Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide forthwith for the election of the Freetown Lakeville regional school district committee members, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
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. (a) Commencing with the annual town elections of 2012, the towns of Lakeville and Freetown shall elect members to serve on the permanent Freetown Lakeville regional school district committee, hereafter “committee”, on the same date and time as the towns’ annual elections, subject to section 10 of chapter 39 of the General Laws, section 64 of chapter 54 of the General Laws and the “Agreement between the Towns of Freetown and Lakeville, Massachusetts with Respect to the Formation of a PK-12 Regional School District”, executed on October 20, 2010, and approved by the department of elementary and secondary education.
(b) The initial and permanent composition of the committee shall be 4 members elected from each town. The initial composition of the committee shall include: (i) 2 members elected for 3-year terms, 1 member elected for a 2-year term and 1 member elected for a 1-year term from among the residents and registered voters of the town of Lakeville; and (ii) 1 member elected for a 3-year term, 2 members elected for 2-year terms and 1 member elected for a 1-year term from among the residents and registered voters of the town of Freetown. After the election of the initial committee members, all elections to the committee shall be for 3-year terms, subject to subsections (c) and (d).
(c) Committee members shall be residents and registered voters of the towns of Freetown or Lakeville and shall be elected to 3-year terms in district-wide, at-large elections.
(d) (1) In years in which the towns of Freetown and Lakeville, hereafter “member towns”, hold annual town elections on the same date, notwithstanding the town in which candidates for committee member reside and are registered to vote, all such candidates’ names and addresses shall appear on the ballots of each member town. After the time for objecting to nomination papers has expired, the town clerks from each member town shall provide to the town clerk of the other member town a certified copy of the names and addresses of candidates properly nominated by 50 registered voters of the town clerk’s respective town. The town clerk of each member town shall forward a certified copy of the election results to the district clerk. Notwithstanding the election results for the office of committee member in either member town, the district clerk shall declare a candidate elected to the committee only if such candidate received the highest number of votes cast for the office in the aggregated vote from both member towns and no person shall be declared elected if the election results in a tie vote. The candidate declared elected shall be sworn into office by the town clerk of the town in which such candidate is registered to vote.
(2) In the event that the annual town elections for the member towns occur on different days, at the expense of the district, a district-wide election shall be undertaken during the last 4 months of the fiscal year on a date set by the district, in consultation with the member towns. Under such circumstances, the committee shall convene a special district-wide election, open to all registered voters of each member town, at which the office of committee member shall appear on the ballot. Such election shall be called, pursuant to a warrant, by not fewer than a majority of the committee, notice shall be called pursuant to a warrant, under the hands of at least a majority of the regional school district committee, notice of which shall be given at least 14 days prior to the date of such election. The warrant shall state the time, place and purpose of the election and shall be directed to the district clerk, who shall give notice by posting a copy in the town clerks office of each member town and at least 2 other public places in each member town and who shall further provide notice by publishing a copy of the warrant in at least 1 newspaper in general circulation within the member towns. The procedure for nomination of candidates and inclusion of names on the ballots in each member town shall be in accordance with paragraph (1). The town clerks from each member town shall forward to the district clerk a certified copy of their town’s election results and the district clerk shall declare the newly elected committee members. The candidate so elected shall be sworn into office by the town clerk of the town in which such candidate is registered to vote.
(3) If no person is nominated or no candidate is elected then the board of selectmen of the member town in which such failure to nominate or elect occurs shall appoint a committee member in accordance with section 3.
(4) The expenses of all district-wide elections shall be paid for by the district, but the member towns shall provide ballot boxes in their towns for such elections.
(5) Except as otherwise specifically provided herein, the nomination and election of committee members shall be in accordance with state election law.
SECTION 2. At the first regular meeting of the permanent committee following the election of its members, the committee shall organize and elect, by ballot from among its members, a chairperson and a vice-chairperson to 1-year terms. The chairmanship shall alternate, annually, between the member towns and the vice-chair shall be from a different town than the chairperson if members from each town are willing to serve in such positions. At the same meeting, or at any other meeting, the committee may elect a district clerk from among its members. The committee may elect a treasurer and a secretary, neither of whom need be members of the committee and 1 person may serve as both treasurer and secretary at the same time.
SECTION 3. If a vacancy occurs on the committee or upon a failure to elect a candidate, such vacancy shall be filled within 30 days therefrom by a majority vote of the board of selectmen and the members of the committee from the town in which the member vacating the office resided. The person so appointed shall be a resident and a registered voter of the town from which the vacancy occurred and shall serve until the next election of committee members, at which election a successor shall be elected to serve the balance of the unexpired term, if any. The board of selectmen shall provide notice of such appointment to the district clerk. Any person so appointed shall be sworn into office by the town clerk of the town in which such person is registered to vote.
Approved, January 17, 2012.