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Groveland Town Administrator By-Law Preamble

Massachusetts General laws Chapter 41, Section 23A allows the Board of Selectmen to appoint a Town Administrator for a term of one or three years. Under the statutory provisions, the Town Administrator acts by and for the Board of Selectmen. 

Collectively, the Board of Selectmen is the chief executive officer of the Town of Groveland. It is charged by state statute, regulation, and the town by-laws with the responsibility for the orderly and efficient operation of town government, and the safety and wellbeing of its citizens. The Board of Selectmen is the policy maker for the town. It sets policies and goals for successful future government administration. 

The Town Administrator acts as the agent of the Board of Selectmen he or she has the daily responsibility for the operation of town government, and oversight of its employees, special employees, boards, committees, commissions and departments. 

The Town Administrator duties and responsibilities are set out in the statutes and regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the terms of this by-law, and the provisions of the other town by-laws where applicable. The state statutes limit the discretion of the Board of Selectmen and their agents within certain departments of the town. 

Legal References

This by-law reflects a consolidation of powers and duties of the Town Administrator in the capacity as Chief Financial Officer or Personnel Officer. These powers and duties emanate from other town by-laws and documents which may be cited throughout this document. These by-laws and documents are as follows:

  1. Town of Groveland General By-Law Section 2-36A Department of Finances Budget
  2. Town of Groveland Personnel By-Law
  3. Town of Groveland Personnel Procedures Manual

The Town Administrator acts at the direction of a majority of the Board of Selectmen. No member of the Board of Selectmen unless authorized by a majority vote of the Board may direct the Town Administrator in the performance of any of his or her lawfully assigned duties. 

Section 1 – Appointment

  1. The Board of Selectmen by an affirmative vote of at least four members may initially appoint a Town Administrator for a term of one year and three-year recurring terms thereafter. 
  2. The Board of Selectmen may appoint a search committee of at least five people not to include any member of the Board of Selectmen for the purpose of recommending candidates for the position of Town Administrator. 
  3. The Town Administrator shall be appointed on the basis of education, executive and administrative qualifications, and experience. He or she shall not have held any elected or appointed positions in town for a period of three years prior to appointment.
  4. Upon appointment, the Town Administrator shall post a bond at an amount fixed by the Board of Selectmen, or provide professional liability insurance in an amount satisfactory to the Board of Selectmen naming the town as the loss payee.

Section 2 – Powers and Duties

  1. The Administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the town and shall be responsible for administering and coordinating all employees, activities, and departments placed by the General Laws, statutes, regulations, this by-law or any other town by-law under the control of the Board of Selectmen and the Administrator. The Administrator as agent for the Board of Selectmen as a matter of law owes the Board of Selectmen collectively and individually the utmost loyalty and fidelity in performance of his or her assigned duties requiring therefore complete impartiality and transparency in the dissemination of information and communications to each board member. 
  2. He or she shall devote his or her full working time to the duties of his or her office. He or she shall not become a candidate for or hold any elective office during his or her term of appointment; and shall not engage in any business activity during his or her term except with the written consent of Board of Selectmen.  The list of duties is given in the Appendix. 

Section 3 – Financial Responsibilities

  1.   The Town Administrator shall be the Chief Financial Officer (Town Administrator/Financial Director). The Finance Director’s position does not have to be terminated formally by special legislation prior to the implementation of the this By- Law.  During the interim period of initial implementation of the By Law the duties will be transferred.  The duties are not materially changed because they exist already in the General By-law Section 2-36A- Department of Finance and Budget 
  2. Warrants for the payment of town funds prepared and signed by the Town Accountant in accordance with General Laws and town financial department by-law procedures shall be submitted to the Administrator. His or her approval of the warrant shall be sufficient authorization for payment by the Treasurer or a designee provided, however, that one Selectman designated by the full Board shall approve all warrants in the Administrator’s absence or in the event of a vacancy in the office of the Town Administrator. 
  3. The Administrator shall be the chief procurement officer of the town with the responsibility for purchasing all town supplies and services for all departments except those of the school department, police department, and fire department. He or she shall be responsible for all town department budgets, and coordinating the town budget with the school department budget. 
  4. Assemble, prepare, and present to the Board of Selectmen all annual operating and capital budgets of the Town and be responsible for the development and annual revision of the capital improvements program. 
  5. Be responsible for seeing that the budget is administered and expended as adopted by the Town Meeting and in accordance with the General Laws, the town’s Department of Finance and Budget By-law and this By-law.
  6. Distribute, or cause to be distributed copies of the warrant and Finance Committee report for all Town Meetings. 
  7. He or she shall formulate and submit to the Board of Selectmen a capital improvement budget and a five-year financial plan. The financial plan shall be updated annually and included on the warrant of the annual town meeting.

Section 4 – Responsibilities for Personnel Administration

  1. The Administrator shall be designated by the Board of Selectmen to serve as personnel officer for the town, with responsibility for the administration of the town’s personnel system in accordance with the provisions of the town’s Personnel By-law and the Personnel Procedures Manual. The Administrator shall conduct annual evaluations of all department heads after consultation with the chairs of Boards where appropriate with the exception of the chief of police, chief of the fire department and manager of the light department. 
  2. The Administrator shall administer and enforce collective bargaining contracts, personnel rules, regulations, and by-laws adopted by the town.
  3. Inquire at any time into the conduct of any officer, employee, special employee, independent contractor, department, board commission or agency with regard to any matters affecting town administration and have open and free access to all documents, and records from any source, electronic or otherwise, that are relevant to said inquiry. 
  4.  After consultation with the Board of Selectmen, the Administrator shall from time to time propose, and the Administrator may adopt, where appropriate by amendment, personnel rules and regulations relating to all town positions, except those covered by collective bargaining contracts and those under the jurisdiction of the school, police, fire and light departments. Such rules and regulations shall provide for methods of determining the merit and fitness of candidates for appointment and promotion; policies and procedures regulating reduction in force and removal of employees; hours of work and wages, attendance regulations, and provisions for sick, vacation, military and other leave; policies and procedures governing persons holding provisional appointments; policies and procedures governing relationships with employee organizations; policies regarding in-service training programs with the exception of the police and fire departments; grievance procedures for the hearing of grievances; such other practices and procedures as may be necessary for the administration of the personnel system. 

Section 5 – Responsibilities for Appointments, Discipline, and Grievances

  1. Subject to the approval of the Board of Selectmen within the limitations outlined by state statutes, the Administrator shall have the power to appoint any employee, department head or supervisor on the basis of merit and fitness alone. The Board of Selectmen may at its option designate the Administrator to advise on union and contractual employee’s grievance procedures.   Additionally, the Board of Selectmen may explicitly designate the Administrator to act as the hearing officer to manage the “step three” grievances under the town’s Personnel Procedures Manual with regard to any grievance brought by a town employee under the Manual. The Administrator shall within the timelines outlined in the Manual investigate the allegations in the complaint; meet with the employee; attempt to satisfactorily resolve the complaint; and in the absence of a satisfactory resolution of the complaint render within seven days of the meeting a written decision with a statement of reasons for disposing of the complaint.  Any employee dissatisfied with the Administrator’s decision may within seven (7) days after receipt of the decision appeal to the Board of Selectmen who within seven (7) days of receipt of the appeal may with or without a hearing affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the Administrator. 
  2. Temporary Suspensions: The Administrator, where allowed by state statutes, may when circumstances warrant such action, immediately suspend any employee, supervisor, or department head with or without pay for a period not to exceed seven (7) days for any reason outlined in the “Disciplinary” section of the Personnel Procedures Manual. The employee is entitled to grieve the temporary suspension as outlined in the Manual. 
  3. Dismissals: The Administrator with the advice and consent of the Board of Selectmen may dismiss any employee, supervisor, or department head in conformance with the procedures outlined in the Personnel Procedures Manual section “Dismissal”. 
  4. Dismissals of Board, Committee and Commission Members: Members of boards, committees and commissions appointed by the Administrator after consulting with the Board of Selectmen may be dismissed by the Administrator with cause.    The Administrator shall have no power to dismiss any board, committee or commission member who attains that position by virtue of a town election. Any board member aggrieved by the decision of the Administrator may pursue secondary procedures and appeals as enumerated in the existing Personnel Bye Law and Procedures Manual or within seven (7) days of dismissal request the Board of Selectmen, review the dismissal. The Board of Selectmen within seven (7) days of receipt of said request for review may affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the Administrator. This review shall not give the dismissed person any rights under the town’s Personnel Procedures Manual unless already stated in the manual. If after this by-law is enacted and approved by the Attorney General, any subsequent amendment of the Personnel Procedures Manual dealing with “discipline” and “grievances” of employee’s conflicts with the terms of this by-law Section then the terms of the Personnel Procedures Manual shall thereafter control the rights of the parties in such matters. 

Section 6 – Responsibilities for Administration Reorganization

  1. The Administrator may with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, establish, reorganize, consolidate or abolish any department or position placed by this by-law under his or her supervision and control, except as otherwise provided by General Laws of the Commonwealth or the provisions of another town by-law.
  2. The creation of any new full-time compensated position shall require the approval of the affirmative vote of four members of the Board of Selectmen. 

Section 7 – Evaluation

  1. The Board of Selectmen shall annually evaluate the performance of the Administrator. The Board shall adopt a written set of procedures and criteria which shall form the basis for the evaluation.
  2. A copy of the evaluation shall be provided to the Administrator. 

Section 8 – Removal

  1. The Board of Selectmen by the affirmative vote of at least four members may initiate the removal of the Town Administrator by adopting a resolution to that effect stating the reasons for the removal. The vote initiating removal shall be taken at a regular scheduled public meeting and in open session, or other session all in conformance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Open Meeting Law. 
  2. The adoption of said resolution shall serve to suspend the Administrator for a period of not more than 45 days, during which time his or her salary shall continue to be paid.  A copy of such resolution shall be delivered forthwith to the Town Administrator in person, or sent by certified mail return receipt requested to his or her place of residence.
  3. Within five days following the receipt of such resolution, the Administrator may file a written request for a public hearing.  If such a hearing is requested, the Board shall schedule it within two weeks and it shall be held in a public place.  At least seven days prior to the public hearing, the Board shall advertise the hearing in a newspaper of local circulation and shall cause identical notices citing the purpose, location, time, and date to be posted in the Town Hall and in three other places of public access within the town. The Administrator shall have a public hearing subject to the provisions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Open Meeting Law. At the hearing, the Administrator may be represented by counsel, subpoena documents from the town, call witnesses, and confront witnesses. 
  4. The town counsel shall preside at such hearing.
  5. At any such hearing, the reasons for the removal shall first be read aloud
  6.  Final removal of any Administrator shall be affected by the affirmative vote of at least four members of the Board of Selectmen at a public meeting of the Board held within seven days of such public hearing if requested by the Administrator.  If no hearing has been requested, final removal may be effectuated by an affirmative vote of at least four members, at a meeting of the Board held not earlier than 14 days after the vote initiating the removal.  The salary of the Town Manager shall continue to be paid for a period of 45 days after the vote effecting removal from office. 
  7. The Administrator shall provide the Board of Selectmen with at least 45 days’ notice of an intended resignation; provided, however, that the Board may, at its discretion, shorten or waive such requirement

Section 9 – Filling Vacancy

  1. When a vacancy arises in the office of the Town Administrator, the Board of Selectmen shall advertise the vacancy as soon as possible. The Board shall fill the vacancy as soon as possible 

Section 10 – Acting Town Administrator

  1. The Board of Selectmen shall designate, within 10 days, a Town employee or other person to exercise the rights and perform the duties of Town Administrator during any vacancy caused by the temporary absence or suspension, or removal, resignation, or death of the Town Administrator. The appointment shall be for a period not to exceed 90 days, and it may be renewed, in the case of suspension, removal, resignation, or death only once for an additional period not to exceed 90 days.  Any appointee who is a current town employee shall be ineligible for immediate subsequent appointment as permanent Town Administrator. 

Section 11 – Conflict with Other By-Laws

If any other town by-law conflicts with the provisions of this by-law then the terms and provisions of this by-law shall control. 

Section 12 – Severability

If any provision of this by-law is deemed unconstitutional or unlawful by a court of competent jurisdiction then all other sections of the by-law shall remain in full force and effect. 

Appendix to The Town Administrator By-Law

The duties and responsibilities of the Administrator are as outlined below and may be amended, revoked, or expanded from time to time by a majority vote of the Board of Selectmen as the Board deems necessary for the efficient operation of town government.  

  1. Attend all meetings of the Board of Selectmen except when excused, and he or she shall have the right to speak but not to vote.
  2.  Keep the Board of Selectmen informed regarding all departmental operations, fiscal affairs, general problems, and other matters, and to that end shall submit an annual report to the Board.
  3. Inform the Board regarding the availability of state and federal funds and how such funds might relate to unmet short-range and long-range needs of the town. 
  4. Make recommendations to the Board of Selectmen regarding vacancies in town offices and boards to be filled by the Board of Selectmen. 
  5. Facilitate the activities of all boards, committees, and commissions for which the Board of Selectmen In the end.
  6. Manage all financial information from the Board of Board of Assessors to forecast future growth and revenues.
  7. Develop, keep, and annually update a full and complete inventory of all real property including rental property of the town and ensure that those properties are maintained and repaired in a timely manner; and develop protocols for the rental and use of those properties. 
  8. Negotiate collective bargaining contracts on behalf of the Board of Selectmen unless the Board shall have designated another negotiator.
  9. Act as the hearing officer where applicable and as permitted by law for inter-departmental appeals when so designated by the Board of Selectmen or if such appeals are the direct responsibility of an applicable department such as police and fire; the administrator coordinates legal matters for boards, committees, departments, and commissions. 
  10. Perform such other duties as may be required by state statutes, regulations and town by-laws, or vote of the Board of Selectmen. 
  11. Supervise the enforcement of all labor contracts and collective bargaining agreements.
  12. The Administrator with the advice and consent of the Board of Selectmen shall prosecute, defend, settle and employ special counsel when necessary in all litigation wherein the town is a party with the exception of litigation involving the planning board, conservation commission, police, fire, light and the zoning board of appeals. 
  13. The Administrator with or without the request of any town officer, department, board, committee, or commission shall be responsible for review of state, regional and federal grants which may be financially beneficial to the town. He or she shall be responsible for the oversight, review and completion of all grant applications except as otherwise authorized by statute, and seek the advice and consent of the Board of Selectmen whenever any grant requires a financial commitment from the town. He or she shall assist any town department in the application for grants.  Those grants that are secured by qualified personnel from town departments, commissions and boards can be pursued independently with the Town Administrator’s role limited to an advisory capacity.
  14. Encourage the updating the towns current master plan and in the event the  Planning Board is reluctant to pursue this project the town may take legal action in the nature of mandamus to force the elected officials to perform their statutory duties.
  15. Coordinate with public safety officials to regularly update and inform the Board of Selectmen of the town’s emergency management, planning and preparedness.
  16. Ensure receipt of education materials to all town employees and appointed board, committee, and commission members involving the provisions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Open Meeting Law and Ethics Law, and develop procedures certifying that each recipient acknowledge receipt and understanding of the materials prior to employment or appointment.