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  • Acts
  • 2002
  • Chapter 7 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF SWAMPSCOTT.

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. The charter of the town of Swampscott, which is on file in the office of the archivist of the commonwealth, as provided in section 12 of chapter 43B of the General Laws, is hereby amended by adding the following 11 chapters:-

Chapter 7
Board of Selectmen.

SECTION 7-1: Duties.

(a) Powers and Duties in General - The board of selectmen shall serve as the chief policy making agency of the town and shall be responsible for the formulation and promulgation of policy directives and guidelines to be followed by all town agencies serving under it. The board of selectmen shall also be responsible for development and promulgation of policy guidelines for elected town officers and multiple member bodies not serving under the board, in conjunction with those officers and bodies.

(b) Licensing Authority - The board of selectmen shall be the licensing board for the town and shall have power to issue licenses in accordance with the provisions of the General Laws and town by-laws.

(c) Appointment - The board of selectmen shall appoint a town administrator, individuals who are to serve as representatives or delegates of the town to the governing or advisory boards of regional or district authorities, and such other town officials and members of multiple member bodies as provided for in chapter 14.

(d) Investigations - The board of selectmen may make, or may authorize the town administrator to make, investigations into the affairs of the town and the conduct of any town agency. The report of the results of the investigation shall be placed on file in the office of the board of selectmen and a report summarizing the results of the investigation shall be printed in the next annual town report.

(e) Contracts - The board of selectmen shall be the signatory authority for all contracts within its jurisdiction as provided for in the General Laws, town by-laws, by vote of town meeting, or otherwise.

Chapter 8
Town Administrator.

SECTION 8-1: Appointment; Qualifications; Term.

The board of selectmen shall appoint a town administrator from a list prepared by a screening committee. The board of selectmen shall appoint the town administrator to serve for a renewable contract not to exceed 5 years and shall fix the compensation for the officer annually within the amount appropriated by town meeting. The town administrator shall be appointed solely on the basis of demonstrated executive and administrative qualifications. The town administrator shall be a person especially fitted by education, training and previous experience in public or business administration to perform the duties of the office. A town administrator need not be a resident of the town. The town administrator shall not have served in an elective office in the town of Swampscott government for at least 12 months prior to appointment, with the exception of town meeting member. The members of the 2001 town government study committee shall not be eligible for appointment as the first Swampscott town administrator.

The town administrator shall devote full time to the office and shall not hold any other public office, elective or appointive, nor engage in any other business or occupation during his service, unless such action is approved in advance and in writing by the board of selectmen.

The board of selectmen shall provide for a semi-annual review of the job performance of the town administrator in the first year and annually thereafter, which shall, at least in summary form be a public record. The town administrator's review shall be a public record.

Any vacancy in the office of the town administrator shall be filled as soon as possible by the board of selectmen, and in the interim they shall appoint a qualified town administrative officer or employee to serve as a temporary town administrator to perform the duties of the office. The temporary appointment may not exceed 3 months, but 1 renewal may be voted by the board of selectmen to extend for a second 3 months. Compensation for the temporary administrator shall be set by the board of selectmen.

SECTION 8-2: Powers and Duties.

The town administrator shall be the chief administrative and financial officer of the town, directly responsible to the board of selectmen for the administration of all town affairs not specifically reserved to another elected body. The powers and duties of the town administrator shall include, but are not intended to be limited to, the following:-

(a) To supervise, direct and be responsible for the efficient administration of all functions and activities for which the office of town administrator is given authority, responsibility or control by the town charter, by-laws, by town meeting vote, by vote of the board of selectmen, or otherwise.

(b) To recommend for appointment and in appropriate circumstances to remove or discipline subject to the provisions of civil service law and any collective bargaining agreements as may be applicable, all department heads, officials and employees for whom no other method of selection or discipline is provided. The recommendations for appointments or removals become effective upon approval of the majority of the board of selectmen based upon the recommendation of the town administrator.

(c) To be entrusted with the administration of a town personnel system, exclusive of the school department, including but not limited to personnel policies and practices, rules and regulations, including provisions for an annual employee performance review, personnel by-law and collective bargaining agreements entered into by the town. The town administrator shall also prepare and keep current a plan establishing the personnel staffing requirements for each town department.

(d) To attend all regular and special meetings of the board of selectmen, and other meetings deemed appropriate by the board of selectmen unless unavailable for reasonable cause, and shall have a voice, but not vote, in all of its proceedings.

(e) To assure that records of the financial and administrative activities of the town are kept and to render as often as may be required by the board of selectmen, but not less than once in each year, a report of all town financial and administrative operations during the period reported on, which report shall be made available to the public.

(f) To keep the board of selectmen advised as to the needs of the town and shall recommend to the board of selectmen and to other elected town officers and agencies for adoption measures requiring action by them or by the town meeting as the town administrator may deem necessary or expedient.

(g) To have jurisdiction over the rental and use of town facilities and property except school property. The town administrator shall be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all town buildings and facilities placed under the town administrator's control by by-law or by vote of the town or otherwise.

(h) To prepare and present each year a balanced annual operating budget for the town and a proposed capital outlay program for the 5 fiscal years next ensuing in accordance with existing by-laws.

(i) To assure that an inventory of property of the town, both real and personal, is kept, including property within the jurisdiction of the school committee, in accordance with generally accepted government accounting principles.

(j) To negotiate contracts involving any subject within the jurisdiction of the office of town administrator, including contracts with town employees, except employees of the school department, involving wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment.

(k) To be responsible for purchasing supplies, material, and equipment for all departments and activities of the town, but not including food for schools, school books, and other instructional material, supplies and equipment, unless otherwise specifically requested by the school committee. The town administrator shall examine, or cause to be examined, the quantity, quality and condition of supplies, material and equipment delivered to or received by any town department, except schools. The town administrator shall be responsible for the disposal of supplies, material and equipment which have been declared surplus by any town agency. The town administrator, or his or her designee, shall be the chief procurement officer for the town.

(l) To see that the General Laws, the town's charter and by-laws and other votes of the town meeting, and votes of the board of selectmen, or other elected boards that the town administrator has operational jurisdiction over, which require enforcement by the town administrator or other officials subject to the direction and supervision of the town administrator are faithfully executed, performed or otherwise carried out.

(m) To inquire, at any time, into the conduct of office or performance of duties of any official or employee, department, board, commission or other town agency, excluding schools.

(n) To attend all sessions of all town meetings and answer questions raised by voters which relate to warrant articles and to matters over which the town administrator exercises supervision.

(o) To recommend to the board of selectmen, who are granted the authority to make changes upon majority vote, the reorganization, consolidation or abolishment of town departments or agencies serving under the supervision of the town administrator, in whole, or in part, provide for new departments or agencies, or providing or to recommend providing for a reassignment of powers, duties and responsibilities among the departments or agencies so established or existing.

(p) To coordinate the activities of town departments or agencies serving under the office of the town administrator and the office of the board of selectmen with those under the control of other officials and multiple member bodies elected directly by the voters. For this purpose, the town administrator shall have authority to require the persons so elected, or their representatives, to meet with the town administrator at reasonable times, for the purpose of effecting coordination and cooperation among the departments or agencies of the town.

(q) To perform any other duties as are required to be performed by the town administrator by by-laws, administrative code, votes of the town meeting, or votes of the board of selectmen, or otherwise.

SECTION 8-3: Acting Town Administrator.

(a) Temporary absence - By letter filed with the town clerk, the town administrator shall recommend a qualified town administrative officer or employee who, with the approval of the board of selectmen, shall exercise the powers and perform the duties of town administrator during a temporary absence of the town administrator. During a temporary absence the board of selectmen may not revoke the designation until at least 10 working days have elapsed, whereupon it may appoint another qualified town administrative officer or employee to serve until the town administrator shall return.

(b) Vacancy - A vacancy in the office of town administrator shall be filled as soon as possible by the board of selectmen, but, pending a regular appointment the board of selectmen shall appoint a qualified town administrative officer or employee to perform the duties of the office on an acting basis.

(c) Powers and Duties - The powers of a temporary or acting town administrator under paragraphs (a) and (b) shall be limited to matters not admitting of delay and shall include authority to make temporary, emergency appointments or designations to town office or employment but not to make permanent appointments or designations.

SECTION 8-4: Removal and Suspension.

The board of selectmen may, by a minimum vote of 4 of its members, terminate and remove, or suspend, the town administrator from office in accordance with the following procedure:-

(a) The board of selectmen shall adopt a preliminary resolution of removal by a minimum vote of 4 of its members which must state the reason or reasons for removal. This preliminary resolution may suspend the town administrator for a period not to exceed 45 days. A copy of the resolution shall be delivered in hand or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the town administrator.

(b) Within 5 days after receipt of the preliminary resolution the town administrator may request a public hearing by filing a written request for the hearing with the board of selectmen. This hearing shall be held at a meeting of the board of selectmen not later than 30 days after the request is filed nor earlier than 20 days. The town administrator may file a written statement responding to the reasons stated in the resolution of removal with the board of selectmen provided the same is received at its office more than 48 hours in advance of the public hearing.

(c) The board of selectmen may adopt a final resolution of removal, which may be made effective immediately, by the affirmative vote of at least 4 of its members not less than 10 nor more than 21 days following the delivery of the preliminary resolution to the town administrator, if the town administrator has not requested a public hearing; or within 10 days following the close of the public hearing if the town administrator has requested one. Failure to adopt a final resolution of removal within the time periods as provided in this section shall nullify the preliminary resolution of removal and the administrator shall, at the expiration of the time, forthwith resume duties of the office. The town administrator shall continue to receive full pay and benefits until the adoption of a final resolution by the board of selectmen.

The action of the board of selectmen in suspending or removing the town administrator shall be final, it being the intention of this provision to vest all authority and fix all responsibility for such suspension or removal in the board of selectmen.

Chapter 9
Finance and Fiscal Procedures.

SECTION 9-1: Fiscal Year.

The fiscal year of the town shall begin on the first day of July and shall end on the last day of June, unless another period is required by the General Laws.

SECTION 9-2: School Committee Budget.

Submission to town administrator - The budget for the ensuing fiscal year as adopted by the school committee shall be submitted to the town administrator in sufficient time, but no later than February 15, to enable the town administrator to consider the effect of the school department's requested appropriation upon the total town operating budget which is required to be submitted under this chapter.

SECTION 9-3: Submission of Budget and Budget Summary.

Within the time fixed by by-law, before the town meeting is to convene, the town administrator, after consultation with the board of selectmen, shall submit to the board of selectmen a proposed town operating budget for the ensuing fiscal year with an accompanying budget summary and supporting analysis. The proposed operating budget, summary and supporting analysis shall be based, in part, on annual departmental appropriation requests received by the town administrator, who shall provide copies of the same, within 7 days of receipt, to the finance committee. Copies of the proposed operating budget shall be available for examination by the public. The board of selectmen shall by a majority vote approve a balanced budget and submit the budget to the finance committee no later than the first day of March for the ensuing fiscal year.

SECTION 9-4: Budget Summary.

The budget summary prepared by the town administrator shall explain the budget for all town departments both in fiscal terms and in terms of work programs. It shall describe important features of the budget, indicate any major variations from the current year in financial policies, expenditures and revenues together with the reasons for the variations, summarize the town's debt position and include other materials as the town administrator deems desirable, or the board of selectmen may reasonably require.

SECTION 9-5: The Budget.

The proposed operating budget shall provide a financial plan for town funds and activities for the ensuing fiscal year. The budget shall include supplemental information showing in detail the estimated income from the proposed property tax levy and other sources and the proposed expenditures, including debt service, for the following year. Supplemental information shall be arranged to show the actual and estimated income and expenditures for the previous, current and ensuing fiscal years and shall indicate in separate sections:-

(a) proposed expenditures for current and new operations during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by town department and position in terms of work programs, and the method of financing the expenditures;

(b) proposed capital expenditures for current operations during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by town department, and the proposed methods of financing each capital expenditure; and

(c) estimated surplus revenue and free cash at the end of the current fiscal year, as well as estimated balances in any special accounts established for specific purposes.

SECTION 9-6: Action on the Budget.

Action by Town Meeting - Upon receipt of the proposed operating budget approved by the selectmen, the finance committee may review, investigate or amend the proposal as it deems necessary and appropriate. The finance committee budget proposal, as amended, shall be placed before town meeting for its approval, subject to further amendments from the floor. Supplemental budget information including, but not limited to, the budget summary, income and expense projections, program descriptions shall also be available to town meeting for its approval. Supplemental budget information shall not be subject to town meeting approval.

SECTION 9-7: Capital Improvement Program.

The capital improvement committee shall recommend a capital improvement program to the town administrator by February 1, including:-

(a) a clear and concise summary of its contents;

(b) proposed capital expenditures for the ensuing year;

(c) a 5 year capital improvement plan with supporting information as to the need, cost and method of financing for each projected capital expenditure.

The town administrator shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member of the capital improvement committee, providing technical assistance when necessary.

SECTION 9-8: Approval of Warrants.

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 provisions of the General Laws shall be submitted to the town administrator. The approval of the warrant by the town administrator shall authorize payment by the town treasurer, but the board of selectmen shall approve warrants in the event of the absence of the town administrator or a vacancy in the office of town administrator.

SECTION 9-9: Annual Financial Forecast.

The town administrator shall report to the board of selectmen, the finance committee, and the school committee no later than November 15 of each year and present a financial forecast for the next fiscal year detailing anticipated revenues, transfers and expenditures.

SECTION 9-10: Five-Year Budget Plan.

The town administrator shall submit as supplemental information to town meeting a 5-year budget plan detailing anticipated revenues and expenditures.

Chapter 10
Transitional Provisions.

SECTION 10-1: Time of Taking Effect.

(a) Screening Committee - Forthwith following the election at which Chapter 7 to 17, inclusive, are approved by the voters, a screening committee shall be established for the purpose of soliciting, receiving, and evaluating applications for the position of town administrator.

The screening committee shall consist of 5 persons who shall be chosen as follows: 1 member or designee of the board of selectmen, the school committee, the finance committee, and 2 elected town meeting members appointed by the town moderator. Persons so designated may, but need not, be members of the agency by which they are designated. Appointments made by the town moderator shall be made last in time in order that in making appointments the moderator may, insofar as it may be feasible so to do, appoint persons who will broaden the membership base of the committee to be most representative of the demographic and occupational base of the town.

Not more than 30 days following the election at which Chapter 7 to 17, inclusive, are approved by the voters, the several persons chosen as aforesaid shall meet to organize and to plan a process to advertise the vacancy and to solicit by other means candidates for the office. The committee shall proceed notwithstanding the failure of any town agency to designate its representatives.

The screening committee shall review the applications received by it, screen the applicants by checking and verifying work records and other credentials, and interview the number of candidates as it deems necessary, desirable or expedient. If, in the sole judgment of the screening committee, there are no candidates deemed acceptable then the screening committee shall report to the board of selectmen and request that the advertising and solicitation process be reinstituted.

Not more than 90 days following the date on which the committee meets to organize, the committee shall submit to the board of selectmen the names of not less than 3 and not more than 5 persons whom it believes to be best suited to perform the duties of the office of town administrator. The selectmen may, upon a majority vote of the screening committee, grant an extension to the 90 day period, the extension not to exceed 30 days. The board of selectmen may only grant 2 30-day extensions.

Within 30 days following the date the list of nomineess is submitted to it, the board of selectmen shall choose, by the affirmative vote of at least 3 of its members, 1 of the nominees to serve as town administrator. If the board of selectmen does not select 1 of the finalists, the process shall commence again beginning with the advertising of a vacancy and solicitation of candidates.

Upon the appointment of a town administrator the screening committee established hereunder shall be discharged.

A screening committee shall be established whenever the office of town administrator shall become vacant.

(b) Town Administrator Qualifications - Until such time as the town meeting may act, by by-law to establish different qualifications for the office, the town administrator shall have the following qualifications:-

(1) have at least a master's degree from a recognized, accredited college or university. Such degree shall be in a relevant discipline. Three additional years of experience as defined in clause (2) and a bachelor's degree from a recognized, accredited college or university may also meet the minimum educational requirements for this position;

(2) have preferably served full time as an administrative officer of a city or town for not less than 3 years, or have demonstrated executive, management and administrative qualifications and be fitted by education, training and previous experience in the public or private sector.

SECTION 10-2: Board of Public Works.

(a) The elected board of public works shall be eliminated and the terms of the elected members of the board shall cease upon acceptance of this act by the voters.

(b) There shall be a department of public works with a superintendent of public works serving as department head. The board of selectmen shall be responsible for establishing and setting policy with regard to public works matters.

(c) There shall be a 3 person board of public works, appointed by the selectmen. The duties, responsibilities and authority of this board shall be established by the selectmen.

SECTION 10-3: Town Treasurer/Collector/Clerk.

The term of the elected incumbent of the offices of the town treasurer/collector/clerk shall terminate at the time this charter amendment is adopted by the voters, however, at that time the incumbent shall be deemed to have been appointed to the combined appointed treasurer/collector/clerk position through June 30, 2004. The first appointee to the position of treasurer/collector/clerk shall receive the salaries of the existing fiscal year 2002 appropriation for the elected positions of treasurer/collector/clerk and such other amount as town meeting may appropriate therefor.

Chapter 11
Board of Assessors.

SECTION 11-1: Composition, Term of Office.

There shall be an elected board of assessors consisting of 3 members, for terms of 3 years each, so arranged so that the term of office of 1 member shall expire each year.

SECTION 11-2: Powers and Duties.

The elected board of assessors shall annually make a valuation of all property, both real and personal within the town. It shall have all the powers and duties given to a board of assessors under the Constitution and General Laws of the commonwealth, and such additional powers and duties authorized by the charter, by by-law or by other town meeting vote. In addition, the board of assessors may advise the assessing department, when warranted, on all other matters.

SECTION 11-3: Appointment of Full or Part Time Assistant Assessors.

Full or part time assistant assessors shall be appointed in the following manner: The board of assessors shall serve as a screening committee. The board of assessors shall review all applications received by it, screening the applications by checking and verifying work records and other credentials of the applicants. The board of assessors shall recommend not less than 2 applicants to the town administrator for appointment. The town administrator shall recommend and the board of selectmen shall appoint from among the applicants recommended by the board of assessors the position of full time or part time assistant assessors.

Chapter 12
Board of Health.

SECTION 12-1: Composition, Term of Office.

There shall be an elected board of health consisting of 3 members for terms of 3 years each, so arranged that the term of office of 1 member shall expire each year.

SECTION 12-2: Powers and Duties.

The board of health shall be responsible for advising the town administrator and board of selectmen on all aspects relating to health issues. The board of health shall have the powers and duties given to a board of health under the Constitution and General Laws of the commonwealth, and additional powers and duties authorized by the charter, by by-law or by other town meeting vote. In addition, the board of health may advise the health department, when warranted, on all other matters.

SECTION 12-3: Appointment of Health Agent.

The health agent shall be a person especially fitted by education, training, or previous experience to perform the duties of the office. The health agent shall be appointed in the following manner: The elected board of health shall serve as a screening committee. The board of health shall review applications received by it, screening the applications by checking and verifying work records and other credentials of the applicants. The board of health shall recommend not less than 2 applicants to the town administrator for appointment. The town administrator shall recommend and the board of selectmen shall appoint from among the applicants recommended by the board of health the position of health agent.

Chapter 13
Library Trustees.

SECTION 13-1: Composition, Term of Office.

There shall be an elected board of library trustees consisting of 3 members, for terms of 3 years each, so arranged so that the term of office of 1 member shall expire each year. In addition, the board of library trustees may advise the library department, when warranted, on all other matters.

SECTION 13-2: Powers and Duties.

The library trustees shall have all the powers and duties given to a board of library trustees under the Constitution and General Laws of the commonwealth, and additional powers and duties authorized by the charter, by by-law or by other town meeting vote.

SECTION 13-3: Appointment of Head Librarian.

The head librarian shall be appointed in the following manner: The elected board of library trustees shall serve as a screening committee. The board of library trustees shall review applications received by it, screening the applications by checking and verifying work records and other credentials of the applicants. The board of library trustees shall recommend not less than 2 applicants to the town administrator for appointment. The town administrator shall recommend and the board of selectmen shall appoint from among the applicants recommended by the library trustees the position of head librarian.

Chapter 14
Appointment Summary.

SECTION 14-1: The board of selectmen shall have the right to appoint the following:- town administrator; conservation commission to consist of 7 members appointed for terms of 3 years each; zoning board of appeals to consist of 5 regular members, appointed for terms of 5 years each, and 2 associate members, appointed for terms of 2 years each; council on aging, as provided by by-law; cable television oversight committee; constables; arts lottery council; Swampscott historical commission; building code board of appeals; harbor advisory board; recreation commission; an affirmative action committee; 4th of July committee; Veteran's Day committee; Memorial Day committee; War Memorial Scholarship Fund committee; an election commission; and any other committee not referred to in this charter and which town meeting or the board of selectmen deem appropriate.

SECTION 14-2: The town administrator shall recommend and the board of selectmen shall appoint from among the applicants recommended by the town administrator, the following:- superintendent of public works and all other employees of a department of public works; police chief and all other employees of the police department; fire chief and all other employees of the fire department; town accountant and all other employees of that office; inspector of buildings and all other employees of that office; wire inspector and all other employees of that office; inspector of gas appliances and gas fittings and all other employees of that office; plumbing inspector and all other employees of that office; animal control officer and all other employees of that office; sealer of weights and measures and all other employees of that office; parking clerk and all other employees of that office; town counsel and all other employees of that office; town engineer and all other employees of that office; tree warden and all other employees of that office; veteran's services director, veteran's agent, veteran's graves officer and burial agent and all other employees of that office; health agent, animal inspector and other personnel of the department of health and all other employees of that office; town treasurer/collector/clerk and all other employees of that office; civil defense director and related civil defense personnel and all other employees of that office; full or part time assistant assessors and all other employees of that office; head librarian and all other employees of that office; the harbor master and all other employees of that office; and any other nonschool employees not previously addressed.

Chapter 15
Continuation of Government.

SECTION 15-1: Continuation of Government.

All town agencies shall continue to perform their duties until reappointed, reelected or until successors to their respective positions are duly appointed or elected, or their duties have been transferred and assumed by another town agency in accordance with this charter.

Chapter 16
Review Committee to be Appointed.

SECTION 16-1: Review Committee to be Appointed.

The town moderator shall appoint a committee consisting of 1 member of each of 6 precincts and 1 member at large which shall prepare a report to be presented at the annual town meeting 4 years after the effective date of Chapters 7 to 16, inclusive. The review committee shall have the power to make recommendations necessary in the interest of good town government.

SECTION 2. This act shall be submitted for acceptance to the voters of the town of Swampscott at an annual or special town election in the form of the following question which shall be placed on the official ballot: "Shall an act passed by the general court in the year 2001 entitled 'An Act relative to the charter of the town of Swampscott', be accepted?"

If a majority of the votes cast in answer to said question is in the affirmative, this act shall take effect as of July 1, 2002, but not otherwise.

Approved January 20, 2002.