Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The voters of the town of Lee shall, in accordance with any applicable general or special law or by-law or vote of the town, continue to elect the following: (a) town meeting members, (b) moderator, (c) board of selectmen, (d) school committee members, (e) housing authority, (f) assessors, (g) planning board members, (h) community development corporation members, (i) town clerk, (j) town treasurer, (k) tax collector, (l) board of health, (m) constables.
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 hereafter provided by applicable provisions of any general law, special law, 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 the town administrator for consultation, conference and discussion on matters relating to their respective offices.
SECTION 2. The board of selectmen shall consist of three members elected by the voters of the town. Selectmen in office at the time of the approval of this act shall serve until the term of which they were elected shall have expired.
SECTION 3. The board of selectmen shall appoint town counsel, members of all appointed multi-member boards, committees and commissions except those appointed by the moderator and the town administrator as herein provided.
The moderator shall appoint the finance committee, as provided by by-law, and such committees and officers as he may now or hereafter be directed to appoint by any applicable general law, special law, by-law or vote of the town meeting.
SECTION 4. A member of the board of selectmen, or the finance committee shall during the term for which he was elected or appointed be ineligible either by election or appointment to hold any other compensated town office, other than that of town meeting member. Nothing in this section shall preclude the members of the board of selectmen from serving on appointed ad hoc committees.
SECTION 5. The board of selectmen shall, by unanimous vote, appoint, as soon as practicable, for an indefinite term, a town administrator who shall be qualified by education, training and previous full-time experience to perform the duties of the office. In its search for a town administrator, the board of selectmen shall advertise in the International City Management Newsletter or similar professional publication and in at least one newspaper having statewide or regional circulation. The town administrator shall be appointed without regard to his political designation. He need not be a resident of the town or the commonwealth when appointed, but shall become a resident of Berkshire county during the first year of his appointment unless otherwise provided by the board of selectmen. He shall have a college degree at the bachelor level and shall have had five years of full-time paid experience in a supervisory administrative position in the public sector. A masters degree may be substituted for not more than two years of such paid experience. No person holding elective office in the town with the exception of town meeting members shall, within three years of holding such office, be eligible for appointment as town administrator. Before entering upon the duties of his office, he shall be sworn to the faithful and impartial performance thereof by 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. 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 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, the board of selectmen shall, within seven days, appoint an officer of the town or another 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, an officer of the town, or another suitable person, to perform his duties during his temporary absence or disability. In the event of failure by the administrator to make such designation, the board of selectmen may, by resolution, designate an officer of the town or another suitable person to perform the duties of the administrator until he shall return or his disability shall cease.
SECTION 9. The board of selectmen may remove the town administrator. At least thirty days before such proposed removal shall become effective, the board of selectmen shall adopt at a public meeting and shall file with the town clerk a written preliminary resolution of removal, a copy of which resolution shall be delivered to the town administrator in person or at the administrator's last known mailing address. The administrator may, within seven days of service of such resolution, reply in writing to the resolution and may request a public hearing. If the town administrator so requests, the board of selectmen shall hold a public hearing not earlier than fourteen days nor later than twenty-one days after the filing of such a request. At such a public hearing, if any, otherwise at the expiration of thirty days following the filing of the preliminary resolution, the selectmen may adopt a final resolution of removal. In the preliminary resolution, the board of selectmen may suspend the administrator from duty, but in any case his salary shall continue to be paid during the period of consideration of the preliminary resolution and until thirty additional days after the vote of the final resolution.
SECTION 10. The town administrator shall appoint all town officials whose appointment or election is not specifically provided for herein. The town administrator shall appoint with majority approval of the board of selectmen, and may remove with the majority approval of the 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 appointments made by representatives of the commonwealth. Appointments to permanent positions made by the town administrator shall become effective on the fifteenth day following the day the notice of appointment is filed with the board of selectmen, unless the board of selectmen shall, within that period, by a majority vote of the board, vote to reject any such appointment.
Any person appointed by the town administrator to any town office under the provisions of this act of any general or special law shall be eligible during the term of said office to hold any other town office except that the town accountant shall not be eligible to hold the position of town treasurer or town collector. The town administrator, subject to any applicable provision of the General Laws relating thereto, may, with the approval of the board of selectmen, assume the duties of any office which he is authorized to fill by appointment, but shall receive no additional compensation for assuming the duties of any such additional office.
SECTION 11. In addition to specific powers and duties provided in this act, the town administrator shall have the general powers and duties enumerated in this section:
(a) The town administrator shall attend all regular meetings of the board of selectmen except meetings at which his removal is being considered, and shall attend all town meetings and shall be permitted to speak when recognized by the moderator.
(b) The town administrator shall be the chief fiscal officer of the town. Warrants for the payment of town funds prepared by the town accountant in accordance with the provision of section fifty-six of chapter forty-one of the General Laws shall be submitted to the town administrator. The approval of any such warrant by the town administrator shall be sufficient authority to authorize payment by the town treasurer but the board of selectmen shall approve all warrants in the absence of the administrator or in the event of a vacancy in the office of town administrator.
(c) The town administrator shall be the chief budget officer of the town, and shall prepare and submit to the board of selectmen, an operating and capital improvement budget, as provided by by-law.
(d) Except as otherwise provided by this act, the 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; 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.
(e) The town administrator shall supervise and be responsible for the efficient administration of all departments, commissions, boards and officers, except the board of selectmen. He shall not, however, exercise any control over the discretionary power vested by statute in any such board, committee, commission or officer.
(f) The town administrator shall keep the board of selectmen fully advised as to the needs of the town and shall recommend to the selectmen for adoption such measures requiring action by them or by the town meeting as he may deem necessary or expedient.
(g) The town administrator shall have jurisdiction over the rental and use of all town property.
(h) The town administrator shall be responsible for the purchase of all supplies and materials and equipment, except those intended for the school department or for the library, and shall approve the award of all contracts for all departments of the town. He may make purchases for departments not under this supervision only upon and in accordance with requisitions duly signed by the heads of such departments.
(i) The 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) The town administrator may, upon the request and with the approval of the board of selectmen, 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) The town administrator shall be the agent of the board of selectmen for collective bargaining.
(l) The town administrator shall be responsible for the implementation of town meeting votes and shall report annually in writing to the town meeting on the implementation of prior town meeting votes.
(m) The town administrator shall be accessible and available for consultation to boards, committees and commissions of the town, whether appointed or elected, and shall be responsive to their request for assistance.
(n) The town administrator shall keep full and complete records of his office, and shall provide quarterly reports to the board of selectmen.
(o) The town administrator, with the unanimous approval of the members of the board of selectmen and in accordance with the provisions of this act and the General Laws, may reorganize, consolidate or abolish departments or offices under his direction and supervision, in whole or in part, may establish such new departments or offices as he deems necessary, and may transfer the powers and duties of one department or office to another.
(p) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter four hundred and thirty-eight of the acts of nineteen hundred and seventy, the town administrator shall be an ex officio member of the board of public works established by said act with all the privileges of membership, except the power to vote.
(q) The town administrator shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by by-law, by vote of the board of selectmen, or vote of the town meeting.
SECTION 12. The town administrator may without notice cause the affairs of any department under his supervision or the job-related conduct of any officer or employee thereof to be examined. The town administrator shall have access to all town books and papers for information necessary for the proper performance of his duties.
SECTION 13. 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 Lee 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.
SECTION 14. 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 under revocation any contract made by the town with the town administrator then in office shall be terminated upon such vote.
SECTION 15. No person in the permanent full-time service or employment of the town shall forfeit his pay, grade or time in service. Each person shall be retained in a capacity as similar to his former capacity as is practical.
SECTION 16. This act shall be submitted for acceptance to the voters of the town of Lee at the annual town elections to be held in the year nineteen hundred and ninety-one in the form of the following question, which shall be placed upon the official ballot: "Shall an act passed by the General Court in the year nineteen hundred and ninety, entitled 'An Act Establishing a Selectmen-Administrator Form of Government in the Town of Lee' be accepted "
If a majority of the votes 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-one, it shall again be submitted at the annual town election in the year nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and if accepted shall take full effect but not otherwise.
SECTION 17. The town may vote to establish a charter commission for the purpose of considering the appointment or election of persons to the positions of clerk, treasurer, and collector, along with any other matters it may deem necessary. Said vote shall include directions for notice of public meetings to be held by the charter commission, and shall set deadlines for the commission's findings and recommendations, and any other necessary directions to maximize public input in the charter commission's deliberations.