SECTION 1. Notwithstanding section 1 of chapter 41 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary there shall be a town collector for the town of Hardwick. The town collector shall have all the powers, perform the duties and be subject to the liabilities and penalties now or hereafter conferred and imposed by law on town collector of taxes. The town collector shall be appointed and may be removed, after the opportunity for a hearing by the board of selectmen of the town. The board of selectmen may establish an employment contract for the town collector for salary, fringe benefits and other conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, severance pay, reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of the duties of office, liability insurance and conditions of discipline, termination, dismissal, reappointment, performance standards and leave.
SECTION 2. Upon the effective date of this act, the elected office of town collector shall be abolished and the term of such office terminated; provided, however, that any incumbent of such office serving on the effective date of this act shall continue to hold said office and to perform the duties thereof until the expiration of the term for which said individual was elected or until said individual otherwise vacates such office. After the expiration of the term of the incumbent town collector, or a sooner vacating of the office; the position shall be posted and published in a local newspaper, a search committee shall be formed to include: town assessor, town accountant, town treasurer, town administrator, finance committee chairperson and one public at large member to conduct preliminary interviews and shall provide the top three (3) candidates to the board of selectmen. The board of selectmen shall interview the recommended candidates and shall appoint a town collector as under section 1.
SECTION 3. No contracts or liabilities in force on the effective date of this act shall be affected by the abolition of the elected office of town collector and the appointment of town collector and the appointed town collector shall, in all respects, be the lawful successor of the office so abolished. All records, property and equipment of the office of the elected town collector shall be assigned to the office of the appointed town collector.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
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