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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS IN THE TOWN OF FAIRHAVEN

     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.  There shall be established in the town of Fairhaven, a board of public works, referred to in this act as the board, consisting of 5 members elected at large. Upon the expiration of the term of any member, a successor shall be elected at an annual town election to serve for a term of 3 years. In all cases, the members of the board shall serve until their successors are qualified. The members of the board shall, after the annual town election, elect from among its members a chairperson and a clerk for the ensuing year. In the case of a vacancy, the board of selectmen shall, within 30 days, fill the vacancy until the next annual town election, at which point a member shall be elected to fill an unexpired term resulting from the vacancy. No person shall serve on the board who holds an elected or appointed office in the town other than a town meeting member and no employee of the town shall serve on the board.
     SECTION 2.  The town administrator shall have the powers and duties which, prior to the effective date of this act, were vested in the board of public works, and such powers and duties as have been, or may, from time to time be, vested by general or special laws, town charter or town by-laws in the following boards, departments and offices having corresponding powers and duties in the town of Fairhaven: highway department, water and sewer commissioners, park commissioners, cemetery commissioners, refuse and garbage collection, and with respect to construction and maintenance only, the town landfill, notwithstanding that such boards, offices and departments have been abolished. No contracts or liabilities in force on the effective date of this act shall be affected by the abolition, but the town administrator shall in all respects be the lawful successor of the board of public works.
     Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the town administrator shall have such additional powers with respect to the furnishing of engineering services, the maintenance and repair of town buildings and property and the performance of such duties of any other boards, departments and offices of the town as may be reasonably related to the duties and responsibilities of a board of public works, as the town may, from time to time, by by-law provide.
Notwithstanding any provision of this act to the contrary, those duties previously vested in the board of public works for the setting of rates and fees, for the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements and for the issuance of licenses, permits, variances and similar forms of regulatory approval, shall be vested in the board of selectmen for the town of Fairhaven.
     SECTION 3.  The town administrator, subject to review and approval by the board of selectmen, shall appoint and fix the compensation of a superintendent of public works, referred to in this act as the superintendent, who shall exercise and perform, under the supervision and direction of the town administrator, such powers, rights and duties transferred to the superintendent under sections 2 and 3 as the town administrator may, from time to time, designate. The superintendent shall be responsible for the efficient exercise and performance of such powers, rights and duties and shall hold office subject to the will of the town administrator, with the review and approval of the board of selectmen, and shall not be subject to chapter 31 of the General Laws. The superintendent shall be specially fitted by education, training and experience to perform the duties of the office and need not be a resident of the town. During the superintendent’s tenure, the superintendent shall not hold elected office or be engaged in any other business or occupation. The superintendent shall give to the town a bond with a surety company authorized to transact business in the commonwealth as surety, for the faithful performance of the superintendent’s duties, in such sum and upon such conditions as the town administrator may require, and shall, subject to the approval of the town administrator, appoint and may remove such assistants, agents and employees as the exercise and performance of the superintendent’s powers, rights and duties may require. The superintendent shall keep full and complete records of the doings of the office and render to the town administrator as often as the town administrator may require a full report of all operations under the superintendent’s control during the period reported upon; provided, however, that annually, and, from time to time, as required by the town administrator, the superintendent shall make a synopsis of such reports for publication. The superintendent shall keep the town administrator fully advised as to the needs of the town within the scope of the superintendent’s duties, and shall furnish to the town administrator each year upon the town administrator’s request a carefully prepared and detailed estimate in writing of the appropriations required during the next succeeding fiscal year for the proper exercise and performance of all said powers, rights and duties.
     SECTION 4.  In the performance of town administrator duties under this act, the town administrator shall consult with the board on such proposed actions as the town administrator deems appropriate and, except in the case of an emergency, shall submit a written proposal to the board at least 14 days in advance, for its review and comments, on the following proposed actions:
     (a)  contracting for engineering or other design services;
     (b)  contracting for public works or public building;
     (c)  hiring or removal of the superintendent or of an assistant superintendent;
     (d)  contracting for goods or services in excess of $100,000.
     The superintendent of public works and town administrator shall consult with the board of public works to receive advice and assistance in the preparation of the department’s budget and developing policy guidelines for the operation of the department of public works.  The board of public works shall perform such other advisory functions related to the department of public works as the town administrator or superintendent may request. In addition to the foregoing duties, the board shall serve as a citizen advocacy board. The board shall hold regularly scheduled public meetings to hear requests for assistance and information from the public and the board shall advise the town administrator, superintendent or board of selectmen, as appropriate, as to the resolution of such requests in a timely manner.
     SECTION 5.  A reference to the board of public works for the town of Fairhaven in any collective bargaining agreement relating to an appeal, review or hearing in any grievance, disciplinary or similar process shall be deemed to refer to the board of selectmen for the town of Fairhaven, and any other reference to the board of public works for the town of Fairhaven, in any such collective bargaining agreement shall be deemed to refer to the town administrator.
     SECTION 6.  This act shall be submitted to the registered voters of the town of Fairhaven at any annual or special town election, and shall take effect upon its acceptance by a majority of the voters voting thereon. The vote shall be taken in precincts by ballot in accordance with the General Laws, so far as the same shall be applicable, in answer to the question, which shall be placed, in case of a special election, upon the ballot to be used for the election of town officers: “Shall an act passed by the general court in the year 2014, entitled “An Act relative to the board of public works in the town of Fairhaven”, be accepted by the town?”
     SECTION 7.  If this act is rejected by the registered voters of the town of Fairhaven when submitted to the voters pursuant to section 6, it may again be submitted for acceptance in like manner from time to time to the voters at any annual town election in the town within 3 years thereafter, but not more than 3 times in the aggregate.

Approved, December 3, 2014.