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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT AMENDING THE CHARTER OF THE CITY KNOWN AS THE TOWN OF BARNSTABLE

     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.  Section 2-1 of part II of the charter of the city known as the town of Barnstable, which is on file in the office of the archivist of the commonwealth, as provided in section 12 of chapter 43B of the General Laws, is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:-
     (d)  Term Limits
     A person elected to serve as a member of the town council shall not serve more than 3 consecutive terms of office or 12 consecutive years, whichever is greater. When the term of office for which the person is elected to serve would extend membership on the town council beyond 12 consecutive years if the member served the full term, the seat shall be deemed vacant at the time of the next scheduled biennial town election and the vacancy shall be filled at that regular election for the balance of the unexpired term; provided, however, that the retiring councilor shall continue to serve until a successor is qualified.
     SECTION 2.  Section 2-8 of said part II of said charter is hereby amended by striking out subsection (c) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-
     (c)  Charter Objection
     Except for an emergency measure as defined in subsection (b), on the first occasion that the question on adoption of a measure is put to the town council, if a member objects to the taking of the vote, the vote shall be postponed until the next regular or special meeting of the town council. A charter objection shall have privilege over all motions but shall be made at the call for a vote on the measure by the presiding officer and all debate shall cease. This procedure shall not be used more than once for any matter bearing a single docket number notwithstanding any amendment to the original matter.
     SECTION 3.  Section 2-11 of said part II of said charter is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence.
     SECTION 4.  Part III of said charter is hereby amended by striking out section 3-1 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
     Section 3-1  Elective Offices in General
     In addition to the town council, the offices to be filled by the voters shall be a school committee, a town clerk and a housing authority and such other regional authorities, districts or committees as may be established by law or interlocal agreement.
     SECTION 5.  Said part III of said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 3-5.
     SECTION 6.  Said part III of said charter is hereby further amended by striking out the words “Section 3-6 Housing Authority” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-  Section 3-5 Housing Authority.
     SECTION 7.  Said part III of said charter is hereby further amended by striking out section 3-7 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
     Section 3-6  Filling Vacancies
     If a vacancy occurs in the office of town clerk, whether by failure to elect or otherwise, the town council shall, not later than 30 days after the date that the vacancy is declared to exist, act to fill the vacancy. The town council shall choose from among the voters a person to serve for the balance of the unexpired term. The person so chosen shall be sworn and commence to serve immediately.
     If a vacancy occurs in the membership of the school committee or housing authority, whether by failure to elect or otherwise, the president of the town council shall, not later than 30 days after the date the vacancy is declared to exist, call a joint meeting of the town council and the remaining membership of whichever agency in which the vacancy is declared to exist, to act to fill the vacancy.  At the joint meeting, a majority of those present and voting shall choose from among the voters a person to serve for the balance of the unexpired term. The person so chosen shall be sworn and commence to serve immediately. Participants in the joint meeting to fill a vacancy on the school committee or housing authority shall give consideration to whichever of the defeated candidates for the seat in which the vacancy was declared to exist who received the highest number of votes at the last regular town election immediately preceding the date the vacancy was declared to exist.
     SECTION 8.  Section 6-6 of part VI of said charter is hereby amended by striking out the word “ten” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:-  5.
     SECTION 9.  Said charter is hereby further amended by striking out Part VII and inserting in place thereof the following part:-
     Part VII
     Nominations and Elections
     Section 7-1  Town Elections
     The regular town election shall be held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each odd-numbered year. There shall be no preliminary town elections.
     Section 7-2  Regular Election
     (a)  Signature Requirements
     The number of signatures of voters required to place the name of a candidate on the official ballot to be used at an election shall be:  (i) for an office that is to be filled by a vote of the whole town, not less than 150; and (ii) for an office that is elected by vote of a precinct, not less than 50 signatures from the precinct.
     (b)  Information to Voters
     If the candidate in a regular town election is an incumbent of the office to which the candidate seeks election, the phrase “candidate for re-election” shall appear against the candidate’s name.
     (c)  Ballot Position
     The order in which names of candidates appear on the ballot for each office in a regular town election shall be determined by a drawing by lot conducted by the town clerk in the presence of the candidates or their representatives as may choose to attend.
     Section 7-3  Precincts
     The territory of the town shall be divided into precincts so established to consist of as nearly equal a number of inhabitants as is possible in compact and contiguous territory; provided, however, that the precincts shall be bounded insofar as possible by the center line of known streets or ways or by other well-defined limits.
     Section 7-4  Application of State Laws
     Except as expressly provided in this charter and authorized by law, all town elections shall be governed by the laws of the commonwealth relating to the right to vote, the registration of voters, the nomination of candidates, the conduct of preliminary and regular elections, the submission of charter amendments and other propositions, the counting of votes and the declaration of results.
     SECTION 10.  Section 9-4 of part IX of said charter is hereby amended by adding the following definition:-
     (i)  Measure - The word “measure” shall mean any matter coming before the town council that is inherently legislative in nature including, but not limited to, ordinances, charter amendments, appropriations, loan orders, lease approvals, contract approvals and eminent domain authorizations; provided, however, that “measure” shall not encompass any matter that is executive, administrative or ministerial or quasi-judicial in nature including, but not limited to, appointments, resolutions, proclamations, tax classification votes and petitions to the general court.
     SECTION 11.  Section 10-7 of part X of said charter is hereby amended by striking out subsection (b) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-
     (b)  The incumbent in the office of tax collector shall continue to serve in the office until the completion of the current elected term.
     SECTION 12.  Clause (1) of subsection (k) of said section 10-7 of said part X of said charter is hereby amended by inserting after the words “a town accountant/director of finance” the following words:-
a town collector.
     SECTION 13.  The town clerk of the city known as the town of Barnstable shall cause the following question to be placed on the official ballot to be used in the town of Barnstable at the biennial town election to be held on November 7, 2017: Shall an act entitled “An Act amending the charter of the city known as the town of Barnstable” be accepted?
     The town attorney shall prepare a summary of the proposed special act to amend the charter which shall appear on the ballot along with the question provided in this section.
     If a majority of votes cast in answer to the question is in the affirmative, sections 1 to 12, inclusive, shall take effect, but not otherwise.
     SECTION 14.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, October 3, 2017