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General Laws

Section 4. The board shall by a 2/3 vote of its members submit to the secretary, for the secretary’s approval, a recommended candidate to serve as the commissioner of early education and care, in this chapter called the commissioner. The secretary may appoint the recommended candidate as commissioner. If the secretary declines to appoint the candidate, the board shall submit a new candidate for consideration. The secretary may appoint the commissioner only from candidates submitted to the secretary by the board.

The board may in its discretion by majority vote of its members remove the commissioner. The commissioner shall be the secretary to the board and its chief executive officer and shall be the executive and administrative head of the department. The commissioner shall receive a salary to be determined by the board.

The commissioner shall have substantial professional or administrative experience in the fields of early education and care. The commissioner shall devote full-time during business hours to the duties of the office. The commissioner shall be responsible for administering and enforcing the law relative to the department. The commissioner may authorize any officer of the department to exercise in his name any power or to discharge any duty assigned to the commissioner by law, and may at any time revoke that authority.

Subject to the approval of the board of early education and care, the commissioner may apply for and accept on behalf of the commonwealth, any federal, local, or private grants, bequests, gifts, or contributions to aid in the financing of any of the programs or policies of the department. Such funds shall be received by the state treasurer on behalf of the commonwealth and deposited in a separate account and shall be expended under the direction of the commissioner, with the approval of the board of early education and care. Federal funds paid as reimbursement to the commonwealth shall be deposited into the General Fund.

The commissioner, with the approval of the board, shall establish divisions or other offices considered necessary for the efficient operation of the department. Each division or office shall be under the charge of an associate commissioner who shall be appointed by the commissioner and who shall be subject to the direction, control and supervision of the commissioner. Each associate commissioner shall be a person of skill and experience in the field of appointment and shall be appointed by and may be removed by the commissioner. Each associate commissioner shall devote full-time during business hours to the duties of the office. Sections 9A, 9B and 9D of chapter 30, and chapter 31 shall not apply to the commissioner, to associate commissioners that he may appoint, or to other such supervisory positions that he may create.

The commissioner shall propose a budget to the board. The budget shall reflect the goals and objectives of the board and the secretary. The board shall review and make recommendations regarding the budget to the secretary. The secretary shall then prepare and submit a budget request on behalf of the department to the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on education, and to the secretary of administration and finance.

The commissioner may make agreements with other departments and agencies of the commonwealth and may contract with other persons, including, but not limited to, private agencies, to carry out this chapter. The commissioner shall establish standards and procedures governing these agreements and contracts, subject to the approval of the board.

The commissioner shall analyze the present and future goals, needs and requirements of early childhood education and care in the commonwealth and recommend to the board comprehensive means to achieve a well-coordinated system that promotes positive social and emotional development, high educational achievement, and quality care in the commonwealth. Following consultation with the board, the commissioner shall prepare and submit to the secretary, for the secretary’s review and approval, a 5-year master plan for achieving such a coordinated system. The master plan along with an annual progress report shall reflect the goals and standards established by the board and the secretary.

The master plan shall include, but not be limited to: enrollment projections; identification of measures for age-appropriate child development and school readiness; expulsion rate projections; utilization of existing facilities; promotion of research; programmatic excellence; recommendations for construction or acquisition of new facilities; program distribution; the addition of new programs; the elimination of existing programs; and the need for program revisions. The commissioner shall receive reports, undertake research, and facilitate coordination among and between all entities delivering programs or services under this chapter. The commissioner shall promote the partnership of providers of early education and care programs and services with elementary and secondary schools, institutions of higher education and business and civic organizations.

The board may delegate its authority, or any portion thereof, to the commissioner whenever, in its judgment, such delegation may be necessary or desirable. The commissioner shall exercise such delegated powers and duties with the full authority of the board.

The commissioner may, subject to appropriation, appoint such other employees as he deems necessary to carry out his duties and responsibilities. The commissioner shall be provided with adequate offices, and may expend sums for other necessary expenses of the department.

The commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of mental health prior to taking an action substantially affecting the design and implementation of behavioral health services for children under guidelines established by the secretary of health and human services and the commissioner of early education and care under section 16S of chapter 6A.

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