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Session Law

2007

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Chapter 7 AN ACT ESTABLISHING AN OFFICE OF FINANCE IN TEH TOWN OF SPENCER.

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. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there is hereby established in the town of Spencer, hereinafter referred to as the town, an office of finance, which shall be responsible for the overall management and administration of the town’s financial operations and services.
The office of finance shall be comprised of a department of the treasury, a department of assessing, and a department of accounting. It shall be under the direction of a director of finance, in this act called the director, who shall be 1 of the persons charged with the daily direction of a department within the office of finance and hereinafter referred to as the director, who shall be responsible to the town administrator for the duties specified in this act.

The director shall be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the town administrator. If removed as director, such person shall continue to hold the position which he had been filling until such time as he vacates the position, fails of reelection or reappointment, or is otherwise lawfully terminated or removed. For their additional services as director, he shall be paid an additional compensation of 5 per cent of the compensation they otherwise receive for the daily direction of a department within the office of finance, not to exceed the annual sum of $1,000, or such higher annual sum as may be established and paid in accordance with the town’s classification and compensation plan.

The director shall be a person qualified in accordance with applicable by-laws of the town, if any, and shall be suited especially by education, training, and experience to perform the duties of director. The director shall devote full time to the duties of this position, which duties shall also encompass the director’s daily oversight of a department within the office of finance. The director shall not engage in any other employment, the responsibilities of which are inherently incompatible to the duties of this position or to the underlying position to which they were elected or appointed, except with the prior written approval of the town administrator. Such approval shall be determined, in the sole discretion of the town administrator, on the basis of whether or not the business or occupation would conflict with the director’s ability to discharge his duties for the town with undivided loyalty and fidelity.

The responsibilities and duties of the director shall include, but not be limited to, supervising and directing the office of finance and performing such other financial related duties and responsibilities as may be assigned by the town administrator or required by statute or by-law.

There shall be within the office of finance a department of the treasury, which shall be under the daily direction and control of a treasurer/collector. The treasurer/collector shall have all the power, duties, and responsibilities vested by statute or by-law in the offices of treasurer and collector. The treasurer/collector shall be elected for a 3-year term. This section shall not take effect until the regular annual town election to be held in 2008. The incumbents in the offices of treasurer and collector on the effective date of this act shall continue to hold said offices and to perform the duties thereof until the expiration of their terms and the qualification of a treasurer/collector; provided, however, that in the event there is an earlier vacancy in either of such positions, the 2 positions shall thereupon be combined and the remaining incumbent shall assume the duties and responsibilities of the combined treasurer/collector position.

(1) There shall be within the office of finance a department of assessing which shall be under the daily direction and control of a principal assessor. The principal assessor shall be appointed by the town administrator for a term not to exceed 3 years; such appointment shall be made after consultation with the board of assessment certification and appeal. The principal assessor shall be a person of demonstrated professional ability, education, training, and experience in municipal assessment and taxation. The principal assessor shall be responsible for the day to day operations of the department of assessing, shall be responsible for the efficient administration of that department, and shall perform such other duties as may be assigned from time to time. The principal assessor shall exercise and perform all the powers, duties, and responsibilities vested in the office of assessor by statute or by-law, subject, however, to the certification of value authority and the appellate review of the board of assessment certification and appeal as hereinafter provided.

(2) There shall be a board of assessment certification and appeal comprised of 3 persons elected for staggered 3-year terms. The board of assessment certification and appeal shall exercise and perform those powers, duties and responsibilities vested by statute or by-law in the office of assessor with respect to (a) the certification of value of real and personal property for tax assessment purposes,
(b) the application of exemptions, and
(c) the granting of abatements.

(3) This section shall take effect at the regular annual town election to be held in 2008. The incumbent members of the board of assessors on the effective date of this act shall complete the terms for which they were elected and shall receive such compensation as fixed by town meeting subject to appropriation. The principal assessor and the elected members of the board of assessment certification and appeal shall be required to take the oath of office as required by section 29 of chapter 41 of the General Laws and to comply with training and certification requirements of the department of revenue.

There shall be within the office of finance a department of accounting which shall be under the daily direction and control of a town accountant. The town accountant shall be appointed by the town administrator for a term not to exceed 3 years. The town accountant shall have all the powers, duties, and responsibilities vested by statute or by-law in the office of town accountant.

SECTION 2. No person charged with the daily direction of an office within the office of finance shall hold any other position within that office except for director of finance. No person elected to the board of assessment certification and appeal shall hold any other position within the office of finance.

The town, by by-law, may establish additional requirements and standards for the office of finance and may modify and amend the organization and structure of said department; provided, however, that all such modifications and amendments are not inconsistent with the provisions and purposes of this act. Nothing in this act shall preclude the town from making any elected position an appointed position as otherwise permitted by law.

The town administrator shall appoint the director and non-elected department heads and staff within the office. The appointment and removal of the director and non-elected department heads shall be made in accordance with the provisions of the Spencer governmental act except as modified herein.

The town administrator shall have the authority to assign additional tasks to any department or office established herein as shall be consistent with best management practices or as required by statute, by-law, or policy directives of the board of selectmen.

All persons appointed to a position having a specific term hereunder shall continue to serve until their successor is appointed and duly qualified.
Upon the effective date of this act, all records, property, equipment, and facilities owned by the town and under the control of the offices, boards, or commissions which are abolished or superseded by this act shall be transferred to and be under the control of the office or department succeeding thereto.
All laws, special legislation, by-laws, votes, rules and regulations, whether enacted by authority of the town or any other authority, which are in force in the town on the effective date of this act, or any portion or portions thereof, that are inconsistent with the provisions of this act shall be deemed rescinded or of no further force and effect to the extent of such inconsistency. Nothing contained herein shall impair contractual rights established prior to the effective date of this act.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved February 8, 2007.

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