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. Article 2 of the charter of the city known as the town of Agawam which is on file in the office of the archivist of the commonwealth, as provided in section 12 of chapter 43B, is hereby amended by striking out section 2-6 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 2-6 Filling of Vacancies. If a vacancy shall occur, by failure to elect or otherwise, in the office of councilor during the first 18 months of the term for which councilors are elected, no special election shall be held. The city clerk shall notify the council forthwith of the vacancy. Whichever of the defeated candidates for the office of council at the regular municipal election at which councilors were last elected, who is eligible and willing to serve, and who received the highest number of votes at the election shall fill the vacancy. If the defeated candidate who received the highest number of votes is ineligible or unwilling to serve, the defeated candidate with the next highest number of votes shall fill the vacancy, and so on, until the vacancy is filled, if the person remains eligible and willing to serve and provided the person received votes at least equal to 30 per cent of the vote total received by the person receiving the largest number of votes for the office of councilor at the election. If there is a tie among the defeated candidates in the election, the city clerk shall conduct a recount of the election. If the recount does not break the tie, a toss of the coin shall determine the outcome. The clerk shall then list the order of the candidates. If no defeated candidate is eligible and willing to serve, the council by majority vote of the full council shall select a registered voter of the town of Agawam to fill the vacancy.
SECTION 2. Notwithstanding section 42C of chapter 54 of the General Laws, this act shall be submitted to the voters of the city known as the town of Agawam in the form of the following question which shall be placed on the ballot for the next municipal election:
"Shall an act passed by the general court in the year 2001 entitled, 'An Act providing for the filling of vacancies in the city known as the town of Agawam', be accepted?" If a majority of the votes cast in answer to said question is in the affirmative, section 1 shall take effect at the start of the next term for the position of councilor in said city, but not otherwise.
SECTION 3. Section 2 of this act shall take effect upon its passage.