Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. `t+1 `tuc ARTICLE 1. INCORPORATION AND POWERS `t+1
Section 1.1 Incorporation
The inhabitants of the county of Hampshire, within the territorial limits established by law, shall continue to be a body corporate and politic under the name county of Hampshire.
Section 1.2 Name, Boundaries and Powers
The county of Hampshire, as its limits now are, or hereafter may be, shall be a body politic and corporate by the name of county of Hampshire with all the rights granted by this charter and by general or special laws.
The county is responsible for the exercise within its boundaries of all powers vested in and the performance of all duties imposed upon counties and county officers by law. In addition, the county may exercise all powers specifically conferred by this charter or incidental to powers specifically conferred by this charter and all other powers which the Constitution and laws of the commonwealth now or hereafter grant to counties to exercise.
All powers shall be exercised and enforced in the manner described by this charter, or, when not prescribed herein, in such manner as may be provided by ordinance or resolution of the county commissioners, and, when not prescribed by this charter or amendments thereto or by ordinance or resolution, including the county administrative code, then such powers shall be exercised in the manner prescribed by the General Laws.
Section 1.3 Powers Limited
This charter does not empower the county to exercise exclusively any municipal powers nor to provide for the succession by the county to any property or obligation of any municipality without the consent of the legislative authority of such municipality. In case of conflict between the exercise of powers granted by this charter and the exercise of powers by municipalities granted by the Constitution of the Commonwealth or the General Laws, the exercise of powers by the municipality shall prevail. The county shall have power to levy only those taxes that counties are authorized by vote of the general court to levy.
Section 1.4 Short Title
This instrument shall be known as the Hampshire county charter.
Section 1.5 Division of Powers
The legislative powers of the county shall be exercised by an elected board of county commissioners. Certain executive powers shall be exercised by the county administrator while others shall either be exercised by the county administrator with the consent of the county commissioners, or by the county administrator with the executive committee of the county commissioners by consent of the county commissioners.
Section 1.6 Powers of the County; Intent of the Voters
Subject only to the express limitations on the exercise of any power or function by a county in the Constitution or laws of the commonwealth, it is the intent and the purpose of the voters of Hampshire county to secure through the adoption of this charter all of the powers it is possible to secure for the county government under the Constitution and laws of the commonwealth, as fully and as completely as though each such power were specifically and individually enumerated herein.
Section 1.7 Interpretation of Powers
The specific mention of any particular power granted to the county by this charter is not intended to limit the general powers of the county as stated in section 1.6.
Section 1.8 Intergovernmental Relations
Subject to the applicable requirements of any provision of the Constitution or laws of the commonwealth, the county of Hampshire may exercise any of its powers or perform any of its functions and may participate in the financing thereof, jointly or in cooperation by contract or otherwise, with any one or more states or civil divisions or agencies thereof or the United States government or agency thereof. `t+99 `tuc ARTICLE 2 LEGISLATIVE BODY
Section 2.1 Composition, Election, and Terms of Office
The legislative power of the county shall be vested in a board of county commissioners.
The board of commissioners shall be composed of members chosen at municipal general elections for terms of two years. Commissioners shall be residents and registered voters of the municipalities from which they are elected, and shall qualify for the ballot in towns in the same manner as candidates for the board of selectmen and in cities in the same manner as at large candidates for the city council. No person shall be a commissioner and at the same time an employee of the county.
There shall be at least one commissioner elected from each municipality. However, any municipality whose population comprises more than ten per cent of the population of the county as determined by the most recent state or federal decennial census shall elect one commissioner for each ten per cent or portion thereof.
Section 2.2 Organization, Rules and Procedures
The county commissioners shall annually elect from their membership a chairman, vice chairman, and three other members, no more than one of whom shall be from any single municipality, to serve as an executive committee of the board. The commissioners shall choose a moderator who shall not be a member of the executive committee to preside over their meetings, and may, from time to time, constitute such other committees as they deem appropriate.
The county commissioners shall meet at least once monthly, shall on all questions cast votes weighted by the population of the municipalities they represent with the weighted voted of a municipality with more than one commissioner being divided equally among its commissioners and, upon the request of commissioners representing one fifth of the weighted votes present, shall require that the yeas and nays of commissioners be recorded on any question. The number of commissioners sufficient to cast a majority of weighted votes shall constitute a quorum to do business.
The county commissioners shall determine the rules of their proceedings and shall publish and make available those rules. Said commissioners shall keep a record of their proceedings and those of their executive committee and any other committee, and shall make those records available to the public during normal business hours.
The executive committee shall meet at least twice monthly and shall report to the board of county commissioners at least once monthly. They shall oversee the carrying out of policies voted by the county commissioners and the duties of the county administrator, and shall perform such other duties as the county commissioners shall by a majority weighted vote assign to them. The executive committee shall vote by person, not by weighted vote, and a majority of its members shall constitute a quorum to do business.
Section 2.3 Compensation
Commissioners shall receive one hundred dollars quarterly, and members of the executive committee shall receive an additional four hundred dollars salary quarterly. An increase in the amount of salary or expenses of commissioners not to exceed two and one-half per cent per annum may be provided for by a roll call vote of the county commissioners; provided, however, that no increase so voted shall take effect until the beginning of the next fiscal year.
Section 2.4 Powers and Duties
The county commissioners shall appoint a county administrator, fix annually the administrator's salary and benefits, and annually evaluate in public session the administrator's job performance. They shall conduct hearings on, and approve by a majority of the weighted votes prior to the first of May of every year, an annual budget for the county. Their consent shall be required to confirm any appointments by the county administrator to the offices of county treasurer, county attorney, county personnel board, county regional housing authority, county hospital administrator, Hampshire community action commission and Mount Tom citizens advisory committee.
The county commissioners shall approve the acquisition, disposition and management of real property; the declaration of emergencies; the entering into, conduct and termination of litigation; the establishment of county personnel policies and administrative procedures; collective bargaining agreements; the designation of newspapers for required notices and advertisements; and such other matters as the county commissioners may deem appropriate.
Section 2.5 Vacancies
Vacancies in or failure to elect to the office of county commissioner shall be filled within thirty days by appointment in towns by the board of selectmen and in cities by the mayor with the approval of the city council. `t+99 `tuc ARTICLE 3 COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR
Section 3.1 Qualifications and Appointment, Term of Office
The county commissioners shall appoint a county administrator from a list prepared by a screening committee pursuant to the administrative code. The administrator shall be appointed solely on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications. Appointment shall be by a two-thirds weighted vote of the county commissioners. The administrator shall not be subject to the consolidated personnel policy of the county, but shall enter into a written contract with the county. Approval of a contract and any amendments or revisions thereof are subject to a majority weighted vote of the commissioners.
The administrator shall be a person qualified by education, training and experience in public administration to perform the duties of the office. The administrator need not be a resident of Hampshire county at the time of appointment, but must establish residence in the county within twelve months following such appointment.
The administrator shall not have served in an elective office in the county government for at least six months prior to appointment. Upon appointment the administrator shall devote full time to the office and shall not hold any other public office, elective or appointive, nor engage in any other business or occupation during the term, unless such action is approved in writing by the commissioners.
Section 3.2 Compensation
The administrator shall receive a salary within the amount appropriated by the county. Yearly salary adjustments shall be automatically incorporated into the contract after an annual review by the commissioners.
Section 3.3 Powers and Duties
The county administrator shall be the chief administrative officer for the county. The administrator shall be directly responsible to the commissioners for the administration of all county affairs placed in the administrator's charge by or under this charter with the following powers and duties:
(a) to supervise and direct the administration of all departments, agencies and offices for whose function the administrator is responsible;
(b) appoint subject to provisions of collective bargaining agreements and except as otherwise authorized by the Charter, all department heads, officers, members of boards and commissions and employees which shall be effective upon acceptance by the Commissioners, or upon the thirtieth upon acceptance by the Commissioners, or upon the thirtieth day following the day on which notice of the appointment is filed with the Commissioners whichever first occurs, unless the Commissioners shall within that period by a majority weighted vote of all members vote to reject such appointment.
(c) to fix the compensation of all county officers and employees appointed within the limits established by existing appropriations and personnel policy as set forth in the administrative code;
(d) to attend all regular meetings of the county commissioners and their executive committee unless excused and shall have a voice, but no vote, in all their deliberations;
(e) to keep full and complete records of the office, and render as often as may be required by the county commissioners, but not less than once each year, a full report of all operations during the period reported on, which report shall be made available to the public;
(f) to prepare and submit an annual operating budget and capital improvements budget for the county;
(g) to keep the county commissioners fully advised as to the needs of the county, and recommend for adoption by the county such measures requiring action by them or by the other governmental bodies as may be deemed necessary or expedient;
(h) to supervise the rental and use of all county property, except as otherwise determined by state law, and be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all county buildings and facilities placed under the administrator's control by this charter or vote of the county commissioners;
(i) to keep a full and complete inventory of all property of the county both real and personal;
(j) to negotiate contracts involving any subject within the administrator's supervision; such contracts may be subject to final approval and execution by the county commissioners;
(k) to purchase all supplies, material and equipment for all departments and activities of the county;
(l) to enforce the provisions of the General Laws as they pertain to Hampshire county, votes of the commissioners and their committees, and the charter;
(m) to administer the personnel policy for Hampshire county employees which shall include, but not be limited to personnel policies and practices, rules and regulations including provisions for an annual employee performance review, and all collective bargaining agreements for the county as set forth in this charter or the administrative code or by vote of the county commissioners; and, in conjunction with the personnel board, prepare, maintain and keep current a plan establishing the personnel staffing requirements of each county department;
(n) to inquire into the conduct of office of any officer or employee or department under the administrator's control;
(o) to perform any other associated duties required by the administrative code or the votes of the county commissioners;
(p) may authorize any subordinate officer or employee to exercise any power or duty which the administrator is authorized to perform; provided, however, that all acts which are performed under any such delegation shall be deemed to be the administrator's acts.
Section 3.4 Acting County Administrator
The county administrator shall, by letter filed with the commissioners, designate a qualified county officer or employee to exercise the powers of the office during a temporary absence. During this time the commissioners may not revoke such designation until at least ten working days have elapsed, whereupon they may designate another qualified county officer or employee to serve as acting administrator until the county administrator shall return and resume work.
Any vacancy in the office of county administrator shall be filled as soon as possible by the commissioners. During the interim they shall appoint a suitable person as acting county administrator to perform the duties of the office. Such appointment may not exceed three months, but one additional renewal may be granted by the commissioners not to exceed a second three months.
The powers of an acting county administrator shall include authority to make temporary, emergency appointments or designations to county office or employment, but no appointments or designations of a permanent nature.
Section 3.5 Annual Review of Performance; Removal and Suspension
The county administrator shall be subject to an annual review of job performance for the purposes of fostering communication and goal setting by the commissioners and administrator, assessing strengths and weaknesses of the administrator and departments under the administrator's jurisdiction, and as a basis for awarding salary adjustments.
The review shall take place sometime within the period of January first to February fifteenth of each year. The commissioners shall have a list of performance criteria as pertains to the duties of the office and job qualifications. A written report shall be filed by the commissioners after the review, to be kept in the administrator's personnel file for future reference. The review process shall be subject to all applicable laws and the county administrative code.
The county commissioners shall make a salary determination for the next fiscal year based on the results of the review.
The county commissioners, by two-thirds of the total weighted vote may terminate the county administrator from his office in accordance with the following procedure:
(a) during probationary period: notice in writing of termination;
(b) after probationary period: the county administrator shall not be dismissed except for good cause, nor unless at least thirty days prior to the meeting at which the vote is to be taken, the administrator shall have been notified of such intended vote; nor unless, if the administrator so requests in writing, shall have been furnished by the county commissioners with a written statement of the charge or charges or the cause or causes for which the dismissal is proposed; nor unless, if the administrator, if he so requests in writing, has been given a hearing before the commissioners which may be either public or private at the option of the administrator, and at which the administrator may be represented by counsel, present evidence, and call witnesses to testify in the administrators' behalf;
(c) anything contained in this provision to the contrary notwithstanding, the non-renewal of the contract of the county administrator shall not be considered to be a dismissal and the provisions of clauses (a) and (b) shall not apply;
(d) the county administrator may be suspended from office by a procedure following the same steps outlined above for removal;
(e) the county administrator shall continue to receive that position's approved full salary until thirty days following the date a final vote on suspension or dismissal has become effective. `t+99 `tuc ARTICLE 4 FISCAL PROCEDURES
Section 4.1 Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the county shall begin on the first day of July and shall end on the thirtieth day of June, unless another provision is made by general law.
Section 4.2 Submission of Proposed Budget
Within the time fixed by the administrative code the county administrator shall submit to the county commissioners a proposed budget for the ensuing fiscal year, with an accompanying budget message and supporting documents. Within five days after receipt of the proposed budget, the chairman of the county commissioners shall transmit a copy of the budget to the chairmen of boards of selectmen in towns and the mayor and the president of the city council in cities.
Section 4.3 Budget Message and Proposed Budget
The budget message and the accompanying proposed budget submitted by the county administrator shall explain the proposed budget for all county agencies, both in fiscal terms and in terms of work programs. It shall outline proposed financial policies of the county for the ensuing fiscal year; describe important features of the proposed budget; indicate any major variations from the current budget in financial policies, expenditures, and revenues, together with the reasons for such changes; and summarize the county debt position; and it shall include such additional information as the county administrator deems desirable or the county commissioners may reasonably require.
Section 4.4 Action on the Proposed Budget
The county commissioners shall forthwith, upon receipt of the proposed budget, provide for the publication in a local newspaper or newspapers of a notice stating the date, time and place, not fewer than ten nor more than twenty days following such publication, when a public hearing will be held by the county commissioners on the proposed budget.
The county commissioners, or a committee thereof, shall consider, in open public meetings, the detailed expenditures proposed by each county department or agency. The commissioners may require the county administrator, or any other county department or agency, to furnish such additional information as the commissioners may deem necessary to assist in their review of the proposed budget.
The executive committee shall file a report containing its recommendations for actions on the proposed budget which shall be available at least seven days prior to the date on which the county commissioners acts on the proposed budget. The budget shall be adopted by a majority of the weighted voters prior to May first, of each year.
Section 4.5 Capital Improvement Program
The county administrator shall submit a capital improvement program to the county commissioners at least thirty days prior to the submission of the proposed operating budget. The capital improvement program shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:
(a) a clear, concise, general summary of its contents;
(b) a listing of all capital expenditures proposed to be made, by years, during the five fiscal years next ensuing, with supporting information as to the need for each such expenditure;
(c) cost estimates, methods of financing and recommended time schedules;
(d) the estimated annual cost of operating and maintaining any new facility or piece of major equipment involved.
The information in the capital improvement program shall be revised annually with regard to all items still pending, or in the process of being acquired, improved or constructed.
Section 4.6 Sources of Revenue
Sources of revenue shall be determined by the county commissioners. These sources shall be listed in the administrative code and shall include local assessments, any monies received from the state and or federal government, user fees or fees for service and any other methods allowable by general or special laws. `tuc ARTICLE 5 ADMINISTRATION ORGANIZATION
Section 5.1 Administrative Code
There shall be an administrative code. This code shall include a table of organization of county departments and agencies, a list of duties and responsibilities for each department or agency, a list of standard administrative and budgetary procedures for all county departments or agencies, personnel policies and any other sections deemed appropriate.
The code shall be developed by the county administrator, who shall receive assistance in the development of the code in the manner provided by the county commissioners.
The code shall initially take effect six months from the date the county commissioners approve it. The code shall be amended, except as otherwise provided within this charter, in a manner specified within the code. The code shall be updated as necessary. A copy of the code and any changes to it shall be provided to every county department or agency and to every municipality within the county.
All county departments or agencies except those specifically excluded shall be subject to the county administrative code.
Section 5.2 Organization of County Agencies
The county administrator may from time to time prepare and submit to the county commissioners plans of organization or reorganization which establish operating departments or agencies for the orderly, efficient or convenient conduct of the business of the county.
Whenever the county administrator submits such a plan to the county commissioners, the executive committee shall hold at least one public hearing on the proposed plan giving notice, in the same manner as provided in section 4.4. The Executive Committee shall then submit the proposal to the county commissioners with a report of the public hearing.
The county commissioners shall approve any plans to reorganize, consolidate or abolish any county department or agency in whole or in part or to establish a new county department or agency by a two-thirds weighted vote. Such changes shall become part of the administrative code. `tuc ARTICLE 6 AMENDMENTS
Proposed amendments to this charter shall be submitted to the voters of the county by two-thirds of the weighted votes cast at a meeting of the county commissioners called for that purpose, or upon petition signed by a number of registered voters equal to at least five per cent of the number of residents of the county registered to vote in the preceding state election and submitted in conformity with the provisions of sections three and fourteen of chapter thirty-four A of the General Laws and such other laws as may be applicable. `tuc ARTICLE 7 GENERAL PROVISIONS
Section 7.1 Definitions
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following words as used in the charter shall have the following meanings:
"Board of county commissioners", board of county commissioners, county commissioners and the commissioners are used interchangeably.
"Charter", this charter and any amendments to it which may hereafter be adopted.
"County", the county of Hampshire.
"County Department or Agency", any board, commission, committee, division, or office of the county of Hampshire.
"County official", when used without further qualifications or description, a person having charge of an office or department of the county who in the exercise of powers or duties exercises some portion of the sovereign power of the county.
"Emergency", a sudden, unexpected, unforeseen happening, occurrence, or condition which necessitates immediate action.
"Local newspaper", a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the county.
"Total weighted vote", a proportion of one hundred per cent of the weighted vote.
"Voters", persons who are registered to vote in the county of Hampshire.
"Weighted Vote", the vote of the commissioners present and voting in a meeting with a quorum.
Section 7.2 Specific Provisions Prevail
To the extent that any specific provision of the Charter shall conflict with any provision expressed in general terms, the specific provisions shall prevail.
Section 7.3 Computation of Time
In computing time under the charter, if seven days or less, only business
days, not including Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays shall be counted;
if more than seven days, every day shall be counted.
`tuc ARTICLE 8 TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS `t+1
Section 8.1 Continuation of Government `t+1 All committees, commissions, boards, departments and other agencies of the county shall continue to perform their duties until reappointed, or their duties have been transferred. The sheriff and registrar of deeds shall continue to be elected and their salaries and duties shall continue to be determined in the manner provided for in the General Laws.
The incumbent county treasurer elected in November, nineteen hundred and eighty-four will continue in office as an elected official until his term expires. He will thereafter be continued in office until retirement, death or removal for cause, serving at such salary and benefits as the county commissioners shall determine, but never less than that salary or benefit level as obtained at the time of the adoption of this charter. `t+1
Section 8.2 Continuation of Existing Laws `t+1 All general laws, special laws, procedures, rules, and regulations of or pertaining to the county that are in force when this charter takes effect and not specifically or by clear implication repeated hereby, shall continue in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by due course of law or until they expire by their own limitation. Sections four to five A, inclusive, and sections eight and nine of chapter thirty-four, and section twenty-eight B of chapter thirty-five of the General Laws shall, from the date of the adoption of this charter, be null and void as they apply to Hampshire county, having been succeeded by specific provisions of this charter. `t+1
Section 8.3 Continuation of Personnel `t+1 Any person holding a county office or employment under the county shall retain such office or employment and shall continue to perform their duties until provision shall have been made in accordance with the charter for the performance of the said duties by another person or agency. No person in the permanent full-time service or employment of the county shall forfeit their pay grade or time in service. Each such person shall be retained in a capacity as similar to their former capacity as is practical. `t+1
Section 8.4 Continuation of Contracts `t+1 All leases, contracts, franchises and obligations entered into by the county or for its benefit prior to the effective date of this charter shall continue in full force and effect. `t+1
Section 8.5 Transfer of Records and Property `t+1 All records, property and equipment whatsoever of any agency or part thereof, the powers and duties of which are assigned in whole or in part to another agency, shall be transferred forthwith to such assigned agency. `t+1
Section 8.6 Disposition of Special Laws `t+1 Special Laws Specifically Retained: The following special laws are hereby recognized, confirmed and retain: Chapter four hundred and nineteen of the acts of nineteen hundred and seventy-six, chapter three hundred and seventy-nine of the acts of nineteen hundred and twenty, and chapter sixty B of the acts of nineteen hundred and sixty-one. `t+1
Section 8.7 Time of Taking Effect `t+1 This charter shall become fully effective upon its approval by the voters, except as otherwise provided in this section.
Members of the Hampshire county financial advisory board shall be deemed to be the county commissioners representing their respective municipalities for all the purposes of this charter until the occurrence of the next municipal general election in each municipality at which time their seats shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of this charter.
Following adoption of this charter by the voters of the county, at the first election in towns that elect two or more commissioners, the seat of the commissioner receiving the lesser number of votes shall be vacated after one year.
SECTION 2. The state secretary shall cause to be placed on the official ballot to be used in Hampshire county at the biennial state election to be held in the year nineteen hundred and eighty-eight the following question:- "Shall an act passed by the general court in the year nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, entitled 'An Act providing a charter for Hampshire county', be accepted " If a majority of the votes cast in answer to said question is in the affirmative then this act shall take full effect, but not otherwise. `t+99