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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT REVISING THE CHARTER FOR THE CITY OF MELROSE.

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.  The charter of the city of Melrose, 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 striking out articles 1 to 10, inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following 10 articles:-

ARTICLE 1. INCORPORATION; SHORT TITLE; DEFINITIONS.

SECTION 1-1. INCORPORATION.

The inhabitants of the city of Melrose, within the territorial limits established by law, shall continue to be a municipal corporation, a body corporate and politic, under the name “city of Melrose”.

SECTION 1-2. SHORT TITLE.

This act shall be known and may be cited as the city of Melrose charter.

SECTION 1-3. DIVISION OF POWERS.

The administration of the fiscal, prudential and municipal affairs of the city, with the government thereof, shall be vested in an executive branch headed by a mayor and a legislative branch consisting of a city council. The legislative branch shall never exercise any executive power and the executive branch shall never exercise any legislative power.

SECTION 1-4. POWERS OF THE CITY.

Subject only to express limitations on the exercise of any power or function by a municipal government in the constitution or General Laws of the commonwealth, it is the intention and the purpose of the voters of the city through the adoption of this charter to secure for themselves and their government all of the powers it is possible to secure as fully and as completely as though each such power were specifically and individually enumerated in this charter.

SECTION 1-5. CONSTRUCTION.

The powers of the city of Melrose under this charter are to be construed liberally in favor of the city and the specific mention of any particular power is not intended to limit the general powers of the city as stated in sections 1 to 4, inclusive.

SECTION 1-6. INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS.

Subject only to express limitations in the constitution or General Laws of the commonwealth, the city may exercise any of its powers or perform any of its functions and may participate in the financing thereof, jointly or in cooperation, by contract or otherwise, with the commonwealth or any of its agencies or political subdivisions or with the United States government or any of its agencies.

SECTION 1-7. DEFINITIONS.

The following words shall have the following meanings unless the context requires otherwise:-

“Business day”, any day on which Melrose city hall is open for the citizens of Melrose to conduct routine business.

“Charter”, this charter and any adopted amendments to it.

“City”, the city of Melrose.

“City agency”, a multiple-member body, department, division or office of the city.

“City bulletin boards”, the official location for public notices designated by the clerk’s office and registered with the attorney general where the public may find official notices of meetings; provided, however, that “city bulletin boards” may include the city’s website and an official physical location within city hall.

“City council”, the entire authorized complement of the city council, notwithstanding any vacancy that might exist.

“City officer”, when used without further qualification or description, a person having charge of an office or department of the city who, in the exercise of the powers or duties of that position, exercises some portion of the sovereign power of the city.

“Emergency”, a sudden, unexpected and unforeseen happening, occurrence or condition that necessitates immediate action or response.

“Full multiple-member body”, the entire authorized complement of the city council, school committee or other multiple-member body, notwithstanding any vacancy that might exist.

“Initiative measure”, a measure proposed by the voters through the initiative process provided under this charter.

“Local news publication”, a newspaper of general circulation within the city, with either a weekly or daily circulation; provided, however, that if no general circulation publication exists within the city, “local news publication” shall also include online publications to the extent permitted by law.

“Majority vote”, when used in connection with a meeting of a multiple-member body, a majority of those present and voting unless another provision is made by ordinance, by-law or by the body’s own rules.

“Measure”, an ordinance, order, resolution or other vote or proceeding adopted, or that might be adopted, by the city council or the school committee.

“Multiple-member body”, any board, commission, committee, subcommittee or other body consisting of not less than 2 persons, whether elected, appointed or otherwise constituted; provided, however, that “multiple-member body” shall not include the city council or the school committee.

“Organization or reorganization plan”, a plan submitted by the mayor to the city council that proposes a change in the organization of the administrative structure of the city government or a change in the way a municipal service shall be delivered.

“Previous election”, the most recent election to have occurred for the particular position, council or committee that is referenced.

“Quorum”, a majority of all members of a multiple-member body unless some other number is required by law or by ordinance.

“Referendum measure”, a measure adopted by the city council or the school committee that is protested under the referendum procedures of this charter.

“Voters”, registered voters of the city of Melrose.

ARTICLE 2. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH.

SECTION 2-1. COMPOSITION, TERM OF OFFICE.

(a)  Composition. There shall be a city council that shall exercise the legislative powers of the city. The city council shall consist of 11 members, 4 of whom shall be councilors-at-large who shall be nominated and elected by and from the voters at large and 7 of whom shall be ward councilors who shall be nominated and elected by the voters of each ward; provided, however, that 1 ward councilor shall be elected from each of the 7 wards into which the city is divided under section 7-5.

(b)  Term of Office. The term of office for all councilors shall be 2 years, beginning on the first Monday after the first Tuesday in January in the year following their election and until their successors have been qualified.

(c)  Eligibility. Any voter shall be eligible to hold the office of councilor-at-large. A ward councilor shall, at the time of election, be a voter of the ward from which the ward councilor is elected; provided, however, that if a ward councilor shall remove to another ward in the city during the first 12 months of the term of office, the office shall be deemed vacant and the balance of the unexpired term shall be filled in the manner provided in section 2-11. If such a removal occurs after the first 12 months of the term of office, the ward councilor may continue to serve for the balance of the term for which the ward councilor is elected. If a councilor-at-large or a ward councilor removes from the city during the councilor's term, the office shall immediately be deemed vacant and filled in the manner provided in said section 2-11.

SECTION 2-2. PRESIDENT.

(a)  Election and Term. Following each biennial election and as soon as practicable after the councilors-elect have been qualified as provided in section 9-10, the members of the city council shall elect from among its members a president who shall serve for 1 year. The method of election of the president shall be prescribed in the rules of the city council.

(b)  Powers and Duties. The president shall preside at all meetings of the city council, regulate its proceedings and decide all questions of order. The president shall appoint all members of all committees of the city council, whether special or standing. The president shall have the same powers to vote upon the measures coming before the city council as any other member of the city council. The president shall perform any other duties consistent with the office that may be provided by charter, ordinance or other vote of the city council.

SECTION 2-3. PROHIBITIONS.

(a)  Holding Other City Office or Position. No member of the city council shall hold any other city office or city employment for which a salary or other emolument is payable from the city treasury. No former member of the city council shall hold a compensated appointed city office or appointed city employment before 1 year following the date on which the former member’s service on the city council ended. This subsection shall not prevent a city officer or employee who has vacated a position in order to serve as a member of the city council from returning to the same office or position of city employment held at the time the position was vacated, but no such person shall be eligible for any other municipal position before 1 year following the termination of service as a member of the city council.

(b)  Interference with Administration. No city council or member of the city council shall give orders or directions to an officer or employee of the city who is appointed by the mayor, either publicly or privately.

SECTION 2-4. COMPENSATION.

(a)  Compensation. The members of the city council shall receive such salary for their services as may from time to time be set by ordinance. No ordinance increasing the salary of the city council shall be effective unless it shall have been adopted during the first 18 months of the term for which the city council were elected and unless it provides that the salary increase shall take effect upon the organization of the city government following the next municipal election.

SECTION 2-5. GENERAL POWERS.

Except as otherwise provided by law or this charter, all powers of the city shall be vested in the city council, which shall provide for their exercise and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed upon the city by law.

SECTION 2-6. EXERCISE OF POWERS; QUORUM; RULES.

(a)  Exercise of Powers. Except as otherwise provided by law or this charter, the legislative powers of the city council may be exercised in a manner determined by the city council.

(b)  Quorum. The presence of 6 members of the city council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business; provided, however, that a smaller number may meet and adjourn from time to time. Except as otherwise provided by law or this charter, the affirmative vote of 8 members shall be required to adopt an ordinance or appropriation order.

(c)  Rules of Procedure. The city council shall from time to time adopt rules regulating its procedures that shall include, but not be limited to, a requirement that:

(i)  regular meetings of the city council be held at a time and place fixed by ordinance;

    (ii)  special meetings of the city council be held at the call of the president or at the call of not less than 4 members, by written notice delivered in hand, via electronic mail or by first class mail to each member; provided, however, that such notice shall contain a listing of the items to be acted upon; provided further, that except in case of an emergency, which shall be determined by the president, such notice shall be delivered not less than 48 hours in advance of the time set for such meeting, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays; and provided further, that a copy of the notice to members shall immediately be posted upon the city bulletin boards;

   (iii)  all sessions of the city council and of every committee or subcommittee of the board be open to the public unless another provision has been made by law; and

    (iv)  a full, accurate and up-to-date account of the proceedings of the city council be kept, which shall include a record of each vote taken and which shall be made available with reasonable promptness following each meeting; provided, however, that the minutes of an executive session shall be made available as soon as their publication would not defeat the lawful purposes of the executive session.

SECTION 2-7. ACCESS TO INFORMATION.

(a)  General. The city council may make investigations into the affairs of the city and into the conduct and performance of any city agency.

(b)  City Officers, Members of City Agencies, Employees. The city council may require any city officer, member of a city agency or city employee to appear before the city council to give any information that the city council may require in relation to the municipal services, functions, powers or duties that are within the scope of responsibility of that person and within the jurisdiction of the city council. Copies of all notices directed to employees of the school department shall be concurrently provided to the school committee chair.

(c)  Mayor. The city council may require the mayor to provide specific information to the city council on any matter within the jurisdiction of the city council. The city council may require the mayor to appear before the city council in person to provide specific information on the conduct of any aspect of the business of the city. The mayor may bring to such meeting any assistant, department head or other city officer or employee that the mayor deems necessary to assist in responding to the questions posed by the city council.

(d)  Notice. The city council shall give notice to any person the city council may require to appear before it under this section not less than 48 hours before such appearance is required. The notice shall include specific questions on which the city council seeks information and no person called to appear before the city council under this section shall be required to respond to any question not relevant or related to those presented in advance and in writing.

SECTION 2-8. APPOINTMENTS OF THE CITY COUNCIL.

(a)  City Clerk. The city council shall elect a city clerk to serve for a term of 3 years. The city clerk shall be the keeper of vital statistics of the city and the custodian of the city seal and of all records of the city.  The city clerk shall administer the oath of office to all city officers and shall issue licenses and permits as may be provided by law. The city clerk shall have the powers and duties provided to that office by law, this charter, ordinances or other votes of the city council.

(b)  Clerk of Committees. The city council shall elect a clerk of committees to serve at the pleasure of the city council. The clerk of committees shall perform the duties as may be provided by ordinance or by other vote of the city council.

(c)  Salary, Compensation. The city clerk and the clerk of committees shall receive such salary or other compensation as provided by ordinance.

SECTION 2-9. ORDINANCES AND OTHER MEASURES.

(a)  Emergency Ordinances. No ordinance shall be passed finally on the date it is introduced, except in case of an emergency involving the health or safety of the people or their property. No ordinance shall be regarded as an emergency ordinance unless the emergency is defined and declared in a preamble to the ordinance, separately voted upon and receives the affirmative vote of not less than 8 members of the city council. An emergency ordinance shall be repealed after the expiration of 60 days following its adoption unless an earlier date is specified in the measure, a second emergency measure adopted under this section is passed to extend the original emergency ordinance or measure passed under this section extends the original emergency ordinance.

(b)  General Measures. The city council may pass a measure through all of its stages at any 1 meeting, except for proposed ordinances, appropriation orders and loan authorizations, if no member of the city council shall object; provided, however, that if a single member objects, a vote on the measure shall be postponed to the next meeting of the city council. If a member objects to the taking of a vote on the first occasion that the question of adopting any measure is put to the city council, except an emergency ordinance under subsection (a), the vote shall be postponed until the next regular or special meeting of the city council. This procedure shall not be used more than once for any measure notwithstanding any amendments made to the original measure.

(c)  Posting. Every proposed ordinance, appropriation order or loan authorization, except an emergency ordinance under subsection (a), shall be posted on the city bulletin board and made available in the office of the city clerk not less than 10 days before its final passage.

SECTION 2-10. CITY COUNCIL REVIEW OF CERTAIN APPOINTMENTS.

The mayor shall submit to the city council the name of each person the mayor desires to appoint to any city office as a department head or as a member of a multiple-member body; provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to appointments to a position subject to the civil service law. The city council shall refer each name submitted to it to a standing committee of the board that shall review each candidate for appointment and may make a report with recommendations to the full city council not less than 7 but not more than 45 days after the referral. The committee may require any person whose name has been referred to it to appear before the committee or before the city council to give any information relevant to the appointment that the committee or the city council may require. Appointments made by the mayor shall become effective upon the expiration of 45 days following the date that notice of the proposed appointment was filed with the city clerk unless rejected by the city council within those 45 days.

SECTION 2-11. FILLING OF VACANCIES.

(a)  Councilor-at-Large. If a vacancy shall occur in the office of councilor-at-large, the vacancy shall be filled in descending order of votes received by the candidate for the office of councilor-at-large at the preceding city election who received the highest number of votes without being elected and who received not less than 40 per cent of the total votes cast for the highest vote getter for the office of councilor-at-large, if that person remains eligible and willing to serve as councilor-at-large. The city clerk shall certify this candidate to the office of councilor-at-large to serve for the balance of the unexpired term.

(b)  Ward Councilor. If a vacancy shall occur in the office of ward councilor, it shall be filled in the same manner as provided in subsection (a) for the office of councilor-at-large, except that the list shall be of the candidates for the office of ward councilor in the ward in which the vacancy occurs and the 40 per cent requirement shall be calculated from among the total votes cast for the office of ward councilor in the ward where the vacancy occurs; provided, however, that if there is no candidate on such list who remains eligible and willing to serve, the next highest ranking candidate from among the candidates for election to the office of councilor-at-large who is a resident of the ward in which the vacancy exists and who received not less than 40 per cent of the total votes cast for ward councilors in that ward shall be certified and shall serve until the next regular election if the candidate remains a resident of the ward and is willing to serve as a ward councilor. The city clerk shall certify the candidate to the office of ward councilor to serve for the balance of the unexpired term.

(c)  Filling of Vacancies by City Council. If a vacancy shall occur in the office of councilor-at-large or in that of ward councilor and there is no available candidate to fill the vacancy in the manner provided in subsection (a) or (b), the remaining members of the city council shall elect a person to fill the vacancy. A person elected by the city council to fill a vacancy shall serve until the next regular election, at which time the vacancy shall be filled by the voters and the person chosen to fill the vacancy shall immediately be sworn and shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term in addition to the term for which the person is elected. A person serving as a councilor under this section shall not be entitled to have the words “candidate for re-election” printed against the person’s name on the election ballot.

ARTICLE 3. EXECUTIVE BRANCH.

SECTION 3-1. MAYOR: QUALIFICATIONS; TERM OF OFFICE; COMPENSATION; PROHIBITIONS.

(a)   Mayor, Qualifications. The chief executive officer of the city shall be a mayor who shall be elected by the voters of the city at large. Any voter shall be eligible to hold the office of mayor. The mayor shall devote full time to the office and shall not hold any other elective public office.

(b)  Term of Office. The term of office of the mayor shall be 4 years beginning on the first Monday after the first Tuesday in January following the biennial city election where the mayor is chosen and shall continue until a successor is qualified.

(c)  Compensation. The city council shall by ordinance establish an annual salary for the mayor. No ordinance altering the salary of the mayor shall be effective unless it shall have been adopted before the expiration of 18 months following the beginning of the term for which councilors are elected and it provides that the salary is to become effective in January of the year following the next biennial city election.

(d)  Prohibitions. The mayor shall hold no other city office or city employment for which a salary or other emolument is payable from the city treasury. No former mayor shall hold any compensated appointed city office or city employment until 1 year following the date on which the former mayor's city service has terminated. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent a city officer or employee who has vacated a position in order to serve as mayor from returning to the same office or position of city employment held at the time the position was vacated; provided, however, that no such person shall be eligible for any other municipal position until at least 1 year after the termination of service as mayor. Nothing in this subsection shall apply to persons covered under the leave of absence provisions of section 37 of chapter 31 of the General Laws.

SECTION 3-2. EXECUTIVE POWERS; ENFORCEMENT OF ORDINANCES.

The executive powers of the city shall be vested solely in the mayor and may be exercised by the mayor personally or through the several city agencies under the general supervision and control of the office of the mayor. The mayor shall cause this charter, the laws, ordinances and other orders for the government of the city to be enforced and shall cause a record of all official acts of the executive branch of the city government to be kept. The mayor shall exercise general supervision and direction over all city agencies unless otherwise provided by law or by this charter. Each city agency shall furnish to the mayor, immediately upon request, any information, materials or otherwise as the mayor may request and as the needs of the office of mayor and the interest of the city may require. The mayor shall supervise, direct and be responsible for the efficient administration of all city activities and functions placed under the control of the mayor by law or by this charter. The mayor shall be responsible for the efficient and effective coordination of the activities of all agencies of the city and for this purpose may, consistent with law, call together for consultation, conference and discussion at reasonable times all persons serving the city, whether elected directly by the voters, chosen by persons elected directly by the voters or otherwise. The mayor shall be a member of every appointed multiple-member body of the city by virtue of the office. As an ex officio member, the mayor may attend any meeting of an appointed multiple-member body of the city at any time, including executive sessions, to participate in the discussions, make motions and exercise every other right of a regular member of such body except for the right to vote.

SECTION 3-3. APPOINTMENTS BY THE MAYOR.

The mayor shall appoint, subject to the review of such appointments by the city council under section 2-10, all city officers and department heads and the members of multiple-member bodies for whom no other method of appointment or selection is provided by this charter. All appointments to multiple-member bodies shall be in accordance with section 5-2. Upon the expiration of the term of a member of a multiple-member body, a successor shall be appointed in like manner. The mayor shall fill a vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term of a member of a multiple-member body. All persons classified as department heads shall, subject to the consent of the mayor, appoint, promote and discipline all assistants, subordinates and other employees of the agency for which that person is responsible. All appointments and promotions made by the mayor shall be made on the basis of merit and fitness demonstrated by examination, past performance or by other evidence of competence and suitability. Each person appointed to fill an office or position shall be a person especially fitted by education, training and previous work experience to perform the duties of the office or position for which the person is chosen.

SECTION 3-4. REMOVAL OR SUSPENSION OF CERTAIN OFFICIALS.

(a)  City Officers and Department Heads. The mayor may, in writing, remove or suspend any city officer or the head of any city department appointed by the mayor. In addition, the mayor may file a written statement with the city clerk setting forth in precise detail the specific reasons for the removal or suspension. A copy of the written statement shall be delivered in hand or mailed by certified mail, postage prepaid, to the last known address of the city officer or department head. The city officer or department head may make a written reply by filing such a reply statement with the city clerk not more than 10 days after the date the statement of the mayor has been filed; provided, however, that this reply shall have no effect upon the removal or suspension unless the mayor shall so determine. The decision of the mayor in suspending or removing a city officer or a department head shall be final and all authority and responsibility for such suspension or removal shall be vested solely in the mayor.

(b)  Other City Employees. Unless some other procedure is specified in a collective bargaining agreement or by civil service law, a department head may suspend or remove any assistant, subordinate or other employee of the agency for which the department head is responsible. The decision of the department head to suspend or remove any assistant, subordinate or other employee shall be subject to review by the mayor. A person for whom a department head has determined a suspension or removal is appropriate may seek review of such a determination by filing a petition for review, in writing, with the office of the mayor not more than 10 days following receipt of notice of the determination. The decision of the mayor shall be final and all authority and responsibility for suspension or removal shall be vested solely in the mayor. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent any other review as may be provided by law.

SECTION 3-5. TEMPORARY APPOINTMENTS TO CITY OFFICES.

(a)  If a temporary or permanent vacancy occurs in a city office and the needs of the city require that the office be filled, the mayor may designate the head of another city agency, a city officer, a city employee or some other person to perform the duties of the office on a temporary basis until the position can be filled as otherwise provided by law or by this charter. If a person is designated under this section, the mayor shall file a certificate with the city clerk in substantially the following form:

I designate (name of person) to perform the duties of the office of (designate office in which vacancy exists) on a temporary basis until the office can be filled by (here set out the regular procedure for filling the vacancy or when the regular officer shall return). I certify that said person is qualified to perform the duties that will be required and that I make this designation solely in the interests of the city of Melrose.

(signed)

Mayor

(b)  A person serving as a temporary officer under this section shall have only those powers of the office essential to the performance of the duties of the office during the period of the temporary appointment. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, no temporary appointment shall be for more than 120 days; provided, however, that 1 extension of not more than 60 days of a temporary appointment may be made when a permanent vacancy exists in the office.

SECTION 3-6. COMMUNICATIONS; SPECIAL MEETINGS.

(a)  Communications to the City Council. The mayor shall from time to time, by written communication, recommend to the city council for its consideration such measures as, in the judgment of the mayor, the needs of the city require. The mayor shall from time to time, by written communication, keep the city council fully informed of the financial and administrative condition of the city and shall specifically indicate in such reports any fiscal, financial or administrative problems of the city.

(b)  Special Meetings of the City Council. The mayor may call a special meeting of the city council at any time and for any purpose by causing a notice of the meeting to be delivered in hand, via electronic mail or by first class mail to each member of the city council. This notice shall, except in an emergency as determined by the mayor, be delivered not less than 48 hours before the time scheduled for the special meeting to be held, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, and shall specify any purpose for which the meeting is to be held. A copy of each notice shall be immediately posted on the city bulletin board.

SECTION 3-7. APPROVAL OF MAYOR.

Every order, ordinance, resolution or vote adopted or passed by the city council relative to the affairs of the city, except memorial resolutions, the selection of city officers by the city council and any matters relating to the internal affairs of the city council, shall be presented to the mayor for approval. If the mayor approves of a measure, the mayor shall sign it. If the mayor disapproves of a measure, the mayor shall return the measure with the specific reasons for the disapproval attached to it, in writing, to the city council. The city council shall enter the objections of the mayor on its records and shall reconsider the measure not less than 10 but not more than 30 days from the date of the measure’s return. If the city council shall again pass the order, ordinance, resolution or vote by a 2/3 vote of the full council, it shall then take effect notwithstanding the objections of the mayor. If the mayor has neither signed a measure nor returned it to the city council within 10 days following the date it was presented to the mayor, the measure shall take effect.

SECTION 3-8. TEMPORARY ABSENCE OF THE MAYOR.

(a)  Acting Mayor. If by reason of sickness, absence from the city or other cause the mayor shall be unable to perform the duties of the office, the president of the city council shall be the acting mayor.

(b)  Powers of Acting Mayor. The acting mayor shall have only those powers of the mayor that are essential to the conduct of the business of the city in an orderly and efficient manner and on which action may not be delayed. The acting mayor shall not make any permanent appointment or removal from city service unless the disability of the mayor shall continue for more than 60 days nor shall an acting mayor approve or disapprove of any measure adopted by the city council unless the time within which the mayor must act would expire before the return of the mayor. During any period in which a councilor is serving as acting mayor, the councilor shall not vote as a member of the city council.

SECTION 3-9. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY BY MAYOR.

The mayor may authorize any subordinate officer or employee of the city to exercise any power or perform any function or duty that is assigned by this charter or otherwise to the mayor and the mayor may rescind or revoke any such authorization previously made; provided, however, that an act performed under any such delegation of authority during a period of authorization shall be and remain the act of the mayor. Nothing in this section shall authorize a mayor to delegate the mayor’s powers and duties as a school committee member, the power of appointment to city office or employment or to sign or return measures approved by the city council.

SECTION 3-10. VACANCY IN OFFICE OF MAYOR.

(a)  Special Election. If a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor during the first 2 years of the term for which the mayor was elected, whether by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, incapacity or otherwise, the city council shall immediately, in the manner provided in section 7-1, order a special election to be held not more than 120 days following the date on which the vacancy was created to fill the vacancy for the balance of the then unexpired term. If a regular city election is to be held not more than 180 days following the date on which the vacancy was created, a special election shall not be held and the position shall be filled by vote at such regular election.

(b)  President of City Council to Serve As Mayor. If a vacancy in the office of mayor occurs in the third or fourth year of the term for which the mayor is elected, whether by reason of death, resignation, removal from office or otherwise, the president of the city council shall become the mayor. Upon the qualification of the president of the city council as the mayor under this section, a vacancy shall exist in that seat on the city council that shall be filled in the manner provided in section 2-11. A president serving as mayor under this subsection shall not be entitled to have the words “candidate for re-election” printed against their name on the election ballot if they are seeking the office of mayor.

(c)  Powers, Term of Office. A person who assumes the office of mayor under this section shall have all of the powers of the mayor. A person elected under subsection (a) shall serve for the balance of the unexpired term at the time of election to the office. A person chosen under subsection (b) shall serve until the time of the next regular election at which time the person elected to fill the office for the ensuing term of office shall, in addition, serve for the balance of the then unexpired term.

ARTICLE 4. SCHOOL COMMITTEE.

SECTION 4-1. COMPOSITION, TERM OF OFFICE.

(a)  Composition. There shall be a school committee that shall consist of 7 members. Six members shall be nominated and elected by and from the voters of the city at large. The mayor shall serve as the seventh member of the school committee by virtue of office and shall have the same powers and duties as the members elected by the voters as school committee members.

(b)  Term of Office. The term of office for the 6 school committee members elected by the voters shall be for 4 years beginning on the first Monday after the first Tuesday in January in the year following their election and until their successors have been qualified. The terms of office shall be arranged so that 3 such terms are to be filled at each biennial election.

(c)  Eligibility. A school committee member shall at the time of election be a voter. If a school committee member removes from the city during the term for which elected, the office shall immediately be deemed vacant and filled in the manner provided in section 4-6.

SECTION 4-2. SCHOOL COMMITTEE CHAIR.

(a)  Election and Term. Following each biennial city election and as soon as practicable after the school committee members-elect have been qualified as provided in section 9-10, the school committee shall organize by electing 1 of the persons elected to the office of school committee member to serve as school committee chair.

(b)  Powers and Duties. The school committee chair or a designee shall preside at all meetings of the school committee, regulate its proceedings and decide all questions of order. The school committee chair shall appoint all members of all committees of the school committee, whether special or standing. The school committee chair shall have the same powers to vote upon all measures coming before the school committee as any other member of the school committee. The school committee chair shall perform such other duties consistent with the office as may be provided by this charter or by vote of the school committee in accordance with the by-laws and policies of the school committee.

SECTION 4-3. PROHIBITIONS.

No member of the school committee shall hold any other city office or city employment for which a salary or other emolument is payable from the city treasury. No former member of the school committee shall hold any compensated appointed city office or city employment until at least 1 year after the date on which the member’s service on the school committee has terminated; provided, however, that a city officer or other city employee who has vacated a position in order to serve as a member of the school committee may return to the same office or position of city employment held at the time the position was vacated but shall not be eligible for any other municipal position until at least 1 year after the termination of service as a member of the school committee.

SECTION 4-4. COMPENSATION.

The city council may by ordinance establish an annual salary for members of the school committee. No vote increasing the salary of school committee members shall be effective unless it shall have been adopted during the first 18 months of the term for which the school committee members were elected and unless it provides that the salary is to take effect upon the organization of the city government following the next municipal election. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, members elected to the school committee shall not be eligible to participate in the city’s group health or life insurance programs.

SECTION 4-5. SCHOOL COMMITTEE POWERS AND DUTIES.

The school committee shall have all of the powers conferred on school committees by the General Laws and such additional powers and duties as may be provided by this charter, by ordinance or otherwise and not inconsistent with the grant of powers conferred by the General Laws. The powers and duties of the school committee shall include, but not be limited to:

(i)  electing a superintendent of the schools who shall be charged with the administration of the school system, subject only to policy guidelines and directives adopted by the school committee;

    (ii)  upon the recommendation of the superintendent, establishing and appointing assistant or associate superintendents as provided in section 59 of chapter 71 of the General Laws;

   (iii)  making all reasonable rules and regulations for the management of the public school system and for conducting the business of the school committee as may be deemed necessary or desirable; and

    (iv)  adopting and overseeing the administration of an annual operating budget for the school department, subject to appropriation by the city council; provided, however, that the school committee shall have general charge and superintendence of all school buildings and grounds and shall furnish all school buildings with proper fixtures, furniture and equipment.

The school committee shall provide ordinary maintenance of all school buildings and grounds unless a central municipal maintenance department, which may include maintenance of school buildings and grounds, is established in accordance with law. If the school committee shall determine that additional classrooms are necessary to meet the educational needs of the community, at least 1 member of the school committee, or a designee of the school committee, shall serve on the agency, board or committee to which the planning or construction of such new, remodeled or renovated school building is delegated.

SECTION 4-6. FILLING OF VACANCIES.

(a)  Runner-Up to Succeed to Office. If a vacancy shall occur in the office of school committee member, the vacancy shall be filled, in descending order of votes received, by the candidate for the office of school committee member at the preceding city election who received the highest number of votes without being elected if such person remains eligible and willing to serve as a school committee member. The city clerk shall certify this candidate to the office of school committee to serve for the balance of the then unexpired term.

(b)  Filling of Vacancies By School Committee. If a vacancy shall occur in the office of school committee member and there is no available candidate to fill the vacancy in the manner provided in subsection (a), the vacancy shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining members of the school committee.  A person elected to fill a vacancy by the school committee shall serve only until the next regular election at which time the vacancy shall be filled by the voters and the person chosen to fill the vacancy shall immediately be sworn and shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term in addition to the term for which the person is elected. A person serving as a school committee member under this section shall not be entitled to have the words “candidate for re-election” printed against the person’s name on the election ballot.

ARTICLE 5. ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATION.

SECTION 5-1. ORGANIZATION OF CITY AGENCIES.

The organization of the city into operating agencies for the provision of services and the administration of the government shall be accomplished only through an administrative order filed with the city council by the mayor. No administrative order shall originate with the city council. The mayor may, subject only to express prohibitions in a general law or this charter, propose to reorganize, consolidate or abolish any city agency, in whole or in part, or to establish new city agencies as deemed necessary; provided, however, that no function assigned by this charter to a particular city agency shall be discontinued or assigned to any other city agency unless this charter specifically so provides. The mayor may from time to time prepare and submit to the city council administrative orders that establish operating divisions for the orderly, efficient or convenient conduct of the business of the city. These administrative orders shall be accompanied by a message of the mayor that explains the benefits expected to ensue and advises the city council if any provision of an administrative order shall require amendments, insertions, revisions, repeal or otherwise of existing ordinances. If the mayor proposes an administrative order, the city council shall hold at least 1 public hearing on the proposal giving notice by publication in a local news publication.  The notice shall describe the scope of the proposal and the time and place at which the public hearing will be held, which shall be not less than 7 and not more than 14 days following publication. An organization or reorganization plan shall become effective at the expiration of 60 days following the date the proposal is submitted to the city council unless the city council shall within such period vote to disapprove of the plan by a majority vote. The city council shall not vote to amend or alter the plan.

SECTION 5-2. MERIT PRINCIPLE.

All appointments and promotions of city officers and employees shall be made on the basis of merit and fitness as demonstrated by examination, past performance or other evidence of competence and suitability.

ARTICLE 6. FINANCE AND FISCAL PROCEDURES.

SECTION 6-1. FISCAL YEAR.

The fiscal year of the city shall begin on July 1 and shall end on the last day of June, unless another period is required by general law.

SECTION 6-2. ANNUAL BUDGET POLICY.

The mayor shall call a joint meeting of the city council and school committee before the commencement of the budget process to review the financial condition of the city, revenue and expenditure forecasts and other relevant information prepared by the mayor in order to develop a coordinated budget.

SECTION 6-3. SUBMISSION OF OPERATING BUDGET; BUDGET MESSAGE.

Not less than 45 days before the beginning of the fiscal year, the mayor shall submit to the city council a proposed operating budget for all city agencies, which shall include the school department, for the ensuing fiscal year with an accompanying budget message and supporting documents. The budget message submitted by the mayor shall explain the operating budget in fiscal terms and in terms of work programs for all city agencies. It shall outline the proposed fiscal policies of the city for the ensuing fiscal year, describe important features of the proposed operating budget and indicate any major variations from the current operating budget, fiscal policies, revenues and expenditures, together with reasons for these changes. The proposed operating budget shall provide a complete fiscal plan of all city funds and activities and shall be in the form the mayor deems desirable. The school budget, as adopted by the school committee, shall be submitted to the mayor within a reasonable time before the submission of the proposed operating budget to the city council. The mayor shall notify the school committee of the date by which the budget of the school committee shall be submitted to the mayor. The mayor and the school committee chair shall coordinate the dates and times of the school committee's budget process under the General Laws.

SECTION 6-4. ACTION ON THE OPERATING BUDGET.

(a)  Public Hearing. The city council shall publish in at least 1 local news publication of general circulation in the city a notice of the proposed operating budget as submitted by the mayor. The notice shall state: (i) the times and places where copies of the entire proposed operating budget are available for inspection by the public; and (ii) the date, time and place, not less than 14 days after its publication, when a public hearing on the proposed operating budget will be held by the city council.

(b)  Adoption of the Budget. The city council shall adopt the operating budget, with or without amendments, not more than 45 days following the date the budget is filed with the city clerk. In amending the operating budget, the city council may delete or decrease any amounts except expenditures required by law. The city council, except on the recommendation of the mayor, shall not increase any item in or the total of the proposed operating budget unless otherwise authorized by law. If the city council fails to take action on an item in the operating budget within 45 days after receipt of the budget, that amount shall, without any action by the city council, become a part of the appropriations for the year and shall be available for the purposes specified.

SECTION 6-5. CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.

The mayor shall submit a capital improvement program to the city council every 3 years and not less than 120 days before the start of the fiscal year in which the program report is due. The capital improvement program shall include: (i) a clear and concise general summary of its contents; (ii) a list of all capital improvements proposed to be undertaken during the next ensuing 5 years, with supporting information as to the need for each capital improvement; (iii) cost estimates, methods of financing and recommended time schedules for each improvement; and (iv) the estimated annual cost of operating and maintaining each facility and piece of major equipment involved.

The mayor shall annually revise this information with regard to the capital improvements still pending or in the process of being acquired, improved or constructed.

SECTION 6-6. INDEPENDENT AUDIT.

The city council shall annually provide for an outside audit of the books and accounts of the city to be made by a certified public accountant or a firm of certified public accountants that has no personal interest, direct or indirect, in the fiscal affairs of the city or any of its officers. The mayor shall annually provide to the city council a sum of money sufficient to satisfy the estimated cost of conducting the audit as presented to the mayor, in writing, by the city council. The award of a contract to audit shall be made by the city council annually, not later than September 15. The clerk of committees shall coordinate the work of the individual or firm selected. The report of the audit shall be filed in final form with the city council not later than March 1 in the year following the award of the contract.

SECTION 6-7. EXPENDITURES IN EXCESS OF APPROPRIATIONS.

Except as otherwise provided by law, no official of the city of Melrose shall knowingly and intentionally expend in any fiscal year any sums in excess of the appropriations duly made in accordance with law or involve the city in any contract for the future payment of money in excess of these appropriations and any such expenditure or involvement shall be in strict compliance with section 31 of chapter 44 of the General Laws. An official who violates this section shall be personally liable to the city for any amounts so expended to the extent that the city does not recover these amounts from the person to whom the sums were paid.

ARTICLE 7. ELECTIONS.

SECTION 7-1. CITY ELECTIONS: GENERAL, PRELIMINARY FOR OFFICE OF MAYOR.

The regular general city election shall be held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in each odd-numbered year. A preliminary election for the purpose of nominating candidates for mayor shall be held on the third Tuesday in September in each odd-numbered year in which a mayor is to be elected; provided, however, that the city clerk may, with the approval of the city council, reschedule the preliminary election to the fourth Tuesday in September to avoid a conflict with any civil or religious holiday. If a special election to fill a vacancy in the office of mayor is to be held, a preliminary election shall be conducted, if necessary, 28 days before the date established for the special election.

SECTION 7-2. NON-PARTISAN ELECTIONS.

All elections for city offices shall be nonpartisan and election ballots shall be printed without any party mark, emblem or other designation.

SECTION 7-3. PRELIMINARY ELECTION, MAYOR.

(a)  Ballot Position. The order in which names of candidates appear on the ballot shall be determined by a drawing by lot conducted by the city clerk and shall be open to the public.

(b)  Determination of Candidates. The 2 persons receiving the highest number of votes for nomination for mayor at a preliminary election shall be the sole candidates for that office whose names shall be printed on the official ballots to be used at the regular general city election at which the office is to be voted upon and no acceptance of a nomination shall be necessary to its validity. If the preliminary election results in a tie vote among candidates for nomination receiving the lowest number of votes which, but for the tie vote, would entitle a person receiving the same to have the person’s name printed on the official ballots for the election, all candidates participating in the tie vote shall have their names printed on the official ballots even though the ballots will have a number of candidates exceeding twice the number to be elected.

(c)  Condition Making Preliminary Unnecessary. If at the expiration of time for filing statements the number of candidates for mayor to be voted upon at any preliminary election is not more than 2, then no preliminary election shall be held. The candidates whose statements have been filed with the city clerk shall have been nominated to the office, their names shall be voted upon for the office at the succeeding general election and the city clerk shall not print their names on the ballots to be used at the preliminary election.

SECTION 7-4. BALLOT POSITION, REGULAR CITY ELECTION.

The order in which names of candidates appear on the ballot for each office shall be determined by a drawing by lot conducted by the city clerk. The drawing shall be open to the public and conducted not less than 30 days before the date of the election.

SECTION 7-5. WARDS.

The territory of the city shall be divided into 7 wards so established as to consist of as nearly an equal number of inhabitants as is possible to achieve based on compact and contiguous territory, bounded as far as possible by the center line of known streets or ways or by other well-defined limits. Each ward shall be composed of voting precincts established in accordance with the General Laws. The city council shall from time to time but not less than once every 10 years, review the wards to ensure their uniformity in number of inhabitants; provided, however, that the council shall review the wards at least once every 10 years.

SECTION 7-6. APPLICATION OF THE GENERAL LAWS.

Except as otherwise expressly provided in this charter and authorized by law, all city 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, general and special elections, the submission of charters, charter amendments and other propositions to the voters, the counting of votes, the recounting of votes and the determination of results.

ARTICLE 8. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION MECHANISMS.

SECTION 8-1. FREE PETITION.

The city council or the school committee shall hold a public hearing and act on every petition addressed to the city council or the school committee that is signed by not less than 50 voters, along with their addresses, and that seeks the passage of a measure. The hearing shall be held by the city council or the school committee, or by a committee or subcommittee of the city council or the school committee, and the action by the city council or the school committee shall be taken not later than 6 weeks after the petition was filed with the city clerk or the school committee. Hearings on 2 or more petitions filed under this section may be held at the same time and place. The city clerk or the school committee shall mail notice of the hearing to the 10 persons whose names appear first on the petition not less than 7 days before the hearing. Notice by publication of all such hearings shall be at public expense.

SECTION 8-2. CITIZEN INITIATIVE MEASURES.

(a)  Commencement. Initiative procedures shall be started by the filing of a proposed initiative petition with the city clerk or the executive secretary of the school committee. The petition shall: (i) be addressed to the city council or the school committee; (ii) contain a request for the passage of a particular measure, which shall be set forth in full in the petition; and (iii) be signed by not less than 500 voters and include their addresses. Not less than 50 signatures shall be certified from each ward. The petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit signed by 10 voters, containing their residential addresses, stating that they will constitute the petitioners’ committee and be responsible for circulating the petition and filing it in proper form, as well as designating 1 member as its clerk.

(b)  Referral to City Solicitor. The city clerk or the executive secretary of the school committee shall, immediately following receipt of a proposed petition, deliver a copy of the petition to the city solicitor. The city solicitor shall, not more than 15 days following receipt of a copy of the petition, advise the city council or the school committee in writing as to whether the measure as proposed may lawfully be proposed by the initiative process and whether, in its present form, it may be lawfully adopted by the city council or the school committee. If the opinion of the city solicitor is that the measure is not in proper form, the reply shall state the reasons for this opinion in full. A copy of the opinion of the city solicitor shall be mailed to the person designated as clerk of the petitioners’ committee.

(c)  Submission to City Clerk. If the opinion of the city solicitor is that the petition is in a proper form, the city clerk shall provide blank forms for the use of subsequent signers and shall print at the top of each blank form a fair, concise summary of the proposed measure, as determined by the city solicitor, together with the names and addresses of the first 10 voters who signed the originating petition. Not more than 30 days following the date the blank forms are issued by the city clerk, the petitions shall be returned and filed with the city clerk, signed by not less than 15 per cent of the total number of voters as of the date of the most recent city election. Signatures to an initiative petition may be on more than 1 sheet of paper but all papers pertaining to any 1 measure shall be fastened together and shall be filed as a single instrument with the endorsement on it of the name and residential address of the person designated as filing the same. With each signature on the petition, there shall also appear the street and number of the residence of each signer. Not more than 10 days following the filing of the petition, the board of registrars of voters shall ascertain by what number of voters the petition has been signed and what percentage that number is of the total number of voters as of the date of the most recent city election. The board of registrars of voters shall attach to the petition a certificate showing the results of its examination and shall return the petition to the city clerk or to the executive secretary of the school committee, depending on how the petition is addressed. A copy of the board of registrars of voters’ certificate shall also be mailed to the person designated as clerk of the petitioners’ committee.

(d)  Action on Petitions. Not more than 30 days following the date a petition has been returned to the city clerk or the executive secretary of the school committee and after publication under subsection (f), the city council or the school committee shall act with respect to each initiative petition by: (i) passing it without change; (ii) passing a measure stated to be in lieu of the initiative measure; or (iii) rejecting it. The passage of a measure in lieu of an initiative measure shall be a rejection of the initiative measure. If the city council or the school committee does not act with respect to an initiative measure that is presented to it not more than 30 days following the date the measure is returned to it, the measure shall have been rejected on the thirtieth day. If an initiative measure is rejected, the city clerk or the executive secretary of the school committee shall promptly give notice of that fact to the person designated as the clerk of the petitioners’ committee by certified mail.

(e)  Supplementary Petitions. Not more than 60 days following the date an initiative petition has been rejected, a supplemental initiative petition may be filed with the city clerk or the executive secretary of the school committee, but only by persons constituting the original petitioners’ committee. The supplemental initiative petition shall be signed by a number of additional voters that is not less than 5 per cent of the total number of voters as of the date of the most recent city election. The signatures on the initial petition filed under subsection (c) and the signatures on the supplemental petition filed under this subsection, taken together, shall contain the signatures of not less than 20 per cent of the total number of voters in the city. If the number of signatures to this supplemental petition is found to be sufficient by the city clerk, the city council shall call a special election to be held on a date fixed by it not less than 35 days nor more than 90 days following the date of the certificate of the city clerk that a sufficient number of voters have signed the supplemental initiative petition and shall submit the proposed measure, without alteration, to the voters for determination; provided, however, that if another city election is to be held not more than 120 days following the date of the certificate of the city clerk that a sufficient number of voters have signed the supplemental initiative petition, the city council may omit the calling of such special election and cause the question to appear on the election ballot at the approaching election for determination by the voters.

(f)  Publication. The full text of an initiative measure that is submitted to the voters shall be published in at least 1 local news publication not less than 7 days but not more than 14 days before the date of the election at which the question is to be voted upon. Additional copies of the full text shall be available for distribution to the public in the office of the city clerk.

(g)  Form of Question. The ballots used when voting on a measure proposed by the voters under this section shall contain a question in substantially the following form:

Shall the following measure that was proposed by an initiative petition take effect?

(Here insert a fair, concise summary prepared by the petitioners and approved by the city solicitor.)

YES

NO

(h)  Time of Taking Effect. If a majority of the votes cast on the question is in the affirmative, the measure shall be effective immediately unless a later date is specified in the measure.

SECTION 8-3. CITIZEN REFERENDUM PROCEDURES.

(a)  Petition, Effect on Final Vote. If, not more than 21 days following the date on which the city council or the school committee has voted finally to approve of a measure, a petition signed by a number of voters amounting to not less than 12 per cent of the total number of voters as of the date of the most recent general city election and addressed to the city council or to the school committee, as the case may be, protesting against the measure or any part of it is filed with the executive secretary of the school committee or city clerk, the effective date of the measure shall be temporarily suspended. The school committee or the city council shall immediately reconsider its vote on the measure or part of it and, if the measure is not rescinded, the city council shall provide for the submission of the question for a determination by the voters at a special election, which the city council may call at its convenience, or within such time as may be requested by the school committee or at the next regular city election; provided, however, that pending this submission and determination the effect of the measure shall continue to be suspended.

(b)  Certain Initiative Provisions to Apply. The petition under this section shall be a referendum petition and the applicable provisions of section 8-2 that relate to the filing and certification of signatures shall apply to such referendum petitions, except that the words “measure or part thereof protested against” shall replace the word “measure” and the word “referendum” shall replace the word “initiative”. The measure or part protested against shall be null and void unless a majority of those voting on the question shall vote in favor of the measure or part protested against at the election.

SECTION 8-4. INELIGIBLE MEASURES.

The following shall not be subject to the initiative or referendum procedures:  (i) a proceeding relating to the internal organization or operation of the city council or the school committee; (ii) an emergency measure adopted under this charter; (iii) the city budget or the school committee budget as a whole; (iv) an appropriation for the payment of the city's debt or debt service; (v) an appropriation of funds to implement a collective bargaining agreement; (vi) a proceeding relating to the appointment, removal, discharge, employment, promotion, transfer, demotion or other personnel action; (vii) a proceeding repealing or rescinding a measure or part of it that is protested by referendum procedures; (viii) a proceeding providing for the submission or referral to the voters at an election; (ix) a memorial resolution and other votes constituting ordinary, routine matters not suitable as the subject of an initiative or referendum petition; (x) setting of a property tax rate; and (xi) setting of water and sewer rates.

SECTION 8-5. SUBMISSION OF OTHER MATTERS TO VOTERS.

The city council may by its own motion, and shall at the request of the school committee if a measure originates with the school committee and pertains to affairs under its jurisdiction, submit to the voters at any regular city election for adoption or rejection any measure in the same manner and with the same force and effect as are hereby provided for submission by petitions of voters.

SECTION 8-6. CONFLICTING PROVISIONS.

If 2 or more measures passed at the same election contain conflicting provisions, only the measure receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes shall take effect.

ARTICLE 9. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

SECTION 9-1. CHARTER CHANGES.

This charter may be replaced, revised or amended in accordance with any procedure made available under the state constitution or by-laws enacted in accordance with the state constitution.

SECTION 9-2. SEVERABILITY.

The provisions of this charter shall be severable. If a provision of this charter is held invalid, the other provisions shall not be affected by such invalidity. If the application of this charter to a person or circumstance is held invalid, the application of this charter and its provisions to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected by such invalidity.

SECTION 9-3. SPECIFIC PROVISION TO PREVAIL.

To the extent that a specific provision of this charter shall conflict with a provision expressed in general terms, the specific provision shall prevail.

SECTION 9-4. RULES AND REGULATIONS.

A copy of all rules and regulations adopted by a city agency shall be placed on file in the office of the city clerk and shall be available for review by any person who requests such information at a reasonable time. Unless an emergency exists as determined by the mayor, no rule or regulation adopted by a city agency shall become effective less than 5 days following the date it is so filed.

SECTION 9-5. PERIODIC REVIEW OF CHARTER.

Not later than July 1, at 10-year intervals in each year ending in a 9, the mayor, city council and school committee shall provide for a review to be made of the city charter. This review shall be made by a special committee to consist of 9 members, all of whom shall be voters of the city, 4 of whom shall be appointed by the mayor, 4 of whom shall be appointed by the city council president and 1 of whom shall be appointed by the school committee chair. Not less than 2 of the persons appointed by the city council president shall be members of the city council.  The individual appointed by the school committee chair shall be a current or former member of the school committee. The special committee shall file its report with the city clerk not later than May 1 in the year following the year in which the order to invoke the committee was approved. The recommendations of the special committee shall appear on the city council's agenda for action not later than June 15 in the year in which the report is filed and if not so scheduled by the city clerk the matter shall come before the city council for action at its next meeting held following June 15 in that year and no other business shall be in order until such report has been acted upon by roll call vote.

SECTION 9-6. UNIFORM PROCEDURES GOVERNING MULTIPLE-MEMBER BODIES.

(a)  Meetings. All appointed multiple-member bodies of the city shall meet regularly at the times and places that their own rules prescribe. Special meetings of any multiple-member body shall be held on the call of the chairman or by 1/3 of the members of the body by written notice delivered in hand, via electronic mail or by first class mail to the place of residence of each member not less than 48 hours in advance of the time set for the meeting, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays; provided, however, that the written notice shall contain notice of the subjects to be acted upon. A copy of the notice shall also be posted on the city bulletin board. Except as may otherwise be authorized by law, all meetings of all multiple-member bodies shall be open to the public.

(b)  Rules and Journals. Each appointed multiple-member body shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall provide for keeping a journal of its proceedings. These rules and journals shall be a public record and certified copies shall be placed on file in the office of the city clerk and in the Melrose Public Library.

(c)  Voting. If requested by a member, a vote of an appointed multiple-member body shall be taken by a call of the roll and the vote of each member shall be recorded in the journal. If the vote is unanimous, only that fact shall be recorded.

(d)  Quorum. A majority of the members of an appointed multiple-member body shall constitute a quorum but a smaller number may meet and adjourn from time to time. Unless some other provision is made by the multiple-member body's own rules while a quorum is present, except on procedural matters, a majority of the full membership of the body shall be required to adopt a vote representing an exercise of the powers of the multiple-member body.

SECTION 9-7. NUMBER AND GENDER.

Words importing the singular number may extend and be applied to several persons or things, words importing the plural number may include the singular and words importing the masculine gender shall include the feminine gender.

SECTION 9-8. REFERENCES TO GENERAL LAWS.

All references to General Laws contained in this charter shall refer to: (i) the General Laws of the commonwealth; (ii) laws enacted that apply alike to all cities and towns; (iii) laws enacted that apply alike to all cities; and (iv) laws enacted that apply to a class of not less than 2 cities or towns or combination thereof provided that the city is a member of the class.  References to the General Laws shall include any amendments or revisions to such chapters or sections or to the corresponding chapters and sections of any rearrangement, revision or recodification of such laws enacted or adopted subsequent to the adoption of this charter.

SECTION 9-9. COMPUTATION OF TIME.

In computing time under this charter, the day of the act or event after which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of the period shall be included unless it is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, in which event the period shall be extended to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. When the period of time designated is less than 7 days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays shall not be included.

SECTION 9-10. OATH OF OFFICE OF MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL AND SCHOOL COMMITTEE.

A mayor-elect, the city council members-elect and the school committee members-elect shall, on the first Monday after the first Tuesday in January of each even-numbered year, meet and be sworn to the faithful discharge of their duties. The oath may be administered to the mayor by the city clerk or by a judge of a court of record or by a justice of the peace. The oath may be administered to the members of the city council and the school committee by the mayor, after the mayor has been duly sworn or by any of the above-named officials. A certificate that any oath has been taken shall be entered in the journal of the city council. In case of the absence of the mayor or mayor-elect, as the case may be, or a member-elect of the city council or school committee on the day the oath of office is administered, the oath may at any time thereafter be administered to that person. A certificate of each oath subsequently taken shall be entered in the journal of the city council. After the oath has been administered to the city council present, the board shall organize by electing from among its number a person to serve as the president as provided in section 2-2. If the city clerk is unable to preside during this election, the city council member senior in years of service on the city council shall preside during this election. If 2 or more members are equally senior in years of service on the city council, the member senior both in years of service and age shall preside. The president shall be sworn by the city clerk or, in the case of the absence of the city clerk, by any person qualified to take oaths or affirmations. After the oath has been administered to the school committee members present, they shall organize by electing from among their number a person to serve as the chair as provided in section 4-2. If the city clerk is unable to preside during this election the member senior in years of service on the school committee shall preside during the election. If 2 or more members are equally senior in years of service on the school committee, the member senior both in years of service and age shall preside. The chair and the vice-chair shall be sworn by the city clerk or, in the case of the absence of the city clerk, by any person qualified to take oaths or affirmations.

SECTION 9-11. CERTIFICATE OF ELECTION OR APPOINTMENT.

Every person who is elected, including those elected by the city council, or appointed to an office of the city, shall receive a certificate of such election or appointment from the city clerk. Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who is elected, including those elected by the city council or appointed to an office of the city before performing any act under this appointment or election, shall take and subscribe to an oath to qualify to enter upon the duties. A record of this oath shall be kept by the city clerk.

SECTION 9-12. LIMITATION ON OFFICE HOLDING.

No person shall simultaneously hold more than 1 full-time city office or position of employment. Any hours worked in any part-time position shall not be the same or otherwise conflict with the hours worked in a full-time position.

SECTION 9-13. ENFORCEMENT OF CHARTER PROVISIONS.

It shall be the duty of the mayor to see that this charter is faithfully followed and complied with by all city agencies and city employees. If it appears to the mayor that any city agency or city employee is failing to follow this charter, the mayor shall, in writing, cause notice to be given to that agency or employee directing compliance with this charter. If it shall appear to the city council that the mayor is not following this charter it shall, by resolution or order, direct the attention of the mayor to the charter provision with which the city council believes the mayor has failed to comply. The procedures made available in chapter 231A of the General Laws may be used to determine the rights, duties, status or other legal relations arising under this charter, including any question of construction or validity that may be involved in such determination.

ARTICLE 10. TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS.

SECTION 10-1. CONTINUATION OF EXISTING LAWS.

All General Laws, special laws, city ordinances and rules and regulations of or pertaining to the city, including special acts creating regional entities and arrangements of which the city is a member, that are in force when this charter takes effect and not specifically or by implication repealed by this charter shall continue in full force and effect until amended or repealed, rescinded by law or expire by their own limitation. If a provision of this charter is found to be inconsistent with any general or special law that would otherwise be applicable, this charter shall prevail. An inconsistency between a prior law and this charter shall be decided in favor of this charter.

SECTION 10-2. CONTINUATION OF GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION.

All city agencies shall continue to perform their duties until re-elected or 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 10-3. TRANSFER OF RECORDS AND PROPERTY.

All records, property and equipment whatsoever of any city agency, or part thereof, the powers and duties of which are assigned in whole or in part to another city agency shall be transferred immediately to that agency.

SECTION 10-4. EFFECT ON OBLIGATIONS, TAXES, ETC.

All official bonds, recognizances, obligations, contracts and other instruments entered into or executed by or to the city before the adoption of this charter and all taxes, assessments, fines, penalties and forfeitures, incurred or imposed, due or owing to the city shall be enforced and collected and all writs, prosecutions, actions and causes of action, except as otherwise provided in this charter, shall continue without abatement and remain unaffected by this charter. No legal act done by or in favor of the city shall be rendered invalid by reason of the adoption of this charter.

SECTION 10-5. DISPOSITION OF CERTAIN SPECIAL LAWS.

(a)  Certain Special Laws Recognized and Retained. The following special acts are hereby especially recognized and retained: (i) chapter 124 of the acts of 1936; (ii) chapter 39 of the acts of 1962; (iii) chapter 150 of the acts of 1984; and (iv) chapter 71 of the acts of 1992.

(b)  Certain Special Laws Recognized and Retained, in part. The following special acts that amended the original city charter of 1899, relating to the organization of the city's government, are recognized and retained, in part, as follows: so much of chapter 144 of the acts of 1920 and chapter 78 of the acts of 1926 as relates to the establishment of the committee in charge of the care of Memorial Hall, until such time as the mayor may act pursuant to article 5 of this charter.

SECTION 10-6. FAITHFUL PERFORMANCE.

On the first Tuesday following the first Monday in January of each even-numbered year, the persons elected as mayor, members of the city council and members of the school committee shall be sworn to the faithful performance of their duties.

SECTION 2.  (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, all city officers and employees of the city of Melrose shall continue to perform their duties in the same manner and to the same extent as they have performed the same prior to the effective date of this act; provided, however, that elections for certain officers shall take place in accordance with this section.

(b)  The first election of officers under the home rule charter appearing in section 1 shall be held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November 2019 for the purpose of electing a mayor, a city council and members of the school committee; provided, however, that at that election, the 3 school committee candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected to a 4-year term; and provided further, that a preliminary election for the purpose of nominating candidates to be elected mayor at the election shall be held on the third Tuesday of September 2019, if necessary, as provided in article 7 of the home rule charter appearing in section 1.

SECTION 3.  Chapter 286 of the acts of 2018 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 4.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, October 1, 2019.