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  • Acts
  • 1997
  • Chapter 34 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A TOWN MANAGER IN THE TOWN OF COHASSET.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Upon the effective date of this act, the town of Cohasset shall be governed by the provisions of this act.

SECTION 2. Upon the effective date of this act, the registered voters of the town of Cohasset shall, in accordance with any applicable laws, bylaws, votes of the town, or interlocal agreement continue to elect the following:

(a) selectmen

(b) town moderator

(c) town clerk

(d) school committee

(e) trustees of the Paul Pratt Memorial Library

(f) assessors

(g) board of health

(h) Cohasset Housing Authority

(i) planning board

(j) recreation commission

(k) sewer commissioners

(l) water commissioners

The powers, duties and responsibilities of elected and appointed officials shall be as now or hereafter provided by applicable provisions of General Laws, special acts, bylaws and votes 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 manager for consultation, conference and discussion on matters relating to their respective offices. The town manager may require all such officials, except the selectmen, to prepare reports for the town manager necessary for the administration of any of his responsibilities.

SECTION 3. (A) The board of selectmen of the town of Cohasset shall consist of five persons elected by the voters of the town. The term of each member of said board of selectmen shall not exceed three years. Said board of selectmen will be required to annually elect a chairperson from among its members. The executive powers of the town shall be vested in the board of selectmen, who shall have all the powers given to boards of selectmen by the General Laws. Said board of selectmen shall serve as the chief goal setting, and policy-making body of the town and as such shall not normally administer the day-to-day affairs of the town. Said board of selectmen shall act through the adoption of policy directives and guidelines which are to be implemented by the town manager and by other officers and employees appointed by or under its authority.

(B) Said board of selectmen shall have the power to enact rules and regulations to implement policies and to issue interpretations of said rules and regulations.

(C) Said board of selectmen shall exercise, through the town manager, general supervision over all matters affecting the interests or welfare of the town.

(D) Said board of selectmen shall appoint the town manager, town counsel, and assistant or special counsels and all members of committees, boards, and commissions except those appointed by the moderator, elected by the voters, or as otherwise appointed by bylaw. They may make appointments to all positions and committees they create for special or general purposes.

(E) Said board of selectmen shall have general administrative oversight of such boards, committees, positions, or commissions appointed by the board of selectmen.

(F) Said board of selectmen shall have the responsibility and authority for licenses and other nonpersonnel related functions as provided by the General Laws and the bylaws of said town of Cohasset.

(G) Said board of selectmen shall be responsible for the preparation of all town meeting warrants.

(H) Said board of selectmen shall review the annual proposed budget submitted by the town manager and make recommendations with respect thereto as they deem advisable. The town manager shall present the budget, incorporating the recommendations of said board of selectmen, to the advisory committee and the town meeting.

(I) Said board of selectmen, by a majority vote of its full membership, shall appoint a town manager who shall be a professionally qualified person especially fitted by education, training, and previous full-time experience to perform the duties of the office. He shall be a citizen of the United States. The town may from time to time, by bylaw, establish such additional qualifications as seem necessary and appropriate. Said board of selectmen shall enter into a formal contract with the town manager and may set a job description for the town manager which shall take precedence over any personnel bylaws.

The town manager may be appointed for successive terms of office, no term of which shall be more than three years. Before entering upon the duties of his office, he shall be sworn in the presence of a majority of said board of 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 of Cohasset for the faithful performance of his duties in such sums and with such sureties as may be fixed and approved by said board of selectmen, the cost for which will be borne by the town.

No person holding elective or appointive office in the town shall within one year of holding such office be eligible to be appointed to the position of town manager.

(J) Said board of selectmen, by a majority vote may remove the town manager. At least 30 days before such removal shall be effective, the board of selectmen shall file a preliminary written resolution with the town clerk setting forth in detail the specific reasons for the proposed removal, a copy of which resolution shall be delivered to the town manager.

Said town manager may reply in writing to the resolution and may request a public hearing. If said town manager so requests, the board of selectmen shall hold a public hearing not earlier than 14 days nor later than 30 days after the filing of such request. Following such public hearing or, if none, at the expiration of 30 days following the filing of the preliminary resolution, said board of selectmen may adopt a final resolution of removal. As part of the preliminary resolution, said board of selectmen may suspend said town manager from duty. Nothing contained herein shall limit the authority of said board of selectmen to suspend or remove said town manager as provided by state law. Any suspension may be with or without pay.

(K) Said board of selectmen shall set the compensation for said town manager, not to exceed an amount appropriated by the town meeting.

(L) Said board of selectmen shall designate a qualified person to serve as acting town manager and to perform the duties of the office during any period of vacancy exceeding 30 days, caused by the manager's absence, illness, suspension, removal or resignation.

SECTION 4. (A) The town manager shall be the chief administrative officer of the town and shall be responsible to the board of selectmen for the effective management of all town affairs placed in the manager's charge by this act, said board of selectmen, by bylaw, or vote of town meeting, and for the implementation of town policies placed in the manager's charge by said board of selectmen.

Said town manager shall devote his full working time to the duties of the office, and shall not engage in any business activity during his term, except with the written consent of said board of selectmen.

(B) Said town manager shall be the chief financial officer of the town, and shall be responsible for the design and preparation of the annual budget, filing grant applications, and controlling budget expenditures, including approval of the warrants for the payment of town funds prepared by the town accountant in accordance with the provision of section 56 of chapter 41 of the General Laws. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing the town manager shall have the following specific budgetary powers:

(i) Said town manager shall submit to said board of selectmen a written proposed budget for town government for the ensuing fiscal year, including the budget as proposed by the school committee. The proposed budget shall detail all estimated revenue from all sources, and all proposed expenditures, including debt service for the previous, current, and ensuing years. It shall include proposed expenditures for both current operations and capital projects during the ensuing year, detailed by agency, department, committee, purpose, and position, together with estimated revenues and free cash available at the close of the fiscal year, including estimated balances in special accounts. The town may, by bylaw, establish additional financial information and reports to be provided by said town manager.

(ii) Said town manager shall report on 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 such amount.

(iii) The calendar dates on or before which the proposed budget, revenue statement, and tax rate are to be submitted to said board of selectmen, shall be 30 days prior to the date the budget is required to be submitted to the advisory board as specified by bylaw, action of the advisory board, or powers of the board of assessors.

(iv) To assist said town manager in preparing the proposed annual budget of revenue and expenditures, all boards, officers, and committees of the town, including the school committee, shall furnish all relevant information in their possession and submit to the town manager, in writing in such form as the town manager shall establish, a detailed estimate of the appropriations required and available funds.

(v) Said town manager shall submit annually to said board of selectmen a five year capital improvements program.

(C) In addition to specific powers and duties provided by this act, said town manager shall have the powers and duties set forth in this section:

(i) Said town manager shall supervise all town departments under the jurisdiction of said board of selectmen and direct the operation of the town.

(ii) Said town manager shall be responsible for coordination of operational and strategic planning for the town.

(iii) Said town manager shall appoint the police chief, fire chief, town treasurer/collector, town accountant, department of public works superintendent, health agent, chief librarian, superintendent of wires, building inspector/zoning officer, plumbing and gas inspector, constable, harbor master, and the tree, park and cemetery superintendent; and any other positions normally appointed by said board of selectmen and subordinates and employees under the direct supervision of said town manager as well as officers, subordinates and employees for whom no other method of selection is provided in this act, except employees of the school department. Said town manager may appoint such ad hoc committees as he deems necessary.

Employees not protected by civil service law or union contract shall have the right to appeal the town manager's decision to discharge. Said appeal shall be initiated by filing a written notice of appeal with the town manager within ten calendar days after receiving notice of such discharge. Said appeal shall be conducted pursuant to the personnel bylaw and procedures of the personnel committee.

Appointments made by said town manager of department heads shall become effective on the fifteenth day following the day notice of the appointment is filed with said board of selectmen or other appointing authority unless said board of selectmen or other appointing authority shall within that period, by a majority of its members present and voting, vote to reject the said appointment or removal. Within said 15 day period, said board of selectmen or the appointing authority may, by a majority of its members present and voting, vote to waive its power to reject the appointment, whereupon the appointment shall become effective immediately.

Appointments by said town manager for all positions except department heads shall become effective immediately.

(iv) Said town manager, subject to any applicable provisions of the General Laws relating thereto, may assume, temporarily, the duties of any office which said town manager is authorized to fill by appointment.

(v) Said town manager shall:

(a) Attend all meetings of said board of selectmen, except when excused, having the right to speak but not vote; and attend all annual and special town meetings and shall be permitted to speak when recognized by the moderator.

(b) Administer, either directly or through a person or persons appointed by him in accordance with this act, all provisions of General Laws and special acts applicable to the town, all town bylaws, and all regulations established by said board of selectmen.

(c) Be responsible for seeing that the budget is administered as adopted by the town meeting and in accordance with the General Laws, this act and bylaws.

(d) Keep said board of selectmen fully informed regarding all departmental operations, fiscal affairs, general problems, and administrative actions, and to this end shall submit periodic reports to said board of selectmen.

(e) Keep said board of selectmen informed regarding the availability of federal and state funds and how such funds might relate to unmet long-range needs.

(f) Prepare applications for all town grants.

(g) Be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the town's personnel system, personnel evaluation policies, and practices, enforcement of labor contracts, labor relations, collective bargaining and state and federal equal opportunities law compliance functions of the town.

(h) Negotiate collective bargaining contracts unless said board of selectmen designates another negotiator.

(i) Be responsible for the purchasing for all town functions and departments, pursuant to chapter 30B of the General Laws, and all other applicable statutes, procedures, and bylaws. Said town manager, shall at the request of the school committee, delegate such duties for school department purchasing to an employee of the school committee as per the requirements of said chapter 30B.

(j) Coordinate the activities of any board, commission, and committee, concerned with long-range municipal planning, including physical or economic development, and environmental or resource protection of the town.

(k) Manage and be responsible for all town buildings, property, and facilities, except those under the jurisdiction of the school committee, sewer commission, or water commission, unless requested by those agencies. He shall, to these ends, develop, keep and annually update a full and complete inventory of all property of the town, both real and personal.

(l) Distribute, or cause to be distributed, copies of the warrant for the annual town meeting to the residences of all registered voters of the town.

(m) Have the authority to sign payroll and accounts payable warrants concerning the everyday operation of the town.

(n) Upon request and with the approval of said board of selectmen, prosecute, defend, or compromise all litigation to which the town is party.

(o) Advise said board of selectmen of all matters requiring action by them or by the town.

(p) Keep full and complete records of his office and annually submit to said board of selectmen, unless requested to do so more frequently, a full written report of the operations of the office.

(q) Perform such other duties as may be required by this act, bylaw, or vote of said board of selectmen.

During his temporary absence, said town manager shall designate by letter filed with said board of selectmen, a qualified administrative employee or officer to exercise the powers to perform the duties of said town manager.

The town may by bylaw, from time to time, establish such additional duties as necessary or appropriate, consistent with this act.

SECTION 5. The town manager shall have access to all municipal books, papers and documents or information necessary for the proper performance of the duties of said town manager. Said town manager may, without notice, cause the affairs of any division or department under the manager's supervision or the conduct of any officer or employee thereof to be examined.

SECTION 6. The organization of the town into operating agencies may be accomplished through either of the methods provided in this section.

(i) Subject only to express prohibitions in the Constitution of the Commonwealth and general and special laws and provisions of this act, the board of selectmen or the town manager may petition the town meeting, and, the town meeting may, by bylaw, reorganize, consolidate, or abolish any town agency, in whole or in part; establish such new town agencies as it deems necessary or advisable and may prescribe the functions of any such town agency; provided, however, that no function assigned by this act to a particular town agency may be discontinued or, unless the act specifically so provides, assigned to any other.

(ii) Nothing contained herein shall limit the authority of the town to petition the general court for special legislation to organize operating agencies within the town.

SECTION 7. All laws, bylaws, votes, rules and regulations whether enacted by authority of the town or any other authority, which are in force in the town of Cohasset 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 law, bylaws, votes, rules and regulations, respectively.

SECTION 8. No contract existing and no action at law or suit in equity, or other proceeding pending on the effective date of this act, or the time of revocation of such acceptance, shall be affected by such acceptance or revocation of this act.

SECTION 9. 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 who continues in the permanent full-time service or employment of the town shall forfeit his pay grade or time in service. The position of town administrator to the board of selectmen shall be terminated upon approval of the town manager proposal by town meeting and subsequent approval by the general court.

SECTION 10. This act shall take effect on July 1, 1997.

Approved June 30, 1997.