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. Chapter 592 of the acts of 1920, as amended by section 3 of chapter 443 of the acts of 1935, is hereby further amended by striking out section 9 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 9. The board of selectmen shall appoint a suitable qualified person to the office of town treasurer and collector of taxes. The town treasurer and collector of taxes shall have and exercise all the powers and rights and be subject to all the duties and liabilities now or hereafter conferred or imposed by law upon town treasurers and town collectors of taxes. The board of selectmen, by majority vote after notice and hearing, may remove the town treasurer and collector of taxes from office for cause. The board of selectmen may appoint a suitable qualified person to fill any vacancy in the office of town treasurer and collector of taxes resulting from death, resignation, retirement, removal or other cause. The board of selectmen shall determine the compensation of the town treasurer and collector of taxes and may establish an employment contract with the town treasurer and collector of taxes for a period of time to provide for salary, fringe benefits and other conditions of employment including, but not limited to, severance pay, relocation expenses, reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of duties of office, liability insurance, vacation and leave.
SECTION 2. Section 17 of said chapter 592 is hereby amended by striking out subsections (a) and (b) and inserting in place thereof the following 2 subsections:-
(a) The board of selectmen shall annually appoint and determine the compensation of an attorney or law firm to act as town counsel.
(b) The board of selectmen may prosecute, defend and compromise all litigation, to which the town is a party, and appoint and determine the compensation of special counsel to assist the town counsel whenever it deems necessary.
The town counsel shall draft all bonds, deeds, leases, obligations, conveyances and other legal instruments and do every professional act which may be required of him by vote of the town or any board of town officers. The town counsel shall furnish a written opinion on any question that may be submitted thereto by such board or any committee of the town and shall at all times furnish legal advice to any officer of the town who may require an opinion upon any subject concerning the duties of such officer.
The town counsel shall prosecute all suits or other legal proceedings ordered to be brought by the town or the board of selectmen, appear before any court in the commonwealth in defense of all actions or suits brought against the town or its officers in their official capacity, try and argue all causes in which the town shall be a party before any tribunal, whether in law or in equity, in the commonwealth or before a board of referees or commission, and appear at all hearings on behalf of the town whenever town counsel services may be required.
SECTION 3. Section 19 of said chapter 592 is hereby amended by adding the following 3 subsections:-
(k) To prepare and submit an annual operating budget to the board of selectmen. The proposed budget shall include, but not be limited to, a listing of the funds requested by all boards, committees, officers and departments of the town; provided, however, that the proposed budget shall be balanced and show both proposed expenditures and anticipated revenues. After reviewing the proposed budget and making changes it deems appropriate, the board of selectmen shall submit its recommended budget to the finance committee not later than the twentieth day of January of each year for review and recommendation of town meeting.
(l) To annually prepare a 5-year financial forecast of town revenue, expenditures and general finance condition of the town. The forecast shall be submitted to the board of selectmen who shall make it available to the public.
(m) To be responsible, on behalf of the board of selectmen, for the negotiation, administration and enforcement of collective bargaining agreements and other employment agreements, exclusive of agreements made by the school committee and the municipal light board. In carrying out duties hereunder, the town manager may engage labor counsel as the town manager deems necessary and with the approval of the board of selectmen; provided, however, that the board of selectmen shall retain sole authority to approve and execute all collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the town manager on the board of selectmen’s behalf.
SECTION 4. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the board of selectmen of the town of Middleborough shall appoint the person serving in the elective office of town treasurer and collector of taxes on the effective date of this act as the initial appointee as town treasurer and collector of taxes; provided, however, that the person shall receive not less than the compensation and benefits to which the elected town treasurer and collector of taxes was entitled unless modified by an employment contract. The elective office of town treasurer and collector of taxes shall terminate on the effective date of this act.
Approved, January 5, 2011.