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 shall be in the town of Topsfield a department of public works, in this act called the department, which shall be under the supervision and control of the board of selectmen, in this act called the board.
SECTION 2. The board shall have all the powers and duties now or from time to time vested by general or special law or by town by-law in the following boards, commissions, or officers: the board of water commissioners, the board of park and cemetery commissioners and the board of road commissioners. The board of water commissioners, the board of park and cemetery commissioners and the board of road commissioners shall be abolished as of the annual town election of 2008. No existing contract or liability shall be affected by the abolition, but the board shall in all respects be the lawful successor of the offices so abolished. Upon the expiring of the elected boards all statutory powers will revert to the board. Nothing in this act shall be deemed to abolish the water enterprise system.
SECTION 3. The superintendent of each department: highway, water and parks and cemetery shall report to the town administrator commencing on the date of the annual town election of 2008. Until that time they will report to the elected board of road commissioners, board of water commissioners and the board of parks and cemetery commissioners.
SECTION 4. The board shall have all the functions now or from time to time vested by general or special law or by town by-law in the following departments or offices: highway department, water department, and parks and cemetery department.
SECTION 5. The board shall have additional powers related to the duties and responsibilities of public works as the town may from time to time by by-law provide; any other provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding.
SECTION 6. The town administrator shall, if desired, hire a superintendent of public works, subject to appropriation and the provisions of the town by-laws and personnel by-laws. The superintendent shall exercise and perform, under the supervision and direction of the board, the powers, rights and duties that have been transferred to the board hereunder as the board may from time to time designate. The superintendent shall be responsible for the efficient exercise and performance of the powers, rights and duties of the office, with other qualifications as set forth in the town by-laws. The superintendent need not be a resident of the town during tenure of office.
SECTION 7. Subject to town personnel by-law and appropriation and unless objected to by the board within 30 days of the date of appointment, suspension or removal, the superintendent shall appoint and may suspend or remove such assistants, agents and employees as the exercise and performance of his powers, rights and duties, may require. The superintendent shall keep records of the activities and operations of his office, and render to the board as often as it may require, a report of all operations under his control during the period reported upon; and annually and from time to time as required by the board, shall make a synopsis of the reports for publication. The superintendent shall keep the board advised as to the needs of the town within the scope of his duties, and shall furnish to the board each year, upon its request, a detailed estimate in writing of the appropriations required during the next succeeding fiscal year for the proper exercise and performance of all said powers, rights and duties.
SECTION 8. Each permanent employee of any board, department and office abolished by this act shall be transferred to and become an employee of the department.
SECTION 9. All equipment owned by the town of Topsfield and under the control of the offices, boards, or commissions abolished by this act shall be transferred to and be under the control and direction of the department.
SECTION 10. This act shall be submitted to the voters of the town of Topsfield for acceptance at the next town election, in the form of the following question, which shall be placed on the official ballot to be used at the election:
“Shall an act passed by the General Court entitled ‘An Act authorizing the Town of Topsfield to establish a Department of Public Works’, be accepted?”
If a majority of votes cast in answer to this question is in the affirmative, this act shall take effect on the date of the annual town election of 2008.
Approved November 8, 2006.