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Session Law

2012

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Chapter 400 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF SOMERVILLE.

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 Chapter 182 of the acts of 1871 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 2. Chapter 308 of the acts of 1932 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 3. Chapter 183 of the acts of 1936 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 4. Chapter 173 of the acts of 1946 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 5. Chapter 116 of the acts of 1949 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 6. Chapter 234 of the acts of 1949 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 7. Chapter 474 of the acts of 1949 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 8. Chapter 34 of the acts of 1964 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 9. Chapter 972 of the acts of 1971 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 10. Chapter 486 of the acts of 1985 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 11. The second sentence of section 7 of chapter 240 of the acts of 1899, as amended by chapter 167 of the acts of 1946, is hereby amended by inserting, after the word “aldermen”, the following words:- from amongst its members.

SECTION 12. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 9.

SECTION 13. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 11, as amended by section 1 of chapter 330 of the acts of 1936, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 11. The board of aldermen shall make rules for its proceedings. A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The board of aldermen may, by a 2/3 vote of all its members taken by a call of the yeas and nays, establish a salary for its members. Such salary may be reduced at any time by a similar vote.

SECTION 14. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 14.

SECTION 15. Clause 1 of section 17 of said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out the words “and of the mayor and aldermen”.

SECTION 16. Clause 3 of said section 17 of said chapter 240 is hereby amended by striking out the word “town” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following word:- public.

SECTION 17. Said clause 3 of said section 17 of said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out the last sentence.

SECTION 18. Section 18 of said chapter 240 is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence.

SECTION 19. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 18 the following section:-

Section 18A. Disqualification from serving. An elected official who has been convicted of a state or federal felony shall, upon final conviction, be deemed to have vacated that office and shall be disqualified from serving the remainder of the term.

SECTION 20. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 19.

SECTION 21. Said chapter 240 is hereby amended by striking out section 21, as most recently amended by chapter 183 of the acts of 2006, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 21. The mayor may appoint, subject to confirmation by the board of aldermen, the following officers and boards; provided, however, that under section 46D of this charter, administrative orders may replace or modify the titles or assign the functions to any other city agency, unless otherwise provided, for 1 year and until the appointment and qualification of a successor: (i) a city treasurer, who shall also be the collector of taxes and in case of a vacancy, the office shall be filled for the unexpired term by the mayor, subject to confirmation; (ii) a city auditor, for a term of 3 years, from the date of the appointment until the qualification of a successor, and in case of a vacancy, the office shall be filled for the unexpired term by the mayor, subject to like confirmation; (iii) a chief of police, who shall be appointed in the manner provided by ordinance and shall have an employment agreement for a term of not more than 5 years, all other officers and members of the police department, a chief engineer and all other officers and members of the fire department; (iv) a city attorney; (v) a purchasing agent; (vi) a board of health; (vii) a board of trustees of the public library; (viii) a commissioner of public works, who shall serve for the term of the mayor; (ix) a city engineer, who may be the commissioner of public works; (x) a superintendent of the division of public buildings and grounds; (xi) a superintendent of inspectional services; (xii) a superintendent of highways, electric lines and lights; (xiii) a superintendent of water works; (xiv) 1 animal control officer of each public animal control facility in the city; (xv) the number of constables as may be deemed advisable; and (xvi) a 311 director, special police officers and all other officers and boards of the city whose election or appointment is not otherwise provided for in this charter. The executive officers shall hold their respective offices at the pleasure of the mayor and until removed by the mayor and board of aldermen in the same manner in which the officer was appointed or until the offices are otherwise vacated. Nothing in this section shall be construed to conflict with chapter 197 of the acts of 1895.

SECTION 22. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 27 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 27. In case of the inability of the mayor to perform the duties of the office, the president of the board of aldermen shall, until such inability is removed, but in no case for a period of time longer than 10 days, exercise the powers and perform the duties of mayor, under the style of acting mayor; provided, however, that the president of the board of aldermen acting as mayor shall not, unless authorized in a special instance by the board of aldermen, and then only in case of exigency requiring an immediate appointment or removal, make any permanent appointment or removal. In case of the inability of the mayor to perform the duties of the office for longer than 10 days, but prior to a vacancy occurring under section 7 of this charter, the acting mayor shall be elected by the board of aldermen from amongst its membership by a majority vote of all its members. An acting mayor chosen by majority vote of the board of aldermen shall have power to approve or disapprove an ordinance, order, resolution or vote of the board of aldermen and then, only in case of exigency requiring an immediate appointment or removal, make a permanent appointment or removal. In case of such inability on the part of the president of the board of aldermen to serve as acting mayor for the initial period of 10 days, the powers and duties shall devolve upon the vice-president of the board, and in case of such inability on the part of both the president and vice-president such powers and duties shall devolve upon the president pro tempore of the board.

SECTION 23. The first sentence of section 28 of said chapter 240, as most recently amended by section 2 of chapter 644 of the acts of 1977, is hereby further amended by striking out the words “The management and control of public schools including school buildings shall be vested in a school committee, which” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- The school committee.

SECTION 24. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 30, as most recently amended by chapter 126 of the acts of 1965, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 30. The school committee shall make rules for its proceedings. A majority of all the members of the committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The committee shall annually appoint a superintendent of schools, who shall also be its secretary but shall not be a member of the school committee.

SECTION 25. The first sentence of section 32 of said chapter 240 is hereby amended by striking out the words “, except license fees or other moneys the collection of which is otherwise provided for by law”.

SECTION 26. Section 34 of said chapter 240 is hereby amended by striking out the word “solicitor” and inserting in place thereof the following word:- attorney.

SECTION 27. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 35.

SECTION 28. The first sentence of subsection (c) of section 36 of said chapter 240, as appearing in section 1 of chapter 23 of the acts of 1985, is hereby further amended by striking out the words “have all the powers and perform all the duties imposed upon them” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- exercise the powers conferred and discharge the duties imposed upon the board of assessors by law.

SECTION 29. Said subsection (c) of said section 36 of said chapter 240, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the last sentence.

SECTION 30. The first sentence of subsection (g) of said section 36 of said chapter 240, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting, after the word “rule” the following words:- or otherwise required by law.

SECTION 31. The second sentence of said subsection (g) of said section 36 of said chapter 240, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the words “, at least forty eight hours in advance of the time set for such meeting” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- and posted as required by law.

SECTION 32. Said subsection (g) of said section 36 of said chapter 240, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the last sentence.

SECTION 33. Said chapter 240, is hereby further amended by striking out section 37.

SECTION 34. Section 38 of said chapter 240 is hereby amended by striking out the fourth sentence.

SECTION 35. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 43 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 43. The purchasing agent shall, subject to section 46A and the General Laws, make all purchases for the respective departments.

SECTION 36. The first sentence of section 44 of said chapter 240 is hereby amended by striking out the words “several administrative boards and officers named in this title having charge of departments shall, subject to the approval of the mayor” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- mayor shall.

SECTION 37. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 46C, as appearing in chapter 201 of the acts of 1993, the following section:-

Section 46D. (a) The organization of the city into operating agencies to provide services and for the administration of the government, as described in this charter, special acts or the General Laws, shall be accomplished through an administrative order filed with the board of aldermen by the mayor. No administrative order may originate with the board of aldermen. The mayor may, subject only to express prohibitions in the General Laws or this charter, propose to reorganize, consolidate or abolish a city agency, in whole or in part, or to establish a new city agency as is deemed necessary. No function assigned by this charter to a particular city agency may be discontinued, but the function may be assigned to another city agency by administrative order.

(b) The mayor may prepare and submit to the board of aldermen administrative orders that establish operating divisions for the orderly, efficient or convenient conduct of the business of the city. All ordinances addressing the organization and operation of city departments, agencies, boards, commissions and offices may be modified, revised, repealed or otherwise addressed in such administrative orders. Administrative orders may provide for the combination, separation, creation or dissolution of departments, provided that all essential city functions are assigned to a department, board, commission or office.

Administrative orders shall be accompanied by a message from the mayor that explains the benefits expected and advises the board of aldermen if the administrative order shall require amendments, insertions, revisions, repeal or otherwise of existing ordinances.

When the mayor proposes an administrative order, the board of aldermen shall hold 1 or more public hearings on the proposal giving notice by publication in a local newspaper, which notice shall describe the scope of the proposal and the time and place at which the public hearing will be held, not less than 7 nor more than 14 days following said publication. An organization or reorganization plan shall become effective upon a 2/3 vote of the board of aldermen to approve the plan. The board of aldermen may vote only to approve or to disapprove the plan and may not vote to amend or alter it.

SECTION 38. The third sentence of section 46C of said chapter 240, as most recently amended by section 3 of chapter 972 of the acts of 1971, is hereby amended by striking out the word “therefor” and inserting in place thereof the following word:- therefore.

SECTION 39. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 49.

SECTION 40. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 52 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 52. Nothing in this charter shall be construed to affect the enforcement of chapter 31 of the General Laws in the city of Somerville.

SECTION 41. Section 53 of said chapter 240 is hereby amended by striking out the second sentence.

SECTION 42. Said chapter 240 is hereby further amended by striking out section 55.

SECTION 43. Chapter 49 of the acts of 1928 is hereby amended by striking out section 1 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 1. There shall be a zoning board of appeals in the city of Somerville with all the powers and duties under section 12 of chapter 40A of the General Laws.

SECTION 44. Said chapter 49 is hereby further amended by striking out section 2.

SECTION 45. The first sentence of section 1 of chapter 81 of the acts of 1928 is hereby amended by striking out the words “the provisions of section twenty seven of chapter forty of the General Laws, as affected by chapter forty-nine of the acts of nineteen hundred and twenty-eight” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- chapter 40A of the General Laws.

SECTION 46. Chapter 82 of the acts of 1928 is hereby amended by striking out section 1.

SECTION 47. Section 2 of said chapter 82 is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sentences:- There shall be a board of election commissioners in the city of Somerville. The board shall consist of 4 persons, 2 of whom shall always represent each of the 2 leading political parties, as defined in section 1 of chapter 50 of the General Laws.

SECTION 48. Section 3 of said chapter 82, as most recently amended by chapter 178 of the acts of 1929, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- The members of the board of election commissioners shall serve until the expiration of the member’s respective term and until a successor is qualified.

SECTION 49. Said chapter 82 is hereby further amended by striking out section 5 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 5. The board of election commissioners shall oversee the conduct of elections under state laws and regulations and this charter, except for the power and duty of fixing the days, hours and places for holding municipal elections.

SECTION 50. Said chapter 82 is hereby further amended by striking out section 6 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 6. The mayor may appoint assistant election commissioners and such other assistants as the mayor deems necessary, who shall at all times equally represent the 2 leading political parties as defined in section 1 of chapter 50 of the General Laws.

SECTION 51. Said chapter 82 is hereby further amended by striking out section 7.

SECTION 52. Section 2 of chapter 281 of the acts of 1932, is hereby amended by striking out the words “in said section ten”.

SECTION 53. Said section 2 of said chapter 281, is hereby further amended by striking out the words “, held as provided in this act”.

SECTION 54. Said chapter 281 is hereby further amended by striking out section 13.

SECTION 55. Chapter 394 of the acts of 1938 is hereby amended by striking out sections 1 to 6, inclusive.

SECTION 56. Said chapter 394 is hereby further amended by striking out section 8.

SECTION 57. Sections 4 and 5 of chapter 644 of the acts of 1977 are hereby repealed.

SECTION 58. Section 2 of chapter 397 of the acts of 1978 is hereby amended by striking out the fourth paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-

A member of the traffic department staff shall be a traffic engineer, possessing the qualifications required for associate or full membership in the Institute of Traffic Engineers. The position of traffic engineer shall not be subject to chapter 31 of the General Laws. The traffic director shall be appointed and may be removed in the same manner set forth for the suspension and removal of officers confirmed by the board of aldermen.

SECTION 59. Subsection (a) of section 3 of said chapter 397, as most recently amended by chapter 285 of the acts of 2002, is hereby further amended by adding the following sentence:- A copy of the public notice shall be provided to the members of the board of aldermen at the time of publication.

SECTION 60. Said chapter 397 is hereby further amended by striking out sections 6 and 7.

SECTION 61. Where provisions of the Somerville charter conflict with city ordinances, rules, regulations, orders or special acts or acceptances of laws, the charter shall govern. All city ordinances, rules, regulations, orders and special acts not superseded by this act shall remain in force.

All agencies of the city of Somerville shall continue to perform their duties until re-elected, reappointed or until successors to their respective positions are duly appointed or elected or until their duties have been transferred and assumed by another city agency.

SECTION 62. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, January 3, 2013.


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