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Form of Government
AN ACT ESTABLISHING A SELECTMEN-ADMINISTRATOR FORM OF GOVERNMENT IN THE TOWN OF ADAMS  
Section 1. Upon acceptance of this act by the town of Adams, as hereinafter provided, the town shall be governed by the provisions of this act. To the extent that the provisions of this act modify or repeal existing general laws and special acts or that body of law which constitutes the town charter under Section 9 of Article LXXXIX of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, this act shall govern.
Section 1A. Following acceptance of this act, as hereinafter provided, the voters of the town of Adams shall, in accordance with any applicable general or special law or by-law or vote of the town, continue to elect the following: - (a) town meeting members (b) moderator (c) Board of Selectmen (d) library trustees (e) representatives to the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District Committee (f) representatives to the Northern Berkshire Regional Vocational School Committee (g) redevelopment authority (h) housing authority (i) town clerk (j) assessor (k) board of health (l) cemetery commissioner (m) park commissioner (n) planning board member (o) treasurer-collector The acceptance of this act shall not affect the term of office of any such elected official or elected member of such board, committee or authority. Every other elective office, board, committee, or commission of the town shall become appointive as hereinafter provided, any other provision of law to the contrarynotwithstanding. The term of office of any person elected to any office, board, committee or commission existing as an elected office at the time of the acceptance of this act and having become appointive hereunder, shall continue until the term for which that person was elected shall have expired, and until the appointment and qualification of his successor. The powers, duties and responsibilities of elected officials shall be as now or hereafter provided by applicable provisions of any general law or special law or by-law or vote of the town, except as otherwise expressly provided herein. Notwithstanding the election by the voters of the town of the officers named in this section, such officers shall be available to the administrator for consultation, conference and discussion on matters relating to their respective offices.
Section 2. The board of selectmen shall consist of five members elected by the voters of the town. At the first annual election after acceptance of this act by the town, there shall be elected three selectmen, one for three years, one for two years, one for one year term. At each annual election thereafter, there shall be elected one or two selectmen such as to maintain a five member board. Those selectmen in office at the time of the approval of this act shall serve until the terms for which they were elected shall have expired.
Section 3. The board of selectmen shall appoint the members of all multi-member boards, committees and commissions except those appointed by the moderator and the town administrator as herein provided. The moderator shall appoint the finance committee, the personnel board, and such committees and officers as he may now or hereafter be directed to appoint by any applicable general or special law or by-law or vote of the town.
Section 4. A member of the board of selectmen, or of the finance committee shall during the term for which he was elected or appointed, be ineligible either by election or appointment to hold any other town office, other than that of town meeting member. Any person appointed by the town administrator to any town office under the provisions of this act or of any general or special law shall be eligible during the term of said office to appointment to any other town office, except that the town accountant shall not be eligible to hold the position of town treasurer/collector. The town administrator, subject to any applicable provision of the General Laws relating thereto, may assume the duties of any office which he is authorized to fill by appointment.
Section 5. The selectmen elected as provided herein shall appoint as soon as practicable, for a three year term, a town administrator who shall be a professionally qualified person especially fitted by education, training and previous full-time experience to perform the duties of the office. The town administrator shall be appointed without regard to his political designation. He shall be a citizen of the United States and, although he need not be a resident of the town or of the commonwealth when appointed, shall become a resident of the town during the first year of his appointment unless otherwise provided by the board of selectmen. He shall have a college degree at the bachelor level and shall have had three years of full-time paid experience in a supervisory administrative position. A masters degree may substitute for not more than two years of such paid experience. No person holding elective office in the town with the exception of town meeting members shall, within threeyears of holding such office, be eligible for appointment as town administrator. The town administrator may be appointed for successive terms of office. Before entering upon the duties of his office, he shall be sworn, in the presence of a majority of the selectmen, to the faithful and impartial performance thereof by the town clerk or a notary public. He shall execute a bond in favor of the town for the faithful performance of his duties in such sum and with such sureties as may be fixed or approved by the selectmen, the cost for which shall be borne by the town.
Section 6. Any vacancy in the office of town administrator shall be filled as soon as possible by the board of selectmen. Pending the appointment of a town administrator or the filling of any vacancy, the board of selectmen shall, within seven days, appoint a suitable person to perform the duties of the office.
Section 7. The town administrator may designate, subject to the approval of the board of selectmen, by letter filed with the town clerk, a qualified officer of the town to perform his duties during his temporary absence or disability. In the event of failure of the administrator to make such designation, the board of selectmen may, by resolution, designate an officer of the town to perform the duties of the administrator until he shall return or his disability shall cease.
Section 8. The board of selectmen, by a four-fifths vote, may remove the town administrator. At least thirty days before such proposed removal shall become effective, the selectmen shall file a written preliminary resolution of removal with the town clerk setting forth in detail the specific reasons for the proposed removal, a copy of which resolution shall be delivered to the town administrator. The administrator may, within ten days of service of such resolution, reply in writing to the resolution and may request a public hearing. Service shall be deemed to have been accomplished by leaving a copy of such resolution at the administrator's last known abode. If the administrator so requests, the board of selectmen shall hold a public hearing not earlier than twenty days nor later than thirty days after the filing of such request. After such public hearing, if any, otherwise at the expiration of thirty days following the filing of the preliminary resolution, and after fullconsideration, the selectmen, by a four-fifths vote of the full membership of the board, may adopt a final resolution of removal. In the preliminary resolution, the selectmen may suspend the administrator from duty, but in any case his salary shall continue to be paid during the period of consideration of the preliminary resolution and until the vote on the final resolution.
Section 9. The town administrator shall receive such compensation for his services as the board of selectmen shall determine but it shall not exceed the amount appropriated therefor by the town.
Section 10. The town administrator shall appoint all other town officials whose appointment or election is not specifically provided for herein. The town administrator shall appoint with majority approval of the board of selectmen, and may remove with the majority approval of the board of selectmen, subject to the provisions of chapter thirty-one of the General Laws where applicable, all department heads, all officers and all subordinates and employees for whom no other method of appointment is provided in this act, except persons serving under other elected agencies and appointments made by representatives of the commonwealth. Appointments to permanent positions made by the town administrator shall become effective on the fifteenth day following the day notice of appointment is filed with the board of selectmen, unless the board of selectmen shall, within that period, by a majority vote of the board, vote to reject any such appointment.
Section 11. In addition to specific powers and duties provided in this act, the town administrator shall have the general powers and duties enumerated in this section: -
(a) The town administrator shall supervise and be responsible for the efficient administration of all departments, commissions, boards and offices, except the board of selectmen. He shall not, however, exercise any control over the discretionary power vested by statute in any such board, committee, commission or officer.
(b) The town administrator, with the approval of the board of selectmen and in accordance with the provisions of this act and the General Laws, may reorganize, consolidate or abolish departments, commissions, boards or offices under his direction and supervision, in whole or in part, may establish such new departments, commissions, boards or offices as he deems necessary, and may transfer the powers and duties of one department, commission, board or office to another.
(c) Except as otherwise provided by this act, the town administrator shall appoint upon merit and fitness alone, and, subject to the provisions of chapter thirty-one of the General Laws where applicable, may remove all officers and employees of the town; town officers and employees not subject to the provisions of said chapter thirty-one shall not be removed by him except on ten days notice in writing, setting forth the cause of such removal.
(d) The town administrator shall attend all regular meetings of the board of selectmen except meetings at which his removal is being considered.
(e) The town administrator shall keep full and complete records of his office, and shall render as often as may be required by the selectmen, a full report of all operations during the period reported on.
(f) The town administrator shall keep the selectmen fully advised as to the needs of the town and shall recommend to the selectmen for adoption such measures requiring action by them or by the town as he may deem necessary or expedient.
(g) The town administrator shall have jurisdiction over the rental and use of all town property and shall be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all town buildings. He shall be responsible for the preparation of plans and the supervision of construction, reconstruction, alterations, improvements and other undertakings authorized by the town unless otherwise assigned by the town meeting.
(h) The town administrator shall be responsible for the purchase of all supplies and materials and equipment, except books and other media for the library, and shall approve the award of all contracts for all departments of the town. He shall make purchases for departments not under his supervision only upon and in accordance with requisitions duly signed by the heads of such departments.
(i) The town administrator shall administer either directly or through a person or persons appointed by him in accordance with this act, all provisions of general and special laws applicable to the town, all by-laws and votes of the town, and all regulations established by the board of selectmen.
(j) The town administrator shall, with the approval of the board of selectmen, have authority to prosecute, defend, or compromise all litigation to which the town is party, and shall be the executive officer of a public employer in the town as defined in section one of chapter two hundred and fifty-eight of the General Laws pertaining to the processing of claims against the town.
(k) The town administrator shall be the agent of the board of selectmen for collective bargaining and may employ special counsel to assist him in the performance of these duties.
(l) The town administrator shall attend all town meetings and shall be permitted to speak when recognized by the moderator.
(m) The town administrator shall be responsible for the implementation of town meeting votes and shall report annually in writing to the town meeting on the status of prior town meeting votes on which implementation is not complete.
(n) The town administrator shall be accessible and available for consultation to chairmen of boards, committees and commissions of the town, whether appointed or elected, and shall make accessible and available to them all such data and records of his office as may be requested in connection with their official duties.
(o) The town administrator shall perform such other duties consistent with his office as may be required of him by the by-laws of the town or by the vote of the board of selectmen or town meeting.
Section 12. The town administrator may without notice cause the affairs of any division or department under his supervision or the job-related conduct of any officer or employee thereof to be examined. The town administrator shall have access to all town books and papers for information necessary for the proper performance of his duties.
Section 13. The town administrator shall be the chief fiscal officer of the town. Warrants for the payment of town funds prepared by the town accountant in accordance with the provisions of section fifty-six of chapter forty-one of the General Laws shall be submitted to the town administrator. The approval of any such warrant by the town administrator shall be sufficient authority to authorize payment by the town treasurer but the selectmen shall approve all warrants in the event of a vacancy in the office of town administrator.
Section 14. At least ninety days prior to the annual town meeting, the town administrator shall submit to the board of selectmen a detailed estimate in writing of the probable expenditures of the town government for the ensuing fiscal year, stating the amount required to meet the interest and maturing bonds and notes or other outstanding indebtedness of the town, and showing specifically the amount necessary to be provided for each fund and department, together with a statement of the expenditures of the town for the same purposes in the preceding year and an estimate of the expenditures for the current year. He shall also submit a statement showing all revenues received by the town in the preceding fiscal year together with an estimate of the receipts of the current year and an estimate of the amount of income from all sources of revenue exclusive of taxes upon property in the ensuing year. He shall report the probable amount required to be levied and raised by taxation to defrayall expenses and liabilities of the town together with an estimate of the tax rate necessary to raise said amount. For the purpose of enabling the town administrator to make up the annual estimates of expenditures, all boards, officers, and committees of the town shall, at least one hundred and twenty days prior to the annual town meeting, furnish all information in their possession and submit to him in writing a detailed estimate of the appropriations required for the efficient and proper conduct of their respective departments during the next fiscal year.
Section 15. The board of selectmen shall consider the tentative budget submitted by the town administrator and make such recommendations relative thereto as they deem expedient and proper in the interests of the town. On or before the seventy-fifty day prior to the annual town meeting, the board of selectmen shall transmit a copy of the budget, together with their recommendations relative thereto, to each member of the finance committee.
Section 16. All laws, by-laws, votes, rules and regulations, whether enacted by authority of the town or any other authority, which are in force in the town of Adams on the effective date of this act, or any portion or portions thereof, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, shall continue in full force and effect until otherwise provided by other laws, by-laws, votes, rules and regulations, respectively. All other laws, by-laws, votes, rules and regulations so far as they refer to the town of Adams, are hereby suspended but such suspension shall not revive any preexisting enactment.
Section 17. No contract existing and no action at law or suit in equity, or other proceeding pending at the time this act is accepted, or at the time of revocation of such acceptance, shall be affected by such acceptance or revocation, except that upon revocation any contract made by the town with the town administrator then in office shall be terminated immediately upon such vote.
Section 18. Any person holding a town office or employment under the town shall retain such office or employment and shall continue to perform his duties until provisions shall have been made in accordance with this act for the performance of the said duties by another person or agency. No person in the permanent full-time service or employment of the town shall forfeit his pay grade or time in service. Each such person shall be retained in a capacity as similar to his former capacity as is practical.
Section 19. This act shall be submitted for acceptance to the voters of the town of Adams at the annual town meeting to be held in the year nineteen hundred and eighty-three in the form of the following question, which shall be placed upon the official ballot to be used for the election of town officers at said meeting: - "Shall an act passed by the General Court in the year nineteen hundred and eighty-three, entitled 'An Act establishing a Selectmen-Administrator form of government in the Town of Adams', be accepted?" If a majority of the votes in answer to said question is in the affirmative, said act shall take effect but not otherwise. If this act is not accepted in the year nineteen hundred and eighty-three, it shall again be submitted at the annual town meeting in the year nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and if accepted shall take full effect but not otherwise. Footnote: The act hereafter set out is contained in Chapter 31, Acts of 1983. Voted to Accept - May 2,1983