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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TOWN ADMINISTRATOR IN THE TOWN OF PLAINVILLE

     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) There shall be in the town of Plainville a town administrator with the powers and duties set forth in this act.  The town administrator shall have the appropriate education, training and administrative experience and shall have at least 3 years of experience in public administration: (i) as a city or town administrator; (ii) as an assistant city or town administrator; or (iii) in a position with substantially similar functions as a city or town administrator or an assistant city or town administrator.
     (b)  The town administrator shall be a full-time position.  The town administrator shall not hold any other elective or appointive office and shall not engage in any other business unless it is approved in advance in writing by the board of selectmen, hereinafter referred to in this act as the board.
     (c)  The board shall at least annually evaluate the performance of the town administrator and shall designate 1 member of the board to prepare a fair and concise summary of the evaluation process and results.  The summary shall be a public record. 
     SECTION 2.  (a)(1) Upon a vacancy in the office of town administrator because of resignation, removal or otherwise, the board shall immediately appoint a screening committee to solicit, receive and evaluate applications for the office of town administrator.  In seeking applications, the screening committee shall require that all candidates satisfy the minimum qualifications required by town by-laws or as set forth in the job description for town administrator as it may exist from time to time. 
     (2)  The screening committee shall recommend to the board a minimum of 3 qualified candidates and a maximum of 6 qualified candidates.  After receiving the recommendations of the screening committee, the board shall appoint a town administrator from the recommended candidates for a term of up to 3 years; provided, however, that the board shall not be required to appoint any of the recommended candidates and may request that the screening committee continue the screening process or shall appoint a new screening committee to continue the screening process. 
     (b)  Pending appointment of the town administrator pursuant to subsection (a), the board shall within a reasonable period of time appoint an interim town administrator to perform the duties of the town administrator. The interim town administrator may serve for 90 days; provided, however, that the board may extend the appointment for not more than 2 additional 90-day periods if a permanent town administrator has not yet assumed the duties of the town administrator or, if the search for a permanent town administrator is actively ongoing, for additional 90-day periods as needed after discussion and vote at an open meeting for which the matter appears on the meeting notice posted pursuant to section 20 of chapter 30A of the General Laws.
     (c)  The town administrator may, by a letter filed with both the board and the town clerk, designate a qualified officer of the town to serve as the interim town administrator who shall perform the duties of the town administrator during a temporary absence or disability. If the temporary absence or disability exceeds 14 days, a designation of an interim town administrator made by the town administrator shall be subject to the approval of the board. If the town administrator fails to make the designation or if the designated person is unable to serve for any reason or is considered not qualified by the board, the board may designate some other qualified person as the interim town administrator to perform the duties of the town administrator until the town administrator returns to the office.
     SECTION 3.  The town administrator shall receive compensation for services as determined by the board; provided, however, that the compensation shall be within the limits of available appropriations.  The board may enter into a contract with the town administrator pursuant to section 108N of chapter 41 of the General Laws for a period of time to provide for the salary, fringe benefits and other conditions of employment including, but not limited to, severance pay, relocation expenses, reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performances of duties or office, liability insurance and leave.
     SECTION 4.  (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the town administrator of the town of Plainville shall, based upon merit and qualifications, appoint all town employees except employees of the school department.  The appointments shall become effective not later than 15 days following appointment; provided, however, that the board may vote to reject the appointment.  The town administrator shall consider appointment of departmental employees after seeking, where appropriate, the input or recommendation of the respective department head or multiple-member town board.
     (b)  Notwithstanding section 108A of chapter 41 of the General Laws and subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreements, individual employment contracts or town personnel by-laws, the town administrator or a designee shall be responsible for the classification, assignment, promotion, discipline, discharge or layoff of all town employees except employees of the school department.
     (c)  Subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreements, individual employment contracts or town personnel by-laws, policies established by each multiple-member body derived directly from and adopted to carry out their respective statutory authority shall be applicable to employees appointed by the town administrator; provided, however, that the employees shall be subject to administrative policies and procedures applicable to all employees.
     SECTION 5.  The town administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the town of Plainville and shall be responsible to the board for the proper operation of town affairs for which the town administrator is given responsibility under this act. The powers, duties and responsibilities of the town administrator shall include, but not be limited to:
     (i)  supervising, directing and being responsible for the efficient administration of all employees appointed by the town administrator and their respective departments and of all functions for which the town administrator is given responsibility, authority or control;
     (ii)  administering, either directly or through persons supervised by the town administrator, general and special laws applicable to the town, town by-laws and all regulations established by the board;
     (iii)  coordinating all activities of town departments under the direction of the board and the town administrator with the activities of departments under the control of officers, town boards or commissions elected directly by the voters of the town;
     (iv)  keeping the board fully informed as to the needs of the town and recommending to the board for adoption any measures requiring action by the board or by the town as the town administrator considers necessary or expedient;
     (v)  ensuring that complete and full records of the financial and administrative activity of the town are maintained and rendering reports to the board as may be required;
     (vi)  administering personnel policies, practices or rules and regulations, any compensation plan and any related matters for all municipal employees and administering all collective bargaining agreements entered into by the town except for school department agreements;
     (vii)  fixing the compensation of all town employees appointed by the town administrator within the limits established by appropriation and any applicable compensation plan;
     (viii)  negotiating all contracts with town employees over wages and other terms and conditions of employment except employees of the school department consistent with direction from the board; provided, however, that the town administrator may, subject to the approval of the board, employ special counsel to assist in the performance of these duties; and provided further, that all collective bargaining agreements negotiated under this section shall be subject to the ratification of the board;
     (ix)  preparing and submitting an annual operating budget and capital improvement program;
     (x)  keeping the board and the finance committee fully informed as to the financial condition of the town and making recommendations to the board and other elected and appointed officials as the town administrator considers necessary or expedient;
     (xi)  investigating or inquiring into the affairs of any town department or office under the supervision of the town administrator or the job related conduct of any officer or employee of the town administrator or delegating the authority to another person;
     (xii)  performing other duties as necessary or as may be assigned by charter, by-law, town meeting vote or the board;
     (xiii)  developing, implementing and overseeing an annual performance review procedure for department heads; provided, however, that performance evaluations for all other employees shall be developed and implemented with assistance where appropriate from the respective department head or multi-member town board or committee;
     (xiv)  appointing, in the event that a particular town office is changed from elected to appointed whether under section 1B or 21 of chapter 41 of the General Laws or any other general law, any newly created appointed position under subsection (a) of section 4; provided, however, that notwithstanding any other provision of this act or any other general or special law to the contrary, the elected incumbent holding office on the effective date of a change in the manner of selection from elected to appointed shall be considered the first appointee to the position and shall hold office for an indefinite term or the incumbent’s sooner resignation, retirement or removal or, if authorized by town meeting, until a permanent appointment is made under this clause and said subsection (a) of said section 4.
     SECTION 6.  A person holding the office of town administrator as provided in section 23A of chapter 41 of the General Laws as of the effective date of this act shall, in the absence of a contract that provides otherwise, be considered an interim town administrator pursuant to subsection (b) of section 2.
     SECTION 7.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, November 17, 2015.