Section 56. The mayor of a city, or the selectmen or municipal light board, if any, of a town acquiring a gas or electric plant shall appoint a manager of municipal lighting who shall, under the direction and control of the mayor, selectmen or municipal light board, if any, and subject to this chapter, have full charge of the operation and management of the plant, the manufacture and distribution of gas or electricity, the purchase of supplies, the employment of attorneys and of agents and servants, the method, time, price, quantity and quality of the supply, the collection of bills, and the keeping of accounts. His compensation and term of office shall be fixed in cities by the city council and in towns by the selectmen or municipal light board, if any; and, before entering upon the performance of his official duties, he shall give bond to the city or town for the faithful performance thereof in a sum and form and with sureties to the satisfaction of the mayor, selectmen or municipal light board, if any, and shall, at the end of each municipal year, render to them such detailed statement of his doings and of the business and financial matters in his charge as the department may prescribe. All moneys payable to or received by the city, town, manager or municipal light board in connection with the operation of the plant, for the sale of gas or electricity or otherwise, shall be paid to the city or town treasurer. All accounts rendered to or kept in the gas or electric plant of any city shall be subject to the inspection of the city auditor or officer having similar duties, and in towns they shall be subject to the inspection of the selectmen. The auditor or officer having similar duties, or the selectmen, may require any person presenting for settlement an account or claim against such plant to make oath before him or them, in such form as he or they may prescribe, as to the accuracy of such account or claim. The wilful making of a false oath shall be punishable as perjury. The auditor or officer having similar duties in cities, and the selectmen in towns, shall approve the payment of all bills or payrolls of such plants before they are paid by the treasurer, and may disallow and refuse to approve for payment, in whole or in part, any claim as fraudulent, unlawful or excessive; and in that case the auditor or officer having similar duties, or the selectmen, shall file with the city or town treasurer a written statement of the reasons for the refusal; and the treasurer shall not pay any claim or bill so disallowed. This section shall not abridge the powers conferred on town accountants by sections fifty-five to sixty-one, inclusive, of chapter forty-one. The manager shall at any time, when required by the mayor, selectmen, municipal light board, if any, or department, make a statement to such officers of his doings, business, receipts, disbursements, balances, and of the indebtedness of the town in his department.