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Session Law

2004

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Chapter 176 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF NEEDHAM.

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. Section 19 of 403 of the acts of 1971 is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 14 and 15, the words "Three or more assistant assessors, if the town shall so vote for the term of three years".

SECTION 2. Said chapter 403 is hereby further amended by striking out section 20 and inserting in place thereof the following 4 sections:-

Section 20. Appointed Officials. (a) The board of selectmen shall appoint and may remove a town manager or acting town manager in accordance with section 20A.

(b) The selectmen shall appoint town counsel, members of the board of appeals, election officers, registrars of voters except the town clerk, members of the historic commission, conservation commission, commission on disabilities, and, except as provided in section 19, all other boards, committees, and commissions of the town for whom no other method of selection is provided in this charter or by-law.

(c) The town manager shall appoint, subject to the approval of the board of selectmen: a chief of the police department; a chief of the fire department; a director of public works; an assistant town manager/director of finance or person performing said function regardless of title; and an assistant town manager/personnel director, or person performing said function regardless of title. Appointments made by the town manager shall become effective upon the approval of the board of selectmen. If the board of selectmen shall fail to act, appointments made by the town manager shall become effective on the fifteenth day following the day on which notice of the proposed appointment is filed with the board of selectmen. For the purposes of this section, notice of appointment shall be considered filed with the board of selectmen when the notice is filed at an open meeting of the board of selectmen.

(d) The town manager shall be the appointing authority for the following officials and employees of the town:

(1) A town accountant, a town treasurer/tax collector, a planning director, an administrative assessor, an inspector of buildings, a director of public health, a director of veterans' services, a director of park and recreation, a director of youth services, a director of management information systems, an executive director of the council on aging, a library director, a town engineer, a director of municipal building maintenance, and a building construction and renovation manager; or persons performing said functions regardless of title.

(2) All other employees and officials of the town for whom no other method of selection is provided in this charter, with the exception of the executive secretary of the finance committee, who shall be appointed by that committee, and employees of the school department.

(e) Any appointment by the town manager in accordance with subsection (d) 1 shall be subject to the approval of the elected or appointed board or committee having jurisdiction over a department, if any. Appointments made by the town manager shall become effective upon the approval of said board or committee. If said board or committee shall fail to act, appointments made by the town manager shall become effective on the fifteenth day following the day on which notice of the proposed appointment is filed with said board or committee. For the purposes of this section, notice of appointment shall be considered filed with said board or committee when such notice is filed at an open meeting of the board or committee.

(f) Any person so appointed by the town manager under subsections (c) and (d), who is not subject to chapter 31 of the General Laws, may be removed by the town manager; provided, however, that no removal shall be made of officers listed in subsection (c), except with the approval of the selectmen, and that no removal shall be made of other employees or officers until the town manager consults with the elected or appointed boards or committees having jurisdiction over that employee's department, if any. Removal of officers listed in subsection (c) shall become effective upon the approval of the board of selectmen. If the board of selectmen shall fail to act, removals made by the town manager shall become effective on the fifteenth day following the day on which notice of the proposed removal is filed with the board of selectmen. For the purposes of this section, notice of removal shall be considered filed with the board of selectmen when such notice is filed at a meeting of the board of selectmen.

Section 20A. Appointment and Removal of Town Manager. (a) Appointment of Town Manager.

(1) The selectmen shall appoint, for a term not to exceed 3 years, a town manager, who shall be a professionally qualified person of proven ability who has had substantial involvement with municipal government and is appropriately fitted by education, training, and by previous full-time paid experience in a responsible administrative position to perform the duties of the office.

(2) Upon expiration of the term, or upon the resignation or removal of the town manager, or in the event of any vacancy in the office of town manager, the selectmen shall, within 7 days, appoint an acting manager to perform the duties, and shall appoint a successor with the above specified qualifications forthwith.

(3) The town manager shall be appointed without regard to party or political designation. He shall be a citizen of the United States of America. No person holding elective public office in the town with the exception of town meeting member shall, within 3 years of holding the office, be eligible for appointment as town manager.

(4) The town manager shall not hold any elective public office nor engage in any other business or occupation during his tenure except for part-time consultative or teaching duties, directly related to the profession of municipal management and with the specific consent of the selectmen. The town manager may be appointed for successive terms of office.

(5) Before entering upon the duties of his office, the town manager shall be sworn, in the presence of a majority of the selectmen, to the faithful and impartial performance thereof by the town clerk or a justice of the peace.

(b) Acting Town Manager. The town manager may designate, subject to the approval of the selectmen, by means of a letter filed with the town clerk, a suitable person to perform his duties during his temporary absence or disability. If the town manager fails to make the appointment, or the person so appointed fails to serve, the selectmen may appoint a suitable person to perform the duties. In the event of any vacancy in the office of town manager or the suspension of the town manager, the selectmen shall, within 7 days, appoint an acting manager to perform the duties.

(c) Removal of the Manager. The selectmen may suspend or remove the town manager by the affirmative vote of a majority of the full membership of the board.

Section 20B. Powers and Duties of the Manager. The town manager shall be the chief executive officer of the town. In addition to other powers and duties provided for in this charter, the town manager shall have the following powers and duties:

(1) The town manager shall supervise, either directly or through a person or persons appointed by him in accordance with this charter, all department managers, except the school department managers. The town manager shall be responsible for the efficient administration of all departments except the school department. The town manager shall not, however, exercise any control over the discretionary power vested by statute in any board, committee, commission or officer.

(2) The town manager, consistent with this charter, the General Laws, and town by-law, may, with the approval of elected boards having jurisdiction over affected departments, where applicable, and with the approval of the selectmen after a public hearing held by the selectmen for that purpose, reorganize, consolidate or abolish departments under his supervision, and establish such new departments as he considers necessary. With the approval, the town manager may transfer the duties and powers, and, so far as is consistent with the use for which the funds were voted by the town, transfer the appropriation of one department to another.

(3) The town manager shall have jurisdiction over the rental and use of all town property, except school property, and shall be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all town buildings, including school buildings and grounds. The town manager shall be responsible for the preparation of plans and supervision of all work on existing and new buildings, including work on school buildings, unless otherwise assigned by the town meeting to a permanent building committee. Plans for the construction or improvement of school buildings or property shall be subject to the approval of the school committee.

(4) The town manager shall be the purchasing agent for the town and shall award all contracts for all departments and activities of the town with the exception of the school department.

(5) Subject to the approval of the board of selectmen, and with the oversight of the personnel board, as outlined below, the town manager shall adopt rules and regulations establishing a personnel system. The personnel system shall make use of modern concepts of personnel management and shall include, but not be limited to, the following elements: (i) a method of administration; (ii) personnel policies indicating the rights, obligations and benefits of employees; (iii) a classification plan; (iv) a compensation plan; (v) a method of recruiting and selecting employees based on merit principles; (vi) a centralized record keeping system; (vii) disciplinary and grievance procedures; (viii) a professional development and training program; and (ix) other elements that are deemed necessary. All town agencies and positions shall be subject to the rules and regulations adopted under this section, excluding employees of the school department, and as otherwise provided under chapter 150E of the General Laws.

Personnel policies referenced in clause (ii), or changes to such policies, shall not be submitted to the board of selectmen without the prior review and approval of the personnel board. Classification plans or compensation plan referenced in clauses (iii) or (iv), or changes to such plans, shall not be submitted to the board of selectmen for approval until as the town manager has submitted the plan or plan revision to the personnel board for review and comment and, provided the comments are made within 15 days of submission, has provided written response to any comment made by the personnel board. In all other aspects of the personnel system, the town manager shall confer with the personnel board.

(6) The town manager shall fix the compensation of all town employees except those under the jurisdiction of the school committee within the limits established by appropriation and subject to chapter 150E of the General Laws.

(7) The town manager shall negotiate and administer all collective bargaining agreements with employee organizations representing town employees other than employees of the school department, pertaining to wages and other terms and conditions of employment, in accordance with chapter 150E of the General Laws; and such agreements, other than agreements with employee organizations representing school department employees, shall be subject to the approval of the board of selectmen. The town manager may, with the approval of the board of selectmen, employ special counsel to assist in the performance of the foregoing duties. The town manager or his designee shall participate in the deliberations of the school committee in collective bargaining with employee organizations representing school department employees, as provided in chapter 150E of the General Laws.

(8) The town manager shall keep records of the office of town manager and shall render as often as may be required by the board of selectmen a report of all operations during the period reported on.

(9) The town manager shall keep the board of selectmen advised as to the needs of the town and shall recommend to the board of selectmen for adoption measures requiring action by them or by the town as considered necessary or expedient by the town manager.

(10) The town manager shall be responsible for the implementation of town meeting votes and shall report annually in writing to the town meeting on the status of prior town meeting votes on which implementation is not complete except matters as relate to the schools.

(11) The town manager shall administer, either directly or through a person or persons appointed by him in accordance with this charter, all provisions of general and special laws applicable to said town, and by-laws and votes of the town, and all rules and regulations made by the selectmen except matters as relate to the schools.

(12) The town manager shall report to the selectmen and the finance committee as to the financial condition of the town.

(13) The town manager shall have access to all town books and papers for information necessary for the proper performance of his duties, and may, without notice, cause the affairs of any department or activity under his control, or the conduct of any officer or employee thereof, to be examined.

(14) The town manager shall be accessible and available for consultation to chairs of boards, committees and commissions of the town, whether appointed or elected, and shall make accessible and available to them such data and records of his office as may be requested in connection with their official duties.

(15) The town manager shall perform such other duties consistent with his office as may be required of him by the by-laws or vote of the town or by the vote of the selectmen.

(16) The town manager shall be the chief fiscal officer of the town. Warrants for the payment of town funds prepared by the town accountant, in accordance with section 56 of chapter 41 of the General Laws, shall be submitted to the town manager. The approval of the warrant by the town manager, or in his absence the acting town manager, shall be sufficient authority to authorize payment by the town treasurer, but the selectmen shall approve all warrants in the event of the absence of the town manager or acting town manager, or a vacancy in the office of town manager.

(17) Whenever any payroll, bill or other claim against the town is presented to the town manager, he shall, if the same seems to him to be of doubtful validity, excessive in amount, or otherwise contrary to the interests of the town, immediately investigate the facts and determine what, if any, payment should be made. Pending the investigation and determination by the town manager, payment shall be withheld.

Section 20C. Estimate of Capital Expenditures. All boards, departments, committees, commissions and officers of the town shall annually, at the request of the town manager, submit to him in writing a detailed estimate of the capital expenditures, as defined by by-law, required for the efficient and proper conduct of their respective departments and offices for the ensuing fiscal year and the ensuing 4 year period. The town manager, after consultation with the board of selectmen, shall submit in writing to the board of selectmen a careful, detailed estimate of the recommended capital expenditures for the aforesaid periods, showing specifically the amount necessary to be provided for each office, department and activity and a statement of the amounts required to meet the debt service requirements or other indebtedness of the town. The selectmen shall transmit a copy of the capital budget to the finance committee along with the board of selectmen's recommendations relative thereto. The calendar dates on or before which the capital budget is to be submitted and transmitted shall be specified by by-law.

SECTION 3. Said >chapter 403 is hereby further amended by striking out section 23 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 23. Director of Public Works. The town manager shall appoint a director of public works, who shall administer, under the supervision of the town manager, the departments of the town under the control of the selectmen as they may designate. He shall be responsible for the efficient administration of all departments within the scope of his duty, and shall hold office subject to the will of the town manager, consistent with subsection (c) of section 20. He shall be specially fitted by education, training and experience to perform the duties of the office, and may or may not be a resident of the town. During his tenure, he shall hold no elective public office or other public appointive office, nor shall he be engaged in any other business or occupation. He shall, subject to the approval of the town manager, appoint assistants, agents and employees as the performance of the duties of the various departments under his supervision may require, and may with like approval remove them. He shall keep records of the doings of his office and shall have charge of and shall preserve, arrange and index so as to be readily accessible to the public all plans, surveys, field notes, records, documents and inventories connected with engineering operations of the town, and render to the town manager, as often as he may require, a report of all operations under his control during the period reported upon; and annually, or from time to time as required by the town manager, he shall make a synopsis of all the reports for publication. He shall keep the town manager fully advised as to the needs of the town within the scope of his duties, and shall furnish to the town manager a carefully prepared and detailed estimate in writing of the appropriations required during the ensuing fiscal year for the proper conduct of all departments of the town under his supervision.

SECTION 4. Section 25 of said chapter 403 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 7, the words "said board" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- the town manager.

SECTION 5. Said chapter 403 is hereby further amended by striking out section 30 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 30. Sewer Contracts. All contracts made for the purposes of sections 24 to 31, inclusive, shall be made in the name of the town and shall be signed by the town manager. No contract shall be made, or obligation incurred, hereunder for said purposes in excess of the amount of money appropriated by the town therefor.

SECTION 6. Sections 6 and 7 of this act shall take effect upon its passage. Sections 1 to 5, inclusive, shall take effect 185 days following acceptance by a majority of the registered voters of the town voting at the election specified in section 7, but not otherwise.

SECTION 7. The state secretary shall place on the official ballot for the state election to be held on November 2, 2004 in the town of Needham the following question: "Shall an act passed by the general court in the year 2004 entitled, 'An Act Relative To The Charter Of The Town Of Needham,' be accepted?", followed by the summary required by section 58A of chapter 54 of the General Laws, which the town counsel shall ensure that the state secretary receives not later than September 3, 2004.

Approved July 15, 2004.

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