AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE CHARTER OF THE TOWN OF BOURNE.
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. Article 3 of the home rule charter of the town of Bourne, 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 striking out section 3-3 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
3-3 Policy Role.
The Board of Selectmen shall serve as the chief goal-setting and policy-making agency of the town, keeping in mind the requirements of the Local Comprehensive Plan (LCP), and shall appoint a Town Administrator to carry out such policies. Policies and goals specific to each policy shall be filed with the Town Administrator no later than 45 days after the regular spring town election. Individual selectmen shall have no independent authority unless specifically voted by the Board of Selectmen. Selectmen shall deal with administrative agencies and departments shall act through the adoption of broad policy guidelines only through the Town Administrator.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize any member of the board of selectmen, nor a majority of its members, to become involved in the day-to-day administration of any town agency. It is the intention of this provision that the Board of Selectmen shall act only through the adoption of broad policy goals, policies and action items which are to be implemented by the Town Administrator.
SECTION 2. Section 3-6 of said article 3 is hereby amended by inserting after the word “by-law” the following words:- , Town Meeting or the Board of Selectmen.
SECTION 3. Said article 3 is hereby further amended by adding the following section:-
Section 3-8: Rules of Procedure
The Board of Selectmen shall adopt, make public, and abide by its own rules of procedure to govern the conduct of its meetings. An agenda shall be posted with each notice of public meeting. A period of public comment shall be scheduled before the beginning of agenda items. In addition, a public comment period must be provided before any vote on a policy issue. The Board of Selectmen may deviate from its agenda only for sudden, generally unexpected occurrences or for circumstances demanding immediate action.
SECTION 4. Section 4-1 of article 4 of said charter is hereby amended by striking out the first paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following 2 paragraphs:-
The Board of Selectmen shall appoint a Town Administrator Search Committee of not fewer than 5 and not more than 9 residents of the community to assist the Board of Selectmen in the recruitment and selection of the Town Administrator. If the Board of Selectmen does not select one of the candidates presented by the search committee within 30 days, then the search committee shall resume its search and submit an additional list of candidates to the Board of Selectmen within 60 days after it resumes the search.
The Board of Selectmen, by an affirmative vote of 4 members, shall appoint the Town Administrator for an indefinite term and fix the Town Administrator’s compensation within the amount annually appropriated for this purpose. The office of the Town Administrator shall not be subject to the Personnel by-law. The Town Administrator shall be appointed solely on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications.
SECTION 5. Said article 4 is hereby further amended by striking out section 4-2 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
4-2. Relationship of the Town Administrator and the Board of Selectmen.
The Town Administrator shall be the primary officer responsible for the implementation of the broad policy directives of the Board of Selectmen and for the attainment of yearly goals. The daily administration of the affairs of the town shall be the responsibility of the Town Administrator only. The Town Administrator may create advisory ad-hoc committees to assist in the execution of the Town Administrator’s duties.
The Town Administrator shall be evaluated by the Board of Selectmen annually for the Town Administrator’s ability to effectuate policy, to accomplish goals established by the Board of Selectmen, to effectively administer town government, and to properly supervise all municipal employees except school employees.
SECTION 6. Said article 4 is hereby further amended by striking out section 4-4 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
4-4. Temporary Absence.
The Town Administrator may, by letter filed with the Town Clerk and Board of Selectmen, designate as Acting Town Administrator a qualified officer or employee of the town to perform the duties of the Town Administrator during a temporary absence or disability. If this absence or disability exceeds 30 days, any designation made by the Administrator shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Selectmen. If the Town Administrator fails to make a designation, or if the person so designated is unable to serve, the Board of Selectmen may designate some other qualified employee of the town to perform the duties of the Town Administrator until the Town Administrator shall return.
SECTION 7. Section 4-6 of said article 4 is hereby amended by striking out clause (b) and inserting in place thereof the following clause:-
(b) appoint and, in appropriate circumstances, remove, subject to civil service laws and collective bargaining agreements where applicable, all department heads and employees as well as members of the Board of Assessors and other employees for whom no other appointment provision is made in this charter. Appointments made by the Town Administrator shall be effective immediately except that appointments of department heads and members of the Board of Assessors shall become effective on the fifteenth day after the day on which notice of the proposed appointment is filed with the Board of Selectmen, unless a majority of the Board of Selectmen votes to reject the appointment within this period;.
SECTION 8. Said section 4-6 is hereby further amended by striking out clause (c).
SECTION 9. Article 5 of said charter is hereby amended by striking out section 5-2 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
5-2. Organization of Town Government.
Subject only to the express prohibitions in the constitution, general laws or the charter, the Town Administrator may prepare a plan to organize, reorganize, consolidate or abolish any town agency as it considers necessary or advisable. The Town Administrator may prescribe the functions of any town agency and, for this purpose, transfer the powers and duties and, so far as is consistent with the use for which the funds were voted by the town, transfer the appropriations of one town agency to another, but no function assigned by the charter to a particular town agency may be discontinued or, unless the charter specifically so provides, assigned to any other. The Town Administrator shall not be prohibited by this charter from including the Department of Public Works or the Department of Integrated Solid Waste Management in any plan to organize, reorganize, consolidate or abolish any town agency that the Town Administrator may consider necessary or advisable in accordance with this section. Any proposed plan submitted under this section by the Town Administrator must be approved by an affirmative vote of 3 members of the Board of Selectmen.
SECTION 10. Said article 5 is hereby amended by striking out section 5-3 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
5-3. Public Hearing and Effective Date.
Whenever the Board of Selectmen approves such a proposed plan, it shall hold 1 or more public hearings on the proposal, giving notice by publication in a local newspaper at least 7 days in advance of the hearing. The notice shall describe the scope of the proposal as well as the date and place where the hearing will be held. The Selectmen have 14 days after the close of the public hearing to propose amendments, if any, and vote on the final plan. The proposed organization shall become effective no sooner than 60 days after the Selectmen’s vote on the final plan. Where the reorganization moves function or funding from 1 department to another, voters may petition for a Special Town Meeting to address the changes.
SECTION 11. Item number 11 of subsection (a) of section 5-6 of said article 5 is hereby amended by striking out, after the word “Administrator” the words “and Board of Selectmen”.
SECTION 12. Item number 3 of subsection (b) of said section 5-6 of said article 5 is hereby amended by striking out, after the word “Administrator” the words “and Board of Selectmen”.
SECTION 13. The first sentence of the first paragraph of section 9-2 of article 9 of said charter is hereby amended by striking out the words “four hundred and fifty (450)” and inserting in place thereof the following number:- 250.
SECTION 14. Said section 9-2 of said article 9 is hereby further amended by striking out the third paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
The petition, before being returned and filed with the Town Clerk, shall be signed by not less than 10 per cent of the qualified voters as of the most recent annual town election, and to every signature shall be added the place of residence of the signer, giving the street and number, if any.
SECTION 15. Said charter is hereby further amended by adding the following article:-
Article 11 - Charter Compliance Committee
There shall be a Charter Compliance Committee consisting of 7 members, appointed by the Town Moderator for 3-year overlapping terms so arranged that the term of no more than 3 members shall expire each year. At least 1 member of the committee shall reside in each of the town’s 6 precincts. No appointee shall be a town employee or a member of any existing board or committee governed by the charter.
The committee shall take action only after receiving a written complaint, filed by 1 or more voters of the town, alleging a violation of this charter by reason of an act or of a failure to act of the Town Administrator, the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, the Finance Committee or members of those committees.
The complaint shall state the specific section of this charter that is the subject of the violation, the individual or board responsible for the violation and the act or failure to act resulting in the violation. The complaint shall be filed with the Town Clerk who shall immediately send, via certified mail with return receipt requested, a copy to each member of the committee.
Within 3 weeks after receipt of the complaint by the Town Clerk, the committee shall vote whether to dismiss the complaint without further action. If the committee so votes, the chairman shall give written notification to the Town Clerk. If the committee votes not to dismiss the complaint, the chairman shall set a time and date for a hearing, mail notice of the hearing to the Town Clerk, the complainants and the individual or board named in the complaint. The Town Clerk shall post and publish the notice in a newspaper of general circulation at least 7 days before the hearing date. The hearing shall occur within 60 days after the date the complaint was received by the Town Clerk.
At the hearing, the committee shall allow any person to address the committee on the merits of the complaint.
Within 3 weeks after the hearing, the committee shall vote on whether there has been a violation of this charter as alleged in the complaint, shall mail a notice of its decision to the complainant, the individual or board named in the complaint and to the Town Clerk, who shall post a copy of the decision at Town Hall and on the town’s web site.
If the committee determines that there has been a violation of this charter as alleged by the complaint, and if, following its vote, there continues to be a violation, the committee may contact Town Counsel who may file a complaint on behalf of the town with the Superior Court.
This Article shall not limit the right to seek enforcement of this charter as otherwise provided by law.
Approved August 6, 2007.