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Session Law

2009

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Chapter 8 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE CHARTER IN THE TOWN OF AUBURN.

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 Auburn which is on file in the office of archivist of the commonwealth, as provided in section 12 of chapter 43B of the General Laws, is hereby amended by striking out section 3.01 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 3.01. Selectmen

There shall be a board of selectmen consisting of 5 elected members who shall be compensated in such manner, as the town meeting shall determine. The selectmen who hold office at the time of the adoption of this charter shall continue to serve until their term of office expires. At each town election thereafter, selectmen shall be elected for 3-year terms to succeed those selectmen whose terms of office are expiring. A selectman may serve on not more than 1 appointive committee and shall hold no other elective office or compensated employment under the government of the town of Auburn during the term for which he is elected, nor any compensated appointive town office or employment for 1 year thereafter.
The selectmen shall have all powers and duties conferred upon them by the constitution and the General Laws of the commonwealth and by this charter. The board of selectmen shall appoint and may remove the town manager, the town accountant and the town counsel as hereinafter provided. The board of selectmen shall vote to confirm or deny the appointment of any person designated by the town manager to head any department of municipal government not otherwise provided for by this charter.

The selectmen, within 7 days after each annual town election, shall meet, elect a chairperson and otherwise organize and shall fix the time and place of their regular meetings. They shall adopt their own rules of procedure. Three members of the board of selectmen shall constitute a quorum, but no resolution or vote, except a vote to adjourn or to fix the time and place of the next meeting, shall be adopted by less than 3 affirmative votes.

SECTION 2. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 3.04 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 3.04. Other Elected Officials

Elected town officials who hold office at the time of the adoption of this charter shall continue to serve until their terms of office expire. At each town election thereafter when the term of an incumbent expires, except for an official whose position is no longer designated as an elected position or as otherwise provided by statute or by this charter, there shall be elected:

a town clerk for a term of 3 years who shall be compensated and who shall appoint assistant town clerks;

members of the Southern Worcester Vocational School Committee for a term of 3 years, each of whom shall serve without compensation except that they may be compensated for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties; and

2 trustees of the Auburn Free Public Library for a term of 3 years, each of whom shall serve without compensation except that they may be compensated for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.

SECTION 3. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 3.05 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 3.05. Town Manager

(A) The selectmen shall appoint, as soon as practicable after the first town election following adoption of this charter or after the occurrence of any vacancy in such office, for a term of 3 years, a town manager who shall be a person especially fitted by education, training and experience to perform the duties of the office. He need not be a resident of the town or of the commonwealth when appointed but shall become a resident of the town within 12 months of such appointment; provided, however, that the board of selectmen may waive this residency requirement by a vote of four-fifths of the full membership of the board of selectmen. During the 12 months prior to his appointment, the town manager shall not have held any elected office in the town of Auburn but such prohibition shall not include election to the town meeting. The town manager shall be appointed without regard to his political beliefs. He may be appointed for successive terms of office. Before entering upon the duties of the office, the town manager shall be sworn to the faithful and impartial performance thereof by the chairperson of the board of selectmen. He shall execute a bond in favor of town for the faithful performance of his duties in such amount and with surety or sureties as may be fixed or approved by the selectmen.

(B) Pending the appointment of a town manager or the filling of a vacancy or during the temporary disability of the town manager, the selectmen shall appoint a suitable person to perform the duties of the office.

(C) The selectmen, by a majority vote of the full membership of the board, may remove the town manager upon notice and hearing; provided, however, that the non-renewal of any contract of employment at the expiration thereof shall not be considered a removal subject to notice and hearing.

SECTION 4. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 3.06, as amended by chapter 116 of the acts of 1995, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 3.06. Powers and Duties of the Town Manager

In addition to the specific powers and duties provided in this charter, the town manager shall have the general powers and duties enumerated in this section and such other powers and duties which the board of selectmen shall determine:

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this charter and subject to chapter 31 of the General Laws and any other applicable laws, the town manager shall appoint upon merit and fitness alone the head of each department, subject to the confirmation of such appointment by the board of selectmen, and such other employees of the town as deemed necessary; provided, however, that the chief of the police department shall appoint all police officers and officials pursuant to said chapter 31 and shall administer the department, including making all rules and regulations dealing with all department property, vehicles, firearms or other weapons, training and paid details and shall assign officers as the chief deems in the best interest of the department and public safety. The chief of the fire department shall appoint all firefighters and fire officials and shall administer the department pursuant to section 42 of chapter 48 of the General Laws.

(b) The town manager shall supervise and direct the administration of all departments, committees, boards and offices of the town, except those elected by the voters or appointed by the selectmen, the moderator, or as otherwise provided by this charter. In accordance with this charter and except as otherwise prohibited by the General Laws, the town manager may reorganize, consolidate or abolish any department, commission, board or office under his direction and supervision in whole and in part and may transfer the duties, powers and appropriation of 1 department, commission, board or office to another. The town manager may establish such new departments, commissions, boards or offices, as he deems necessary but subject to appropriation by the town meeting when such action by the town manager shall require an increase in any appropriation voted by the town meeting. The powers described in this subsection shall be known as a reorganization plan and any such reorganization plan shall be accompanied by an explanatory message when submitted. No such reorganization shall be effective until such action is approved or disapproved by vote of the board of selectmen; provided, however, that no amendment to the reorganization plan as submitted shall be made by the board of selectmen.

(c) The town manager shall fix the compensation of all town officers and employees and employees appointed by him subject to any applicable provisions of chapters 31 and 150E of the General Laws.

(d) The town manager shall attend all regular and special meetings of the board of selectmen and of the town meeting, except meetings at which his removal is being considered.

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

(f) The town manager shall keep the selectmen fully advised as to the needs of the town and shall recommend to the selectmen for adoption such measures requiring action by them or by the town as he may deem necessary or expedient.

(g) The town manager shall have overall jurisdiction over, and be responsible for, the planning, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, improvement, use and rental of all town property except the property under the jurisdiction of the school committee and except as otherwise specifically voted by the town or provided by statute.

(h) The town manager shall be the chief procurement officer of the town, as that term is defined under chapter 30B of the General Laws, except that the superintendent of schools shall be such officer for the school department. The town manager shall purchase all supplies, materials and equipment and shall award all contracts for all departments and activities of the town except as otherwise provided for by this charter.

(i) The town manager shall administer, either directly or indirectly through a person or persons appointed by him in accordance with this charter, all provisions of general and special laws applicable to the town, all by-laws of the town and all regulations of the selectmen.

(j) With the approval of the board of selectmen, the town manager shall have the authority to prosecute, defend and compromise any claim or litigation to which the town is a party, and to employ special counsel whenever necessary.

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

(l) 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 appointed by him to be examined.

(m) The town manager shall recommend for appointment to the board of selectmen the town accountant and the town counsel.

(n) The town manager shall prepare and recommend an annual budget to the board of selectmen and the finance committee.

SECTION 5.
Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 3.07 and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sections:-

Section 3.07. Other Appointed Officials

Appointed town officials who hold office at the time of the adoption of this charter shall continue to serve until their term of office expires or until removed for cause. Thereafter, when the term of an incumbent expires or an office is vacated for any cause, except as provided by statute or by this charter, the town manager shall appoint such officials subject to paragraph (a) of section 3.06.

Each official appointed pursuant to this section shall, within 7 calendar days of his appointment, be sworn to the faithful performance of his duties, ensure that such action is certified by the town clerk, take office immediately upon being so sworn and hold such office until his successor is qualified, or he is removed for cause or by operation of law or until such office or position is abolished.

Each appointed official shall have all the powers and duties conferred by statute, this charter, by-law, vote of the town or the appointing authority.

Any appointment to an appointive position which is made for the purpose of filling a vacancy due to an unexpired term shall be for the duration of the unexpired term.

When any appointive board, commission, office or committee is abolished or consolidated, the town manager shall issue a written directive to the appropriate person or persons relative to the disposition of records, property and equipment.

Section 3.08. Limitations

No elected or appointed town officer, employee, board or committee shall engage, for official town business, the service of any attorney or incur monetary obligations to any attorney, other than town counsel appointed pursuant to section 3.01, unless such engagement is authorized by the town manager. This limitation shall not apply to the board of selectmen and shall not apply to any officer, board or committee specifically authorized by the General Laws to retain the services of an attorney provided that such officer, board or committee has a specific appropriation sufficient to pay for such services.

SECTION 6. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 4.01 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 4.01. Establishment

In addition to a board of selectmen and a school committee as established in sections 3.01 and 3.02, there shall be the following boards, commissions and committees:-

(a) a board of assessors, composed of 3 members appointed by town manager;
(b) a board of health, composed of 3 members appointed by town manager;
(c) a board of cemetery commissioners composed of 3 members appointed by town manager;
(d) a planning board composed of 5 members appointed by town manager;
(e) a parks commission composed of 3 members appointed by town manager;
(f) a board of trustees of the Auburn free public library composed of 6 trustees elected by the voters;
(g) a board of sewer commissioners composed of 3 members appointed by town manager;
(h) a finance committee composed of 7 members appointed by the board of selectmen;
(i) a board of appeals composed of 5 members appointed by the board of selectmen;
(j) a board of registrars composed of 3 members appointed by the board of selectmen;
(k) a conservation commission composed of 7 members appointed by town manager;
(l) a historical commission composed of 7 members appointed by town manager;
(m) a council on aging composed of 9 members appointed by town manager;
(n) an industrial development and finance authority composed of 5 members appointed by board of selectmen; and
(o) such other boards, commissions and committees as may be required by statute, established by town meeting or by the voters, or deemed necessary by the board of selectmen.

The members of each such board, committee or commission shall be appointed in accordance with paragraph (a) of section 3.06; provided, however, that no person shall be eligible for appointment who is not at the time of appointment a registered voter of the town and any person ceasing to be a resident of, and voter in, the town shall thereupon cease to hold any appointment.

No board, commission or committee, except the representative town meeting, library trustees and district committee shall be established with an even number of members. The terms of office of the members of each permanent board or standing committee shall be so established as to provide overlapping terms, with as nearly as possible equal numbers expiring each year.

SECTION 7.
Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 4.02 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 4.02. Administration

All town agencies shall be under the direction and supervision of elected or appointed officials. Except for purposes of investigation, town officials shall deal with town employees solely through the elected or appointed officials who direct or supervise such employees and may not give orders to such employees either publicly or privately.

A majority of any board, commission or committee shall constitute a quorum.

SECTION 8. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 7.04 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 7.04. Severability

If any provision of this charter is held invalid, the other provisions of the charter shall not be affected thereby. If the application of the charter or any of its provisions relating to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the application of the charter and its provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

SECTION 9. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 7.05 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 7.05. Existing Law

All laws, by-laws, votes, resolutions, rules and regulations or petitions thereof which are in force in the town when this charter or any amendment thereto takes effect, and which are consistent with this charter, shall continue in full force and effect until rescinded or amended.

Elected town officials who hold office at the time of the adoption of this charter, or any amendment thereto, shall continue to serve until their term of office expires or until removed for cause.

Notwithstanding any general or special law, by-law, vote, rule or regulation to the contrary, insofar as the provisions of this charter, as amended, are inconsistent with the provisions of such general or special law, by-law, vote, rule or regulation, the provisions of this charter, as amended shall be controlling.
Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, any town agency, board or commission, the membership of which was originally appointed pursuant to general or special law, and for which this charter or an amendment thereto provides for appointment thereto under paragraph (a) of section 3.06 or section 4.01, shall continue as an agency, board or commission of the town, subject to this charter.

SECTION 10. Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 7.06 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 7.06. Transition

Nothing in this charter shall affect or impair the rights or privileges of persons who are town officials or employees at the time it takes effect.
If, at the time this charter, or any amendment thereto, takes effect, a town official holds an office or position in conflict with any provision of this charter, such official shall continue in his office or position until the expiration of his elected or appointed term. If such official holds an appointive office of an indefinite term, he shall serve until a successor is appointed by the appointing authority as specified by this charter, but not later than 30 days following the next annual town election.

SECTION 11. This act shall be submitted for acceptance to the voters of the town of Auburn at annual town election in the form of the following question which shall be placed on the official ballot to be used for the election of town officers at said election: “Shall an act passed by the general court in the year 2009 entitled ‘An Act Relative to the Charter of the Town of Auburn’ be accepted”? The town counsel shall prepare a fair and concise summary of these amendments to the town charter, including a 1-sentence statement describing the effect of a yes or no vote, and such summary shall also be placed on the official ballot.

SECTION 12. Section 11 shall take effect upon its passage.

SECTION 13. Sections 1 to 10, inclusive, shall take effect following acceptance by a majority of the registered voters of the town voting at the election specified in section 11, but not otherwise.

Approved April 14, 2009


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