Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Upon acceptance of this act by the town of Becket, as hereinafter provided, the town shall be governed by the provisions of this act. To the extent that the provisions of this act modify or repeal existing General Laws and special acts or that body of law which constitutes the town charter under Section 9 of Article LXXXIX of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, this act shall govern.
SECTION 2. Following the acceptance of this act as hereinafter provided, the voters of the town of Becket shall, in accordance with any applicable general or special law or bylaw or vote of the town, continue to elect the following:
(b) Board of selectmen
(c) Representatives to the central Berkshire regional school district committee
(d) Town clerk
(e) Board of health
(f) Cemetery commissioners
(g) Planning board members
(j) Finance board members
The acceptance of this act shall not affect the term of office of any such elected official or elected member of such board, committee or authority. Every other elective office, board, committee or commission of the town shall become appointive as hereinafter provided, any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding. The term of office of any person elected to any office, board, committee or commission existing as an elected office at the time of the acceptance of this act and having become appointive hereunder, shall continue until the term for which that person was elected shall have expired and until the appointment and qualification of his successor. The powers, duties and responsibilities of elected officials shall be as now or hereinafter provided by applicable provisions of any general law or special law or by-law or vote of the town, except as otherwise expressly provided herein.
Notwithstanding the election by the voters of the town of the officers named in this section, such officers shall be available to this administrator for consultation, conference and discussion on matters relating to their respective offices.
SECTION 3. The board of selectmen shall consist of three members elected by the voters of the town. At each annual election one selectman shall be elected each year for a term of three years.
SECTION 4. The board of selectmen shall appoint the members of multi-member boards, committees and commissions except those appointed by the town administrator as provided herein.
SECTION 5. The selectmen elected as provided herein shall appoint, as soon as practicable, for a three year term, a town administrator who shall be especially fitted by education, training and experience to perform the duties of said office. The town administrator shall be appointed without regard to his political affiliation and beliefs. He shall be a citizen of the United States and need not be a resident of the town or the commonwealth when appointed, but shall become a resident of the town during the first year of his appointment unless otherwise provided by the board of selectmen. He shall possess at least a bachelor's degree and shall have had three years of full-time paid experience in a supervisory administrative position. A masters degree may substitute for not more than two years of such paid experience. No person holding elective office in the town shall, within three years of holding such office, be eligible for an appointment as town administrator. The town administrator may be appointed for successive terms of office. Before entering upon the duties of his office, he shall be sworn, in the presence of a majority of the selectmen, to the faithful and impartial performance thereof by the town clerk or a notary public. He shall execute a bond in favor of the town for the faithful performance of his duties in such sum and with such sureties as may be fixed or approved by the board of selectmen, the cost of which shall be borne by the town.
SECTION 6. Any person appointed by the town administrator to any town office under the provisions of this act or any general or special law shall be eligible during the term of said office to be appointed to any other town office. The town administrator, subject to any applicable provision of the General Laws relating thereto, may assume the duties of any office which he is authorized to fill by appointment.
SECTION 7. Any vacancy in the office of town administrator shall be filled as soon as possible by the board of selectmen. Pending the appointment of a town administrator or the filling of any vacancy, said board of selectmen shall, within seven days, appoint a suitable person to perform the duties of the office.
SECTION 8. The town administrator may designate, subject to the approval of the board of selectmen, by letter filed with the town clerk, a qualified officer of the town to perform his duties during his temporary absence or disability. In the event of failure of the administrator to make such designation, said board of selectmen may, by resolution, designate an officer of the town to perform the duties of the administrator until he shall return or his disability shall cease.
SECTION 9. The board of selectmen, by a two-thirds vote may remove the town administrator. At least thirty days before such proposed removal shall become effective, said board of selectmen shall file a written preliminary resolution of removal with the town clerk setting forth in detail the specific reasons for the proposed removal, a copy of said resolution shall be delivered to said town administrator. The administrator may, within ten days of service of such resolution reply in writing to the resolution and may request a public hearing. Service shall be deemed to have been accomplished by leaving a copy of such resolution at said administrator's last known abode. If said administrator so requests, said board of selectmen shall hold a public hearing not earlier than twenty nor later than thirty days after the filing of such request. After such public hearing, if any, otherwise at the expiration of thirty days following the filing of the preliminary resolution, and after full consideration, said board of selectmen, by a two-thirds vote of the full membership of said board, may adopt a final resolution of removal. In the preliminary resolution, said board of selectmen may suspend said administrator from duty but shall in any case, cause his salary to be paid during the period of consideration of the preliminary resolution and until the vote on the final resolution.
SECTION 10. The town administrator shall receive such compensation for his services as the board of selectmen shall determine but it shall not exceed the amount appropriated therefor by the town.
SECTION 11. The town administrator with the approval of the board of selectmen shall appoint all other town officials whose appointment or election is not specifically provided for herein. Said town administrator shall appoint with majority approval of said board of selectmen, and may remove with the majority approval of said board of selectmen, subject to the provisions of chapter thirty-one of the General Laws where applicable, all department heads, all officers and all subordinates and employees for whom no other method of appointment is provided in this act, except persons serving under other elected agencies and appointments made by representatives of the commonwealth. Appointments to permanent positions made by said town administrator shall become effective on the fifteenth day following the day notice of appointment is filed with said board of selectmen, unless said board of selectmen shall, within that period, by a majority vote of the full board, vote to reject any such appointment.
SECTION 12. In addition to the specific powers and duties provided in this act, the town administrator shall have the general powers and duties enumerated in this section as follows:
(a) The town administrator shall supervise and be responsible for the efficient administration of all departments, commissions, boards and offices, except the board of selectmen; provided, however, that said town administrator shall not exercise any control over the discretionary power vested by statute in any such board, committee, commission or officer.
(b) Said town administrator, with the approval of the board of selectmen and in accordance with the provisions of this act and the General Laws, may reorganize, consolidate or abolish departments, commissions, boards or offices under his direction and supervision, in whole or in part, may establish such new departments, commissions, boards or offices as he deems necessary, and may transfer the powers and duties of one department, commission, board or office to another.
(c) Except as otherwise provided by this act, said town administrator shall appoint upon merit and fitness alone and, subject to the provisions of chapter thirty-one of the General Laws where applicable, may remove all officers and employees of the town; provided, however, that town officers and employees not subject to the provisions of said chapter thirty-one shall not be removed by him except on ten days notice, in writing, setting forth the cause of such removal.
(d) Said town administrator shall attend all regular meetings of the board of selectmen except meetings at which his removal is being considered.
(e) Said town administrator shall keep full and complete records of his office and shall render, as often as may be required by the board of selectmen, a full report of all operations during the period reported on.
(f) Said town administrator shall keep the board of selectmen fully advised as to the needs of the town and shall recommend to the board of selectmen for adoption such measures requiring action by them or by the town as he may deem necessary or expedient.
(g) Said town administrator shall have jurisdiction over the rental and use of all town property and shall be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all town buildings. He shall be responsible for the preparation of plans and the supervision of construction, reconstruction, alterations, improvements and other undertakings authorized by the town unless otherwise assigned by the town meeting.
(h) Said town administrator shall be responsible for the purchase of all supplies and materials and equipment, except books and other media for the library, and shall approve the award of all contracts for all departments of the town. He shall make purchases for departments not under his supervision only upon and in accordance with requisitions duly signed by the heads of such departments.
(i) Said town administrator shall administer either directly or through a person or persons appointed by him in accordance with this act, all provisions of general and special laws applicable to the town, all by-laws and votes of the town and all regulations established by the board of selectmen.
(j) Said town administrator shall, with the approval of the board of selectmen, have authority to prosecute, defend or compromise all litigation to which the town is party and shall be the executive officer of a public employer in the town as defined in section one of chapter two hundred and fifty-eight of the General Laws pertaining to the processing of claims against the town.
(k) Said town administrator shall be the agent of the board of selectmen for collective bargaining and may employ special counsel to assist him in the performance of these duties.
(l) Said town administrator shall attend all town meetings and shall be permitted to speak when recognized by the moderator.
(m) Said town administrator shall be responsible for the implementation of town meeting votes and shall report annually in writing to the town meeting on the status of prior town meeting votes on which implementation is not complete.
(n) Said town administrator shall be accessible and available for consultation to chairmen of boards, committees and commissions of the town, whether appointed or elected, and shall make accessible and available to them all data and records of his office as may be requested in connection with their official duties.
(o) Said town administrator shall perform such other duties consistent with his office as may be required of him by the by-laws of the town or by the vote of the board of selectmen or town meeting.
SECTION 13. The town administrator may without notice cause the affairs of any division or department under his supervision or the job related conduct of any officer or employee thereof to be examined. Said town administrator shall have access to all town books and papers for information necessary for the proper performance of his duties.
SECTION 14. The town administrator shall be the chief fiscal officer of the town. Warrants for the payment of town funds prepared by the town treasurer in accordance with the provisions of section fifty-six of chapter forty-one of the General Laws shall be submitted to said town administrator. The approval of any such warrant by said town administrator shall be sufficient authority to authorize payment by the town treasurer but the board of selectmen shall approve all warrants in the event of a vacancy in the office of town administrator.
SECTION 15. At least ninety days prior to the annual town meeting, the town administrator shall submit to the board of selectmen a detailed estimate, in writing, of the probable expenditures of the town government for the ensuing fiscal year, stating the amount required to meet the interest and maturing bonds and notes or other outstanding indebtedness of the town, and showing specifically the amount necessary to be provided for each fund and department, together with a statement of the expenditures of the town for the same purposes in the preceding year and an estimate of the expenditures for the current year. Further, he shall submit a statement showing all revenues received by the town in the preceding fiscal year together with an estimate of the receipts of the current year and an estimate of the amount of income from all sources of revenue exclusive of taxes upon property in the ensuing year. He shall report the probable amount required to be levied and raised by taxation to defray all expenses and liabilities of the town together with an estimate of the tax rate necessary to raise said amount. For the purpose of enabling the town administrator to make up the annual estimates of expenditures, all boards, officers and committees of the town shall, at least one hundred and twenty days prior to the annual town meeting, furnish all information in their possession and submit to him in writing a detailed estimate of the appropriations required for the efficient and proper conduct of their respective departments during the next fiscal year.
SECTION 16. The board of selectmen shall consider the tentative budget submitted by the town administrator and make such recommendations relative thereto as it deems expedient and proper in the interests of the town. On or before the seventy-fifth day prior to the annual town meeting, the board of selectmen shall transmit a copy of the budget, together with their recommendations relative thereto, to each member of the finance committee.
SECTION 17. All laws, by-laws, votes, rules and regulations, whether enacted by authority of the town or any other authority, which are in force in the town of Becket on the effective date of this act, or any portion or portions thereof, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, shall continue in full force and effect until otherwise provided by other laws, by-laws, votes, rules and regulations, respectively. All other laws, by-laws, votes, rules and regulations so far as they refer to said town of Becket, are hereby suspended but such suspension shall not revive any pre-existing enactment.
SECTION 18. No contract existing and no action at law or suit in equity, or other proceeding pending at the time this act is accepted, or at the time of revocation of such acceptance, shall be affected by such acceptance or revocation except that, upon revocation, any contract made by the town with the town administrator then in office shall be terminated immediately upon such vote.
SECTION 19. Any person holding a town office or employment under the town shall retain such office or employment and shall continue to perform his duties until provisions shall have been made in accordance with this act for the performance of said duties by another person or agency. No person in the permanent full-time service or employment of the town shall forfeit his pay grade or time in service. Each such person shall be retained in a capacity as similar to his former capacity as is practical.
SECTION 20. This act shall be submitted for acceptance to the voters of the town of Becket at the annual town meeting to be held in the year nineteen hundred and ninety in the form of the following question, which shall be placed upon the official ballot to be used for the election of town officers at said meeting:- "Shall an act passed by the General Court in the year nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, entitled 'An Act establishing a board of selectmen-administrator form of government in the town of Becket', be accepted " If the majority of votes cast in answer to said question is in the affirmative, said act shall take effect but not otherwise. If this act is not accepted in the year nineteen hundred and ninety by the voters of the town at said town meeting, it shall again be submitted at the annual town meeting in the year nineteen hundred and ninety-one and, if accepted, shall take full effect but not otherwise.