SECTION 1. Section 4H of chapter 7 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “to”, in line 11, the following words: section 63 and.
SECTION 2. Chapter 7 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 63. (a) There shall be within the executive office for administration and finance a division of municipal appeals. The director of the office shall be appointed by the governor. It shall be the responsibility of the director to organize the division to provide speedy and fair disposition of all municipal appeals, in the absence of a right to municipal appeal, and to establish policies that will encourage and aid parties in resolving disputes.
(b) The director shall not hear any appeal for which a citizen of the city or town currently has the right to appeal a decision of a municipal board. The division of municipal appeals shall hear all appeals of city and town matters in the absence of the right to municipal appeal. Nothing in this section shall limit the right to any party to appeal a decision where a local appeal process exists.
(c) The division may summon witnesses, administer oaths and require the production of books, records and papers at any hearing before the division, upon any matter within its jurisdiction. Witnesses may be summoned by any party to the proceeding in the same manner, be paid the same fees and be subject to the same penalties as witnesses in civil cases before the courts of the commonwealth. Upon hearing the appeal, the director shall issue a final decision, which shall be binding on the parties. It shall be the responsibility of the director to verify that written final decisions are issued within 90 days after the record is closed.
(d ) Upon a showing that the decision of the division of municipal appeals was arbitrary or capricious, an aggrieved party may file an appeal of the decision with chief administrative magistrate of the division of administrative law appeals as provided for in section 4H of chapter 7.
(e) The director shall prepare annually a report concerning all appeals filed with the division during the preceding calendar year.
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