Section 53. (a) All non-academic positions in the service of a regional school district or of a regional vocational school district shall be subject to the civil service law and rules if the school committee of such district votes to accept the applicability of said law and rules to said positions.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of section forty-eight or other law, a city or town may accept, in accordance with the provisions of sections fifty-four and fifty-five, the applicability of the civil service law and rules to any office of such city or town if the incumbent of such office shall have served therein continuously for not less than ten years in the case of a city, or for not less than five years in the case of a town, immediately prior to the filing of a petition pursuant to section fifty-four if such petition bears the approval in writing of such incumbent at the time of said filing. The provisions of this section shall not apply to an office filled by popular vote or the office of city solicitor, assistant city solicitor, secretary to the mayor, clerk to the board of selectmen, town counsel, assistant town counsel, legislative counsel, registrar of voters or election commissioner or other officer performing similar duties, or public school teacher.
A question or questions under this clause shall be printed on the official ballot to be used at a regular municipal election, in substantially the following form:—
QUESTION 1 (Part 1) Shall the city (or town) vote to accept the applicability of the civil service law and rules to the office of (title of office)? Yes ___ No ___
(Part 2) If it is voted to accept the applicability of the civil service law and rules to the office of (title of office), shall the city (or town) vote to provide for the continuance in said office of (name of incumbent), the present incumbent thereof, after passing a qualifying examination?
Yes ___ No ___
There shall be a separately numbered question for each office to which the acceptance of the applicability of the civil service law and rules is sought under this clause. If more than one such question is to be submitted to the voters of a city or town at any election, such questions shall be printed on the official ballot in alphabetical order according to the surnames of the incumbents of the several offices to which such questions relate.
The civil service law and rules shall be applicable to the office specified in Part 1 of each such question in answer to which the majority of the voters voting thereon vote in the affirmative. If Part 2 of such question is so answered in the affirmative the incumbent of such office at the time of filing such petition shall, if still the incumbent thereof, be subjected by the administrator to a qualifying examination for such office, and if he passes said examination, he shall be deemed to be permanently appointed thereto and to be tenured therein without being required to serve any probationary period. If such incumbent does not pass such qualifying examination, or if a majority of the voters voting on said Part 2 of such question do not vote thereon in the affirmative, such incumbent may continue to serve in said office for the remainder of the term, if any, for which he was appointed, but the civil service law and rules shall not be applicable to such incumbent. The status of any such incumbent shall not be subject to section fifty-six.
Nothing in this clause shall prevent a city or town from acting under section fifty-four.