers necessary or expedient;

(v)  ensuring that complete and full records of the financial and administrative activity of the town are maintained and rendering reports to the select board as may be required;

    (vi)  administering personnel policies, practices or rules and regulations, any compensation plan and any related matters for all municipal employees and administering all collective bargaining agreements entered into by the town except for school department agreements;

   (vii)  fixing the compensation of all town employees appointed by the town administrator within the limits established by appropriation and any applicable compensation plan;

  (viii)  serving as the chief procurement officer of the town for purposes of chapter 30B of the General Laws responsible for the procurement of all supplies, materials, services and equipment and awarding and executing contracts up to a particular dollar amount established by the select board for supplies, materials and equipment for all departments and activities of the town, except books and other instructional materials and supplies for school or library use, and except in case of emergency;

    (ix)  negotiating all contracts with town employees for wages and other terms and conditions of employment, except employees of the school department, consistent with direction from the select board; provided, however, that the town administrator may, subject to the approval of the board, employ special counsel to assist in the performance of these duties; and provided further, that all collective bargaining agreements negotiated under this section shall be subject to the ratification of the board;

(x)  executing warrants for payment of bills and payrolls prepared by the town accountant in accordance with section 56 of chapter 41 of the General Laws reporting the same to the select board at the first meeting following such action; provided, however, in the event of a temporary or permanent vacancy in the office of the town administrator, the select board shall have sole authority to sign such warrants;

    (ix)  preparing and submitting an annual operating budget and capital improvement program;

   (xii)  keeping the select board and the finance committee fully informed as to the financial condition of the town and making recommendations to the board and other elected and appointed officials as the town administrator considers necessary or expedient;

  (xiii)  investigating or inquiring into the affairs of any town department or office under the supervision of the town administrator or the job-related conduct of any officer or employee of the town administrator or delegating the authority to another person;

   (xiv)  performing other duties as necessary or as may be assigned by charter, by-law, town meeting vote or the select board;

    (xv)  developing, implementing and overseeing an annual performance review procedure for department heads; provided, however, that performance evaluations for all other employees shall be developed and implemented with assistance, where appropriate, from the respective department head or multi-member town board or committee; and

   (xvi)  appointing, in the event that a particular town office is changed from elected to appointed whether under section 1B or 21 of chapter 41 of the General Laws or any other general law, any such newly created appointed position; provided, however, that the elected incumbent holding office on the effective date of a change in the manner of selection from elected to appointed shall be considered the first appointee to the position and shall hold office for an indefinite term or the incumbent’s sooner resignation, retirement or removal.

ARTICLE 5

ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATION

Section 5-1  ORGANIZATION OF TOWN AGENCIES

The organization of the town into operating agencies for the provision of services and the administration of the government may, unless inconsistent with this charter, be accomplished by by-law, subject only to express prohibitions in a general law or this charter, including action to reorganize, consolidate, create, merge, divide or abolish any town agency, in whole or in part or establish new town agencies as it deems necessary or advisable and determine the manner of selection, the term of office and prescribe the functions of all such entities.

Section 5-2  ALTERNATE OR ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

(a)  Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the select board may appoint not more than 2 associate or alternate members to each multiple-member body elected under this charter, other than the school committee and the housing authority, or otherwise authorized by the General Laws. Alternate or associate members may participate in any and all matters pending before such body.

(b)  The chairman of each multiple-member body may designate an associate or alternate member to sit on the multiple-member body in the event of absence, inability to act or conflict of interest on the part of any member of the body or in the event of a vacancy on the body.  The alternate or associate members shall be appointed for a term of 1 year.

Section 5-3  PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENTS

(a)  Fire Department. There shall be a fire department under the direction of a fire chief, as established by vote of the town meeting to accept section 42A of chapter 48 of the General Laws, with the powers, duties and responsibilities under sections 42A, 43 and 44 of said chapter 48.

(b)  Police Department. There shall be a police department under the direction of a police chief appointed in accordance with the provisions of chapter 31 of the General Laws, with such powers and duties as established by vote of the town meeting to accept section 97 of chapter 41 of the General Laws. 

Section 5-4  Department of Public Works

(a)  There shall be a department of public works responsible for the management of public works operations not assigned to other departments including, but not limited to, the highway department, the water department and the sewer department and all other related construction and operations as the town administrator may assign from time to time when necessary and desirable. The select board shall make all policy decisions relating to the department of public works.

(b)  The town administrator shall appoint the director of public works, who shall provide to the town a bond with a surety company authorized to transact business in the commonwealth as surety for the faithful performance of the director's duties in such sum and upon such conditions as the town administrator shall require.

(c)  The director shall supervise and direct the operations and employees of the department pursuant to the General Laws, any special laws applicable to the town, the town personnel by-law and any applicable collective bargaining agreements. The director shall be qualified by education, training and experience to perform the duties of the office and shall have such other qualifications as the town may require.  The office of director shall be a full-time position.  During the director’s tenure, the director shall not hold an elective office and shall not engage in a business or occupation relating to public works unless approved in advance by the select board. Nothing in this section shall prevent the director from serving on special ad hoc committees in order to represent the town and the department.

Article 6

FINANCE AND FISCAL PROCEDURES

SECTION 6-1  FISCAL YEAR

The fiscal year of the town of Plainville shall begin on the first day of July and shall end on the last day of June.

SECTION 6-2  LONG TERM FINANCIAL PROJECTION

The town administrator shall develop and submit to the select board an overall financial projection of the town and provide an analysis of how the projection relates to the current and upcoming budget of the town. The projection shall provide a guideline as each department formulates its budget for the next fiscal year.

SECTION 6-3  ANNUAL BUDGET DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

(a)  Annually, the town administrator shall establish and issue a budget development schedule for preparing the proposed budget, which shall set forth the calendar dates, requested information and analysis relating to the development of the annual operating budget for the ensuing fiscal year. The town administrator shall issue the budget development schedule not less than 150 days prior to the date for the annual town meeting.

(b)  Pursuant to the annual budget development schedule established in subsection (a), the town administrator shall request and receive from the appointed treasurer-collector, who shall have all the powers and duties of town treasurers and tax collectors under the General Laws, and the board of assessors the estimated revenue for the ensuing fiscal year. Upon receipt of any additional specific fiscal data provided by the commonwealth or any other source, the treasurer-collector and the board of assessors shall revise, update and submit the data to the town administrator.

(c)  The select board, after consultation with the town administrator, shall issue a policy statement that shall establish the general guidelines for the next town budget.

(d)  All department heads and all multiple-member bodies shall submit detailed budget requests to the town administrator as the budget calendar shall require.

(e)  Not less than 70 days prior to the date for the annual town meeting, the town administrator shall submit to the board and the finance committee an initial proposed budget for all town functions for the ensuing fiscal year.

(f)  The proposed budget shall provide a complete financial plan for all town funds and activities and shall be in such form as the town administrator, in consultation with the treasurer-collector and the finance committee, may establish. The proposed budget shall indicate proposed expenditures for the current operations and for capital projects during the ensuing year, detailed by each town agency and by specific purposes and projects.

(g)  The select board shall present the proposed budget to the town meeting by making the main motion under the annual operating budget article; provided, however, that the finance committee shall be recognized before any other person or committee for: (i) the finance committee’s recommendations on the budget; and (ii) any amendments that the finance committee deems appropriate.

SECTION 6-4  CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN 

The town administrator shall prepare a capital improvement plan for the ensuing 5 years, which shall be updated annually.  The finance committee shall present the proposed capital expenditures for the current fiscal year’s capital improvements to the town meeting.

Article 7

GENERAL PROVISIONS GOVERNING THE CHARTER

SECTION 7-1  PERIODIC CHARTER REVIEW

Not less than once every 10 years in each year ending in a 5, a special committee consisting of 7 members shall be established to review this charter and make a report, with recommendations, to the town meeting concerning any proposed amendments  that the committee may determine to be necessary or desirable. The committee shall consist of: 3 members to be appointed by the select board; 2 members to be appointed by the finance committee; and 2 members to be appointed by the town moderator. The members appointed by the town moderator shall be voters not otherwise involved in town government as a member of any appointed or elected town agency. The committee shall meet to organize within 30 days of the call of the select board to establish the committee, notwithstanding the failure of any agency to make its designated appointment.

SECTION 7-2  REMOVALS AND SUSPENSIONS

Any appointed town officer or member of a multiple-member body, whether appointed for a fixed or indefinite term, may be suspended or removed from office after the opportunity for a hearing by the appointing authority.  Nothing in this section shall be construed as granting a right to a hearing when a person who has been appointed for a fixed term is not reappointed when the original term expires.

SECTION 2.  All general or special laws, town by-laws, votes, rules and regulations of or pertaining to the town that are in force when this act takes effect and that are not expressly or by clear implication repealed hereby, shall continue in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by due course of law or until they expire by their own terms. If any provision of this act is found to be inconsistent with any general or special law, the provision of this act shall be deemed to prevail. Every inconsistency between the prior law and this act shall be decided in favor of this act.

SECTION 3.  All town agencies shall continue to perform their duties until reappointed, reelected or until successors to their respective positions are duly appointed or elected or their duties have been transferred and assumed by another town agency in accordance with the provisions of this act. The position of appointed treasurer-collector shall hereinafter be appointed by the town administrator in accordance with subsection (a) of section 4-4 of the charter of the town of Plainville.

SECTION 4.  Any person holding a town office or employment under the town shall retain such office or employment and shall continue to perform such duties until provisions shall have been made in accordance with the charter under section 1 for the performance of those duties by another person or agency; provided, however, that no person in the permanent full-time service of the town shall forfeit pay grade or time in the service of the town as a result of the adoption of this act.

SECTION 5.  All records, property and equipment of any town office, department or agency or part thereof, the powers and duties of which are assigned in whole or in part to another office or agency shall be transferred forthwith to the office, department or agency to which such powers and duties are assigned.

SECTION 6.  The incumbent elected constables holding office on the effective date of this act shall continue to serve in said offices for the balance of the terms for which they were elected. Upon the expiration of the terms of office or if a vacancy shall sooner occur, the position of elected constable shall be abolished and constables shall thereafter be appointed pursuant to subsection (b) of section 3-2 of the charter of the town of Plainville.

SECTION 7.  Chapter 51 of the acts of 1988 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 8.  Chapters 125 and 127 of the acts of 2015 are hereby repealed.

SECTION 9.  Sections 6 and 7 of chapter 3 of the acts of 2016 are hereby repealed.

SECTION 10.  This act shall be submitted for acceptance to the voters of the town of Plainville at an annual or special election in the form of the following question: “Shall an act passed by the general court in the year 2020, entitled “An Act establishing a charter for the town of Plainville” be accepted?”

Below the ballot questions shall appear a fair and concise summary of the act prepared by town counsel and approved by the select board. If a majority of the votes cast in answer to the question is in the affirmative, then sections 1 to 6, inclusive, of said act shall be effective in the town of Plainville but not otherwise.

SECTION 11.  This act shall take effect upon its passage; provided, however, that sections 7 to 9, inclusive, shall take effect only upon approval by the voters of the town of Plainville of the question under section 10.

Approved, January 11, 2021.