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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


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. There is hereby established in the town of Lancaster a department of finance and budget. The department shall be managed by a director of finance and budget who shall be appointed by the board of selectmen for a term of 3 years.

SECTION 2. The director of the department of finance and budget shall have all the powers and duties presently vested in the office of town accountant. The office of collector-treasurer shall become part of the department and the collector-treasurer shall be under the supervision of the director.

SECTION 3. The director of the department of finance and budget shall be responsible for coordinating the fiscal management practices of the accountant's department, collector-treasurer's department, assessing department, and administering budgeting including financial reporting, accountability and control, financial and programmatic implications on current and future policies to all town departments and board of selectmen.

The powers and duties of the finance director shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) to coordinate with all town departments and manage the collection of all budget and financial information, including the forecasting of revenues for the forthcoming fiscal year in order to prepare an annual budget for the annual town meeting;

(2) to set policies and procedures for the collection of all revenues due and owing to the town of Lancaster as a result of tax levies, and the issuance of licenses and permits;

(3) to review and oversee, on a yearly basis, the various town trust funds, and to insure that funds are prudently invested, and when any such trust fund fails due to the extinction of the purpose for which said fund was created, the department of budget and finance shall, with the advice and consent of the board of selectmen, seek appropriate relief in a court of competent jurisdiction from the duties of investment and distribution imposed by the trust fund instrument;

(4) the finance director shall be the chief procurement officer for the town of Lancaster;

(5) to report to the board of selectmen and finance committee concerning all financial matters affecting town government;

(6) to coordinate with the department of revenue pertaining to all matters on their municipal calendar; and

(7) to coordinate and manage all financial information received from the board of assessors to forecast future financial growth and anticipated revenues, and advise the board of selectmen, finance committee and town meeting accordingly.

SECTION 4. The board of selectmen shall appoint members of the board of assessors for 3-year terms; such terms so arranged that the term of office of 1 member shall expire each year. Members shall be subject to removal for cause by the board of selectmen. The board of assessors shall maintain the powers and duties of the board directed by statute, provided however, that the director of finance and budget shall supervise all employees assisting in the performance of assessing functions. Any incumbent assessor, upon the acceptance of this act by the voters of the town of Lancaster, shall continue to hold said office and perform the duties thereof until the expiration of his term or an earlier vacating of office.

SECTION 5. Pursuant to all state, federal and municipal statutes, laws, regulations and by laws, the department of finance and budget shall make detailed estimates of all money necessary to maintain the proper operation of government.

SECTION 6. The department of finance and budget shall report to the board of selectmen.

SECTION 7. Upon the establishment of the department of finance and budget, the person holding the office of town accountant may become director of the department of finance and budget. All incumbents in the office of collector-treasurer and all present employees of any of the departments or offices referenced in this act shall be transferred to the department of finance and budget, to serve under the direction of the director of finance and budget and shall not forfeit pay grade or time in service.

SECTION 8. The board of selectmen may delegate or assign administrative and personnel duties to the director of the department of finance and budget.

SECTION 9. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the board of selectmen may establish an employment contract for the director of the department of finance and budget for a period not to exceed 3 years to provide for the salary, fringe benefits and other conditions of employment including, but not limited to, severance pay, relocation expenses, reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performances of duties or office, liability insurance and leave.

The contract shall prevail over any conflicting provision of any local personnel by-law, rule or regulation. In addition to the benefits provided municipal employees under chapters 32 and 32B of the General Laws, the contract may provide for supplemental retirement and insurance benefits.

Nothing contained in this section shall affect the appointment or removal powers of the board of selectmen over any position hereinbefore mentioned, nor shall it grant tenure to such officer, nor shall it abridge section 67 of chapter 44 of the General Laws.

SECTION 10. The state secretary shall cause the following question to be placed on the official ballot to be used in the town of Lancaster at the biennial state election to be held in the year 2002:

"Shall an act passed by the general court in the year 2002, entitled 'An Act Establishing a Department of Finance and Budget in the Town of Lancaster' be accepted?"

If a majority of the votes cast in answer to said question is in the affirmative, then this act shall take full effect, but not otherwise.

SECTION 11. Section 10 of this act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved September 6, 2002.