Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The charter of the city of Lowell, which is on file in the office of the archivist of the commonwealth as provided in section twelve of chapter forty-three B of the General Laws, is hereby amended by striking out section 31 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 31. The school committee shall consist of seven members elected at large for a term of two years. The member who receives the largest number of votes at the general municipal election shall serve as chairperson of the school committee, and the member who receives the second largest number of votes at the general municipal election shall serve as vice-chairperson. If the office of chairperson becomes vacant it shall be filled by the vice-chairperson and the school committee shall elect one of its members to fill the office of vice-chairperson for the remainder of its term.
SECTION 2. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out sections 95 to 100, inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following five sections:-
Section 95. The government of the city and the general management and control of all its affairs shall, except as otherwise provided in this charter, be vested in a city council, which shall exercise its powers in the manner hereinafter set forth, but subject to sections one to forty-five, inclusive, insofar as not inconsistent; except that the mayor shall have the authority hereinafter specified that the general management and conduct of the public schools of the city and of the property pertaining thereto shall be vested in the school committee, and that the city clerk, the city auditor, any official of the city appointed by the governor and any trustees or other officers whose election by the voters of the city is required by reason of the fact that the city has accepted any gift, devise or bequest shall have the powers and duties which may be conferred and imposed upon them by law.
Section 96. The city council shall consist of nine members, all of whom shall, at each regular municipal election, be elected at large for terms of two years each and shall serve until their successors are qualified. Section eight of chapter thirty-nine of the General Laws shall apply to members of the city council.
Section 97. The city council, elected as aforesaid, shall meet at ten o'clock in the forenoon of the first Monday of January following the regular municipal election, and the members of the city council shall severally make oath, before the city clerk or a justice of the peace, to perform faithfully the duties of their respective offices, except that any member-elect not present shall so make oath at the first regular meeting of the city council thereafter which he attends. For the purposes of organization, the city clerk shall be temporary chairperson until the chairperson or vice-chairperson has qualified. The member who receives the largest number of votes at the general municipal election shall serve as chairperson of the city council, and the member who receives the second largest number of votes at the general municipal election shall serve as vice-chairperson. The persons elected as such shall likewise make oath to perform faithfully the duties of the respective offices to which they are so elected, and they may so make oath at the same meeting at which they are so elected. The organization of the city council shall take place as aforesaid, notwithstanding the absence, death, refusal to serve or non-election of one or more of the members; provided, however, that a majority of all the members elected to the city council are present and have qualified. If the office of chairperson becomes vacant it shall be filled by the vice-chairperson and the city council shall elect one of its members to fill the office of vice-chairperson for the remainder of its term.
Section 98. The city council shall fix suitable times for its regular meetings. The chairperson or the vice-chairperson of the city council, or any four members thereof, may at any time call a special meeting by causing written notices, stating the time of holding such meeting and signed by the person or persons calling the same, to be delivered in hand to each member of the city council, or left at his usual dwelling place, at least twelve hours before the time of such meeting.
Meeting of the city council may also be held at any time when all the members of the city council are present and consent thereto, provided such meeting is in compliance with section twenty-three B of chapter thirty-nine of the General Laws. Except in the cases of executive sessions authorized by section twenty-three A of said chapter thirty-nine, all meetings of the city council shall be open to the public, and the rules of the city council shall provide that citizens and employees of the city shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard at any such meeting in regard to any matter considered thereat.
Section 99. A majority of all the members elected to the city council shall constitute a quorum. The chairperson, if present, shall preside at the meetings and may vote. In the absence of the chairperson, the vice-chairperson of the city council shall preside and, in the absence of both, a temporary chairperson shall be chosen, who shall serve during the absence of both the chairperson and the vice-chairperson. The city clerk shall be, ex officio, clerk of the city council, and shall keep records of its proceedings; but, in case of absence, disability or a vacancy in the office of said city clerk, the assistant city clerk shall perform the duties of clerk of the city council, who shall be sworn to the faithful discharge of his duties and shall act as clerk of the city council until the city clerk resumes his duties or a new clerk is qualified. All final votes of the city council on questions involving the expenditure of fifty dollars or more, or upon the request of any member, any vote of the city council, shall be by yeas and nays and shall be entered on the records. The affirmative vote of a majority of all the members elected to the city council shall be necessary for the passage of any order, ordinance, resolution or vote, except that the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present shall be sufficient to adjourn any meeting of the city council.
SECTION 3. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out sections 102 to 107, inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following six sections:-
Section 102. A vacancy in any elective body therein shall be filled forthwith for the unexpired term by the remaining members of the body concerned, who shall choose whichever of the defeated candidates who are eligible and willing to serve, and who received the highest number of votes for membership in the body in which the vacancy occurs at the last regular municipal election at which members of said body were elected.
Section 103. There shall be a mayor, elected by and from the qualified voters of the city, who shall be the chief executive officer of the city. He shall hold office for the term of two years from the first Monday of January following his election, and until his successor is qualified. The provisions of section forty-four C of chapter forty-three of the General Laws shall apply to candidates for the office of mayor.
If a vacancy occurs in the office of the mayor by death, resignation, inability to serve, or otherwise, during the first twelve months of his term, then the city council shall order a special election to fill the same for the unexpired term; and if a vacancy occurs in said office of the mayor by death, resignation, inability to serve, or otherwise, during the last twelve months of his term, then the chairperson of the city council shall perform the duties of mayor during the remainder of said term; except that the chairperson, while acting as mayor, shall not be able to make any permanent appointments to the city departments.
Every order, ordinance, resolution and vote relative to the affairs of the city, adopted or passed by the city council, shall be presented to the mayor for his approval. If he approves it, he shall sign it; if he disapproves it, he shall return it, with his written objections, to the city council, which shall enter the objections at large on its records, and again consider it. If the city council, notwithstanding such disapproval of the mayor, shall again pass such order, ordinance, resolution or vote by a two-thirds vote of all its members, it shall then be in force, but such vote shall not be taken for seven days after its return to the city council.
Every such order, ordinance, resolution and vote shall be in force if not returned by the mayor within ten days after it has been presented to him. This section shall not apply to budgets submitted under section thirty-two of chapter forty-four of the General Laws or to appropriations by a city council under section thirty-three of said chapter.
Section 104. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this charter, it shall be the duty of the mayor to act as chief conservator of the peace within the city; to supervise the administration of the affairs of the city; to see that within the city the laws of the commonwealth and the ordinances, resolutions and regulations of the city council are faithfully executed; and to make such recommendations to the city council concerning the affairs of the city as may to him seem desirable; to make reports to the city council from time to time upon the affairs of the city; and to keep the city council fully advised of the city's financial condition and its future needs. He shall prepare and submit to the city council budgets as required of the mayor by section thirty-two of chapter forty-four of the General Laws and, in connection therewith, may, to the extent provided by this amended charter and, in connection therewith, may require the submission to him, by all departments, commissions, boards and offices for the city, of estimates of the amounts necessary for their expenses. He shall make all appointments and removals in the departments, commissions, boards and offices of the city for whose administration he is responsible, except as otherwise provided in this charter, and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this charter or be required of him by ordinance or resolution of the city council. The mayor shall have and possess, and shall exercise, all the powers, rights, and duties, other than legislative, had, possessed or exercised, immediately prior to the adoption of this amended charter, by the city manager.
Section 105. Such officers and employees as the city council with the advice of the mayor, shall determine are necessary for the proper administration of the departments, commissions, boards and offices of the city for whose administration the mayor is responsible shall be appointed, and may be removed, by the mayor. The mayor shall report every appointment and removal made by him to the city council at the next meeting thereof following such appointment or removal. The mayor may authorize the head of a department, commission or board, or the holder of any office, for whose administration he is responsible, to appoint and remove subordinates in such department, commission, board or office. All appointments by, or under the authority of, the mayor, if subject to chapter thirty-one of the General Laws and the rules and regulations made under authority thereof, shall be made in accordance therewith, and all other appointments as aforesaid shall be on the basis of executive and administrative ability and training and experience in the work to be performed.
Section 106. Officers and employees of the city appointed by, or under the authority of, the mayor shall perform the duties required of them by the mayor, under general regulations of the city council. Any violation of this section shall constitute sufficient grounds for removal of any such officer or employee.
Section 107. Neither the city council nor any of its committees or members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to, or his removal from, office by the mayor or any of his subordinates, or in any manner take part in the appointment or removal of officers and employees in that portion of the service of said city for whose administration the mayor is responsible. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the city council and its members shall deal with that portion of the service of the city as aforesaid solely through the mayor, and neither the city council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinate of the mayor either publicly or privately. Any member of the city council who violates, or participates in the violation of, any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both, and upon final conviction thereof his office in the city council shall thereby be vacated and he shall never again be eligible for any office or position, elective or otherwise, in the service of the city.
SECTION 4. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 109 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 109. The regular municipal election under this plan shall take place on the Tuesday next following the first Monday of November in every odd numbered year, the mayor, all members of the city council, the school committee and any board of trustees or other officers referred to in section ninety-five, and no others, shall be elected at each such election.
SECTION 5. Compensation of the elected mayor under this act shall be the same compensation as paid to the city manager under the Plan E Charter, until amended by ordinance.
SECTION 6. Compensation of the chairperson of the city council shall be the same compensation as paid to the mayor under the Plan E Charter, until amended by ordinance. Compensation of the chairperson of the school committee shall be the same compensation as paid to other members of the school committee until amended by ordinance.
SECTION 7. All other provisions of the charter of the city of Lowell, not inconsistent herewith, shall remain in force and effect until the same are repealed or amended.
SECTION 8. This act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the city of Lowell at the state election to be held on the eighth day of November, nineteen hundred and ninety-four, in the form of the following which shall be placed upon the official ballot.
"Shall an act passed by the general court in the year nineteen hundred and ninety-four entitled 'An Act amending the Charter of the City of Lowell' be accepted "
If a majority of the votes cast in answer to said question is in the affirmative then the provisions of this act shall take effect in the city of Lowell as provided in section nine.
A fair, concise summary of this act as determined by the city solicitor shall appear on the ballot as provided in section fifty-eight A of chapter fifty-four of the General Laws.
SECTION 9. Upon acceptance of this act by the voters of the city of Lowell, this act shall thereupon take effect for the regular city election to be held on November seventh, nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and for the preliminary election for nominations to be held on October tenth, nineteen hundred and ninety-five; and it shall take effect for all other purposes at ten o'clock in the forenoon of the first Monday of January, nineteen hundred and ninety-six.
SECTION 10. Except as otherwise provided herein, this act shall take effect upon its passage.