CHARTER

[HISTORY: Adopted 3-3-70 Annual Town Meeting; amended 1975, 1978 and 1979 Annual Town Meetings. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]

ARTICLE I
Incorporation; Form of Government

1-1 Incorporation

The inhabitants of the Town of Northborough, within the corporate limits as now established, or, as hereafter may be established in the manner provided by law, shall continue to be a body corporate and politic with perpetual succession under the name "Town of Northborough".

1-2 Powers of the Town

The form of government provided by this charter shall be known as the Northborough Home Rule Charter Plan. Pursuant to the provisions of this charter, and subject only to such limitation as may be imposed by the constitution and statutes of the commonwealth. It is the intent and the purpose of this charter to confer on the Town of Northborough all of the powers it is possible to confer under the constitution and statutes of the commonwealth, as fully and as completely as though each such power was specifically and individually enumerated herein.

1-3 Construction

The powers of the Town of Northborough under this charter shall be construed liberally in favor of the town, and the specific mention of particular powers is not intended, nor is it to be construed as limiting in any way the general powers of the town as stated in Section 1-2.

1-4 Intergovernmental Relations

Subject to the applicable requirements of any provision of the constitution or statutes of the commonwealth, the town of Northborough 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 any one or more states or civil divisions or agencies thereof, or the United States government or any agency thereof.

ARTICLE II
Legislative Branch

2-1 Town Meeting

The legislative powers of the town shall continue to be exercised by a town meeting open to all registered voters of the town.

2-2 Presiding Officer

The moderator, as provided in Section 3-7, shall preside at all sessions of the town meeting. He shall appoint a deputy moderator to serve in the event of his absence or disability, provided that the town meeting ratifies such appointment.

Subject to the provisions of this charter and such bylaws regarding committees as may be provided by the town meeting, he shall appoint the members of an appropriation committee and a personnel board and such other committees of the town meeting, special or standing, as may from time to time be established.

He shall perform such other duties as may from time to time be assigned to the office of moderator by bylaw or other vote of the town meeting.

2-3 Time of Meeting

The regular annual town meeting of the town of Northborough for the transaction of business relating to the prudential affairs of the town shall be held on the date fixed in the bylaws of the town.

2-4 Availability of Town Officials at Town Meeting

The town meeting may establish by bylaw a list of town officers and employees who shall be required to attend all sessions of the town meeting, unless excused by the moderator and subject to such penalties as may be provided in said bylaw, in order to provide the meeting with information pertinent to matters appearing in the warrants for such meetings.

ARTICLE III
Elective Offices

3-1 General Provisions

(a)    Elective Town Offices - The offices to be filled by ballot of the whole town shall be a board of selectmen, a planning board, a moderator and a school committee and such members of regional authorities or districts as may be established by statute, interlocal agreement or otherwise. The officials shall be sworn to the faithful performance of their duties by the town clerk, a justice of the peace or a notary public.

(b)    Eligibility - Any registered voter of the town shall be eligible to hold any elective town office, provided, however, that except as may be authorized by this charter no elected town official shall hold any other elected town office or full time town employment during the term for which he was elected and no elected town official shall hold any appointed town position for which a salary or other emolument is attached until one year after the date the term for which he was elected has expired.

(c)    Election - The regular elections for town office shall be held annually on the date fixed in the bylaws of the town.

3-2 Selectmen: Composition, Term of Office, Compensation

(a)    Composition, Term of Office-There shall be a board of selectmen consisting of five (5) members elected by vote of the registered voters of the town for three year overlapping terms.

(b)    Compensation-The selectmen shall receive the compensation provided by an appropriation made for that purpose by town meeting.

3-3 Selectmen: Powers and Duties; Prohibitions

(a)    Powers and Duties - The board of selectmen shall have the power to enact rules and regulations establishing town policies not otherwise governed by bylaw, by this charter, or by statute. However, whenever an appropriation may be necessary to implement such action, the vote of the selectmen shall only be effective if such an appropriation is made by town meeting. The selectmen may, by majority vote, create, expand, consolidate or abolish all offices and agencies not specifically provided for by this charter or by statute in the manner provided in Article V. It is the intention of this section that they shall control and be responsible for the direction of town affairs by establishing policies to be followed by the administrative officer and by making recommendations to the town meeting for actions required to be taken by that body.

The selectmen shall have and possess all other powers it is possible for selectmen to hold under the general laws of the commonwealth which are not specifically assigned to some other office or agency under this charter or by special act of the legislature.

Except for the purpose of such investigation as may be authorized by this charter, the selectmen shall deal with all town officers and employees who are subject to the direction or supervision of the administrative officer solely through the administrative officer. The selectmen shall not attempt to give orders to such persons, either in public or in private.

3-4 Selectmen: Appointments

The Selectmen shall appoint for fixed terms constables, a police chief, police officers, election officers and a town accountant; they shall appoint for fixed overlapping terms the members of the board of appeals, library trustees, registrars of voters, housing authority, conservation commission, parks and recreation commission, historical commission, the industrial development commission and the trustees of special funds; and they shall appoint for indefinite terms a director of veterans’ services, town counsel, administrative officer and a fire chief.

3-5 Selectmen: Investigations

The board of selectmen may make investigations and may authorize the administrative officer to investigate the affairs of the town and the conduct of any town department, office or agency, including any doubtful claims against the town and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence. The report of the results of such investigation shall be placed on file in the office of the administrative officer and a report summarizing the results of such investigation shall be printed in the next annual town report.

3-6 Selectmen: Independent Audit

In the event that the commonwealth fails in any given fiscal year to provide for the independent audit of all records and accounts of the town, the board of selectmen shall provide for such audit. The audit shall be made by a certified public accountant, or firm of such accountants, who has no personal interests, direct or indirect, in the fiscal affairs, of the town government or any of its officers.

3-7 Moderator, Term of Office, Compensation

(a)    Term of Office - At each town election a moderator shall be chosen by vote of the registered voters of the town.

(b)    Compensation-The moderator shall receive the compensation provided for that purpose in an appropriation made by the town meeting.

3-8 Northborough School Committee: Composition, Compensation

(a)    Composition - There shall be a school committee of five (5) members elected by the registered voters of the town for three (3) year overlapping terms.

(b)    Compensation-School Committee members shall serve without salary.

3-9 School Committee: Powers and Duties

The school committee shall have all of the powers and duties school committees may have under the constitution and general laws of the commonwealth and it shall have additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter or by bylaws adopted by the town meeting.

3-10 Planning Board: Composition, Election and Term, Compensation, Powers and Duties

(a)    Composition - There shall be a planning board consisting of five (5) members elected by the voters of the town at large, for overlapping terms.

(b)    Election and Term - The term of office of planning board members shall be for three (3) years. Election for planning board members shall be held annually to fill expiring terms.

(c)    Compensation - Planning board members shall serve without salary.

(d)    Powers and Duties - The planning board shall have all the powers and duties planning board may have under the constitution and statutes of the commonwealth. The board may also exercise such additional powers and duties as may from time to time be assigned to them by this charter, by bylaw or other vote of the town or of the town meeting.

3-11 Vacancies, Filling of Vacancies

(a)    Vacancies-The office of moderator, selectman, school committee member or planning board member shall become vacant upon his death, resignation or removal from office in any manner authorized by law.

(b)    Filling of Vacancies-Vacancies in the office of moderator which occur when the town meeting is not in session shall be filled by majority vote of the board of selectmen. Vacancies in the office of selectman shall be filled by majority vote of the remaining selectmen, the moderator and the chairman of the school committee, meeting jointly. Vacancies in the office of school committee member shall be filled by majority vote of the remaining members of the school committee and the board of selectmen, meeting jointly. Vacancies in the office of planning board member shall be filled by majority vote of the remaining members of the planning board and the board of selectmen, meeting jointly.

Persons elected to fill vacancies under this section shall serve until the next regular town election, at which time the balance of the unexpired term, if any, shall be filled by official ballots of the whole town.

ARTICLE IV
Administrative Officer

4-1 Appointment; Qualifications; Term

The board of selectmen shall appoint an administrative officer for an indefinite term and fix his compensation within the amount appropriated by the town. The administrative officer shall be appointed on the basis of his executive and administrative qualifications. He shall be a person especially fitted by education, training or previous experience in public administration to perform the duties of the office. He need not be a resident of the town or of the commonwealth at the time of his appointment, but he must establish residence within the town within twelve (12) months following his appointment. He shall not have served in an elective office in the town government for at least three (3) years prior to his appointment. He shall devote full time to the office and shall not hold any other public office, elective or appointive, nor engage in any other business or occupation during his term, unless such action is approved in writing by the board of selectmen. The town may from time to time by bylaw establish such additional qualifications as seem necessary and appropriate.

Any vacancy in the office of the administrative officer shall be filled as soon as possible by the selectmen, and meanwhile they shall appoint a suitable person as temporary administrative officer to perform the duties of the office. Such temporary appointment may not exceed three (3) months, but one additional renewal may be voted not to exceed a second three (3) months. Compensation for such person shall be set by the board of selectmen.

4-2 Removal

The board of selectmen may remove the administrative officer from office in accordance with the following procedure:

(a)    The board shall adopt a preliminary resolution by the affirmative vote of the majority of all its members which must state the reason or reasons for removal. This preliminary resolution may suspend the administrative officer for a period not to exceed forty-five (45) days. A copy of the resolution shall be delivered to the administrative officer forthwith.

(b)    Within five (5) days after receipt of the preliminary resolution, the administrative officer may request a public hearing by filing a written statement with the board of selectmen. This hearing shall be held at a meeting of the board not later than thirty (30) days after the request is filed nor earlier than twenty (20) days. The administrative officer may file a written statement with the board provided the same is received more than forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the public hearing.

(c)    The board may adopt a final resolution of removal, which may be made effective immediately, by affirmative vote of a majority of all of its members at any time after five (5) days from the date of delivery of a copy of the preliminary resolution to the administrative officer, if he has not requested a public hearing, or, any time after the public hearing if he has requested one. Within ten (10) days after their vote to make their resolution final but in no event later than forty-five (45) days from the date of the adoption of the first resolution, the board must, by majority vote of the full membership, either affirm or dismiss the final resolution of removal.

The administrative officer shall continue to receive his salary until the effective date of a final resolution of removal. The action of the board in suspending or removing the administrative officer shall be final.

4-3 Acting Administrative Officer

By letter filed with the town clerk, the administrative officer shall designate a qualified town administrative employee or officer to exercise the powers and perform the duties of administrative officer during his temporary absence. During his absence the board of selectmen may not revoke such designation until at least ten (10) working days have elapsed, whereupon it may appoint another officer of the town to serve until the administrative officer shall return.

4-4 Powers and Duties

The administrative officer shall be the chief administrative officer of the town and be responsible to the board of selectmen for the administration of all town affairs placed in his charge by or under this charter. He shall have the following powers and duties:

(a)    He shall appoint and remove all department heads and all officers, members of boards and commissions, subordinates and employees, including those appointments and removals for which no other method is provided in this charter, in a collective bargaining agreement or in the general laws.

(b)    He shall direct and supervise the administration of all functions under his control.

(c)    He shall fix the compensation of all town officers and employees appointed by him, within the limits established by existing appropriations and by town bylaws.

(d)    He shall attend all regular and special meetings of the board of selectmen, unless excused at his own request, and shall have a voice but not vote in all of its discussions.

(e)    He shall attend all sessions of the town meetings and answer all questions directed to him by the voters of the town which relate to his office.

(f)    He shall see that all of the provisions of the general laws, of this charter, of votes of the town meeting and of the board of selectmen which require enforcement by him or officers subject to his direction and supervision are faithfully carried out.

(g)    He shall prepare and submit the annual budget and capital outlay program as provided in Article VI.

(h)    He shall be responsible for the keeping of full and complete records of the finances and administrative activities of the town and render a full report to the selectmen at the end of each fiscal year and otherwise as they may require.

(i)    He shall keep the selectmen informed as to the financial condition and needs of the town and shall make such recommendations to the selectmen as he deems necessary or expedient.

(j)    He shall have full jurisdiction over the rental and use of all town facilities, except schools. He shall be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all town property, including school buildings placed under his control by this charter or by bylaw; provided, however, that the approval of the school committee shall be obtained for all school maintenance and repair plans.

(k)    He shall be responsible for the appointment, subject to the approval of the board of selectmen, of any necessary building and facilities committees having to do with the preparation of plans and supervision of work on all construction, reconstruction, alterations, improvements and other undertakings authorized by the town, provided, however that the approval of the school committee shall be obtained for all school construction of improvement plans.

(l)    He may investigate at any time the conduct of office of any officer or employee, or department, board or commission under his control.

(m)    He shall keep a full and complete inventory of all property of the town, both real and personal.

(n)    He shall negotiate contracts, involving any subject within his jurisdiction. These proposed contracts shall be subject to final approval and execution by the selectmen. Copies of all proposed contracts shall be filed with the appropriation committee before final action is taken by the selectmen.

(o)    He shall be responsible for purchasing all supplies, materials and equipment for all departments and activities of the town, but not including food for schools, school books and other instructional materials, supplies and equipment, library books and related printed and audio visual material, unless otherwise specifically requested by the school committee or the library trustees.

(p)    He shall perform any other duties required by the bylaws, the votes of the town meeting, or the votes of the board of selectmen.

ARTICLE V
Administrative Organization

5-1 Creation of Departments, Divisions, Agencies and Offices

The organization of the town into operating departments, divisions, agencies and offices may be accomplished by either of the methods provided in this section.

(a)    Bylaw-The town meeting may, subject to state statute and the provisions of this charter, reorganize, consolidate or abolish all town boards, commissions, committees, departments, offices or agencies, in whole or in part; establish such new boards, commissions, committees, departments, offices or agencies as they deem necessary and may, by bylaw, prescribe the functions of all such entities; provided, however, that no function assigned by this charter to a particular department, office, agency, board, commission or committee may be discontinued, or, unless this charter specifically so provides, assigned to any other.

(b)    Administrative Code.

(1)    The board of selectmen, after consultation with the administrative officer, may prepare, and may from time to time amend an administrative code which establishes operating departments for the efficient and convenient conduct of business of the town.

(2)    The board of selectmen shall hold one or more public hearings on a proposed code or any amendments thereto, giving notice by publication in one or more newspapers having general circulation within the town at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing.

(3)    An administrative code or any amendments thereto shall become effective upon the adjournment of the next session of town meeting held not sooner than thirty (30) days after the plan is adopted by the board of selectmen, unless it is rejected at that session by a majority vote. The town meeting may vote only to approve or disapprove the plan and may not vote to amend or alter it.

(4)    The administrative code may, subject to state statute and this charter, reorganize, consolidate or abolish all town boards, departments, committees, commissions or offices, in whole or in part; establish such new boards, department, committees, commissions and offices as they deem necessary; and for such purpose transfer the duties and powers, and so far as is consistent with the use for which the funds were voted by the town, transfer the appropriation of one board, department, committee, commission or office to another; provided, however, that no function assigned by this charter to a particular department, office, agency, board, commission or committee may be discontinued, or unless this charter specifically so provides, assigned to any other.

5-2 Organizational Plan

The administrative officer shall prepare an organizational plan establishing personnel requirements with the departments created by the administrative code or by bylaw, and it shall become effective unless rejected by the board of selectmen.

5-3 Publication of Administrative Code and Organizational Plan

For the convenience of the public, the administrative code and any amendments thereto shall be printed as an appendix to, but not an integral part of, the bylaws of the town of Northborough. The organizational plan as prepared by the administrative officer shall be published annually in the town report.

5-4 Merit Principle

All appointments and promotions of town officers and employees shall be made solely on the basis of merit and fitness demonstrated by examination or other evidence of competence and suitability.

ARTICLE VI
Finances and Fiscal Procedures

6-1 Submission of Proposed Budget and Budget Message

At least one hundred twenty (120) days prior to the start of the fiscal year, the administrative officer, under the direction of the board of selectmen, shall file with the appropriation committee a proposed budget for the ensuing fiscal year with an accompanying message and supporting documents.

6-2 Budget Message

The message of the administrative officer shall explain the proposed budget for all town agencies, both in fiscal terms and in terms of work programs. It shall outline proposed financial policies of the town for the ensuing fiscal year, describe important features of the budget, indicate any major variations from the current year in financial policies, expenditures and revenues together with the reasons for such changes, summarize the town’s debt position and include other material as the administrative officer deems desirable or as the selectmen may require.

6-3 The Proposed Operating Budget

The proposed operating budget shall provide a complete financial plan of all town funds and activities, including the budget adopted by the school committee, for the ensuing fiscal year. Except for the school budget or as may be required by statute or by this charter, it shall be in the form which the administrative officer deems desirable or the selectmen may require. In his presentation of the proposed budget, the administrative officer shall utilize modern concepts of fiscal presentation so as to furnish maximum information and the best financial control.

The proposed budget shall show in detail all estimated income from the proposed property tax levy and other sources, and all proposed expenditures, including debt service, for the following year. The proposed budget shall be so arranged as to show the actual and estimated income and expenditures for the previous, current and ensuing fiscal years, and shall indicate, in separate sections:

(a)    Proposed expenditures for current operations during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by agency and position in terms of work programs, and the method of financing such expenditures;

(b)    Proposed capital expenditures during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by town agency, and the proposed method of financing each such capital expenditure; and

(c)    Estimated surplus revenue and free cash at the end of the current fiscal year, including estimated balances in any special accounts established for specific purposes.

The total of the proposed expenditures shall not exceed the total of the proposed income.

6-4 Capital Improvement Program

The administrative officer, under the direction of the board of selectmen, shall submit a capital improvement program to the appropriation committee at least one hundred fifty (150) days before the start of each fiscal year. It shall include (a) a clear, concise general summary of its contents, (b) a list of all capital improvements proposed to be undertaken during the next ensuing five (5) fiscal years, with supporting information as to the need for each such capital improvement, (c) cost estimates, methods of financing and recommended time schedules for each improvement, and (d) the estimated annual cost of operating and maintaining each facility and piece of major equipment involved. If advisable, this information is to be annually revised with regard to the capital improvements still pending or in the process of being acquired, improved or constructed.

6-5 Action on the Proposed Budget

(a)    The board of selectmen and the appropriation committee shall jointly hold one or more public hearings on the proposed budget not less than seven (7) days before the town meeting at which it is to be submitted for adoption.

(b)    When the proposed budget is before the town meeting for action, it shall first be subject to amendments, if any, proposed by the appropriation committee before any other amendments shall be proposed.

6-6 Financial Public Records

Copies of the entire proposed budget, including capital improvements, shall be made available for examination at the office of the administrative officer during normal working hours, at least one hundred twenty (120) days prior to the start of the fiscal year. Statements summarizing the budget and the capital improvements program, as adopted by town meeting, and related warrant articles, shall be made available at the office of the administrative officer for public examination by the twentieth (20th) day after their adoption.

6-7 Warrant Payments and Fee Collection

All warrants shall be signed by the administrative officer and by the accountant after this pre-audit. If the office of administrative officer is vacant, signatures of a majority of the board of selectmen and accountant shall suffice.

Warrants for payment of the Northborough school department vouchers and payrolls shall also require the signature of the superintendent of schools, and in the event of his absence or a vacancy in that office, the signatures of a majority of the members of the school committee. Other reasonable safeguards for the protection of the expenditures of public funds may also be adopted by bylaw.

All fees or other revenues collected by a town officer or employee, except constables, in his official capacity, shall be paid into the treasury of the town, and shall not accrue to the benefit of any individual.

ARTICLE VII
General Provisions

7-1 Elections

The regular elections for all town offices to be filled by ballot of the whole town shall be taken on official ballots without party or political designations on the date fixed in the bylaws of the town.

7-2 Charter Changes

This charter may be replaced, revised or amended in accordance with the procedures made available by article LXXXIX of the amendments to the state constitution and any legislation enacted to implement the said amendment.

7-3 Prohibition of Activities

No person shall (a) have his appointment to town office or employment discriminated against because of sex, race, national origin, political or religious opinions or affiliations; (b) offer, pay, accept or solicit money or money’s worth to obtain a promotion or appointment; or (c) if a compensated full time appointed town officer or employee, make or solicit a political contribution for use in a local campaign for the election of a candidate to any town office or a campaign in favor of or in opposition to any other local issue which is to go before the voters of the town or the town meeting, beyond exercising his rights as a citizen to express his opinion and cast his vote; provided, however, that such persons may make contributions not to exceed twenty-five dollars in the aggregate for any one candidate or issue, and personal participation may be made during nonworking hours in a full and complete statement detailing the sums contributed and the extent of personal participation is filed in the office of the town clerk not less than seven (7) days before the day on which the election is to be held or the vote taken and a final statement including all contributions and the full extent of all participation after the filing of the advance statement is filed within seven (7) days following the town election.

Violations of these provisions shall be subject to prosecution as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed fifty dollars. Any person convicted under these provisions, if an officer or employee of the town, shall immediately forfeit his office or position.

7-4 Expenses of Officials

Any elected official may receive the actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of his duties, provided such sums are within the limits of an amount appropriated for that purpose by the town meeting. Standards for such expenditures shall be set by bylaw.

7-5 Severability

If any provision of this charter is held invalid, the other provisions of the charter shall not be affected thereby. If the application of the charter or any of its provisions to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the application of this charter and its provisions to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

7-6 Specific Provisions Shall Prevail

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

7-7 Rules and Regulations

A copy of all rules and regulations adopted by any officer, board, commission, department or agency of the town shall be filed in the office of the town clerk and made available for review by any person who requests such information.

7-8 Reenactment and Publication of Bylaws

The board of selectmen shall, not later than January 15, 1971 and at five (5) year intervals thereafter, cause to be prepared by a special committee appointed for that purpose a proposed revision or recodification of all bylaws of the town which shall be presented to the town meeting for reenactment.

Such revisions or recodifications shall be prepared under the supervision of the town counsel or, if the board of selectmen so direct, by special counsel retained for that purpose, who are experienced in the revision and codification of bylaws, ordinances of bylaws, ordinances and statutes. Subsequent to ratification by the town meeting, copies of revised bylaws shall be forwarded to the attorney general of the commonwealth for his approval and they shall be otherwise published all as required by section 32 of chapter 41 of the general laws. Additional copies of the revised bylaws shall be made available for distribution, provided, however, that a charge not to exceed the actual cost per copy of reproduction may be charged.

7-9 Recall Petitions

(a)    Who Can be Recalled - Any holder of an elective town office as defined in section 3-1 may be recalled therefrom by the registered voters of the town as herein provided.

(b)    Recall Petition - Any twenty-five (25) registered voters of the town may file with the town clerk an affidavit containing the name of the officer sought to be recalled and a statement of the grounds for recall. The town clerk shall thereupon deliver to said voters making the affidavit copies of petition blanks demanding such recall, printed forms of which he shall keep available. The blanks shall be issued by the town clerk with his signature and official seal attached thereto. They shall be dated, shall be addressed to the selectmen and shall contain the names of all the persons to whom they are issued, the name of the person whose recall is sought, the grounds or recall as stated in the affidavit, and shall demand the election of a successor in the said office. A copy of the petition shall be entered in a record book to be kept in the office of the town clerk. The recall petition shall be returned and filed with the town clerk within twenty (20) days after the filing of the affidavit, and shall have been signed by at least twenty (20) percent of the registered voters of the town, who shall add to their signatures the street and number, if any, of their residences.

The town clerk shall submit the petition to the registrars of voters in the town, and the registrars shall forthwith certify thereon the number of signatures which are names of registered voters of the town.

(c)    Selectmen’s Action on Receiving Petition - If the petition shall be found and certified by the town clerk to be sufficient he shall submit the same with his certificate to the selectmen without delay, and the selectmen shall forthwith give written notice of the receipt of the certificate to the officer sought to be recalled and shall, if the officer does not resign within five (5) days thereafter, order an election to be held on a date fixed by them not less than twenty five (25) nor more than thirty five (35) days after the date of the town clerk’s certificate that a sufficient petition be filed; provided, however, that if any other town elections occur within sixty (60) days after the date of the certificate, the selectmen shall postpone the holding of the recall election to the date of such other election. If a vacancy occurs in said office after a recall election has been ordered, the election shall nevertheless proceed as provided in this section.

(d)    Nomination of Candidates - Any officer sought to be removed may be a candidate to succeed himself, and, unless he requests otherwise in writing, the town clerk shall place his name on the ballot without nomination. The nomination of other candidates, the publication of the warrant for the removal election and the conduct of the same shall all be in accordance with the provisions of law relating to elections, unless otherwise provided in this section.

(e)    Incumbent Holds Office Until Election - The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of his office until the recall election. If then reelected, he shall continue in office for the remainder of his unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided in this section. If not reelected in the recall election, he shall be deemed removed upon the qualification of his successor, who shall hold office during the unexpired term. If the successor fails to qualify within five (5) days after receiving notification of his election, the incumbent shall thereupon be deemed removed and the office vacant.

(f)    Propositions on Ballot - Ballots used in a recall election shall submit the following propositions in the order indicated:

For the recall of (the name of officer)

Against the recall of (the name of officer)

Immediately at the right of each proposition there shall be a square in which the voter, by making a cross mark (X) may vote for either of the said propositions. Under the proposition shall appear the word "Candidate", the directions to voters required by section 42 of chapter 54 of the general laws, and beneath this the names of candidates nominated as herein before provided.

If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of recall is in the affirmative, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. If a majority of votes on the question is in the negative, the ballots for candidates need not be counted.

(g)    Repeat of Recall Petition - No recall petition shall be filed against an officer within three (3) months after he takes office, nor, in the case of an officer subjected to a recall election and not recalled hereby, until at least three (3) months after the election at which his recall was submitted to the voters of the town.

(h)    Reappointment of Person Recalled - No person who has been recalled from an office, or who has resigned from office while recall proceedings were pending against him, shall be appointed to any town office within two (2) years after such recall or resignation.

7-10 Removals and Suspensions

Any appointed officer or full time salaried employee of the town not subject to the provisions of the state civil service law, whether appointed for a fixed or an indefinite term, may be suspended or removed from office by the appointing authority for good cause. The term "cause" shall include, but not be limited to the following: incapacity other than temporary illness, inefficiency, insubordination and conduct unbecoming the office. Any appointed officer or full time salaried employee of the town not subject to the provisions of the state civil service law may be suspended from office by the appointing authority if such action is deemed by them to be necessary to protect the interests of the town. However, no suspension shall be for more than fifteen (15) days. Suspension may be coterminous with removal and shall not interfere with the rights of the officer or employee under the removal procedure given below. The appointing authority, when removing any such officer or employee, shall act in accordance with the following procedure:

(a)    A written notice of the intent to remove and a statement of the cause or causes therefor shall be delivered by registered mail to the last known address of the person sought to be removed.

(b)    Within five (5) days of delivery of such notice the officer or employee may request a public hearing at which he may be represented by counsel, shall be entitled to present evidence, call witnesses and to question any witness appearing at the hearing.

(c)    Between one (1) and ten (10) days after the public hearing is adjourned, or if the officer or employee fails to request a public hearing between six (6) and fifteen (15) days after delivery of the notice of the intent to remove, the appointing authority shall take final action, either removing the officer or employee or notifying him that the notice is rescinded.

Nothing in this section shall be construed as granting a right to such a hearing when a person who has been appointed for a fixed term is not reappointed when his original term expires.

7-11 Procedures

(a)    Meetings - All multiple member boards, commissions or committees of the town, whether elected or appointed or otherwise constituted, shall meet regularly at such times and places within the town as they may prescribe. Special meetings of any board, commission or committee shall be held on the call of the respective chairman or by one-third of the members thereof by written notice delivered to the residence or place of business of each member at least twenty four (24) hours in advance of the time set. A copy of the said notice shall also be posted on the town bulletin board(s). Special meetings of any board, commission or committee shall also be called within one (1) week after the date of the filing with the town clerk of a petition signed by at least fifty (50) registered voters and which states the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is to be called. All meetings of all boards, commissions and committees shall be open and public; however, the committee, commission or board may recess for the purpose of discussing in a closed or executive session limited to its own membership, but including the administrative officer or the superintendent of schools as appropriate, except when his conduct of office is to be discussed, any matter which would tend to defame or prejudice the character or reputation of any person, which would affect the public security, or which might have a direct fiscal effect on the town, provided that the general subject matter for consideration is expressed in the motion calling for such session and that final action on the matter is not taken until the board, commission or committee has come back into formal session; provided, however, that if the taking of such votes would defeat the lawful purpose of such executive session, they may be taken in the said executive session and may remain secret so long as their publication would defeat the lawful purpose of such executive session, but no longer.

(b)    Agendas - At least twenty four (24) hours before any meeting of a board, commission or committee is to be held, an agenda containing all items which are scheduled to come before the board, commission or committee is to be held, an agenda containing all items which are scheduled to come before the board, commission or committee at the meeting shall be posted. No action taken on a matter not included in the posted agenda shall be effective unless the board, commission or committee first adopts by special vote a resolution declaring that an emergency exists and that the particular matter must be acted upon at that meeting for the immediate preservation of peace, health, safety or convenience of the town.

(c)    Rules and Journals - Each board, commission or committee shall determine their own rules and order of business unless otherwise provided by this charter or by law and shall provide for keeping a journal of their proceedings. These rules and journals shall be a public record kept available in a place convenient to the public at all times and certified copies shall be kept available in the Northborough Free Library.

(d)    Voting - All votes of all boards, commissions and committees shall be taken by a call of the roll and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the journal, provided, however, that if the vote is unanimous only that fact need be recorded.

(e)    Quorum - A majority of the members of the board, commission or committee shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and may compel the attendance of absent members in the manner and subject to the penalties prescribed by the rules of the board or committee or commission. No other action of the board, commission or committee shall be valid or binding unless ratified by the affirmative vote of the majority of the full board, commission or committee.

ARTICLE VIII
Transitional Provisions

8-1 Continuation of Bylaws

All bylaws, resolutions, rules, regulations and votes of the town meeting which are in force at the time this charter is adopted, not inconsistent with the provisions of this charter, shall continue in force until amended or repealed, and including, if any, bylaws which have been passed and have been approved by the attorney general but have not yet been published.

8-2 Continuation of Government

All committees, commissions, boards, departments, officers and other agencies of the town shall continue to perform their duties until reappointed, reelected, or until the successors to their respective positions are duly appointed or elected or their duties have been transferred.

8-3 Continuation of Administrative Personnel

Any person holding an office or position in the administrative service of the town, or any person serving in the employment of the town shall retain such office or position and shall continue to perform his duties until provisions shall have been made in accordance with this charter for the performance of said duties by another person or agency; provided, however, that no person in the permanent full time service or employment of the town shall forfeit his pay grade or time in service. All such persons shall be retained in a capacity as similar to their former capacity as it is practical so to do.

8-4 Transfer of Records and Property

All records, property and equipment whatsoever of any office, department, or agency or part thereof, the powers and duties of which are assigned in whole or in part to another office or agency shall be transferred forthwith to the office, department or agency to which such powers and duties are assigned.

8-5 Time of Taking Effect

This charter shall become effective upon its approval by the voters of the town of Northborough and in accordance with the following schedule:

(a)    A special election to increase the number of selectmen from three to five was held on June 2, 1970. Candidates were nominated, and election was held, in accordance with the general laws relating to town elections. The candidate who received the highest number of votes at this election was to serve until the town election in 1973, and the candidate who received the next highest number of votes was to serve until the town election in 1972; thereafter candidates were to be elected to fill expiring terms as provided in section 3-2. The term of office of incumbent selectmen shall not be affected by this section.

(b)    As soon as practicable after the election and qualification of the two new members, the board of selectmen was organized by the election of a chairman, vice-chairman and a clerk. The board then proceeded to commence to search for a qualified person to fill the position of administrative officer. The appointment of administrative officer was made effective October 1, 1970 or as soon thereafter as it was possible to do.

(c)    The administrative officer appointed in the fall of 1970 was held responsible only for the preparation of the budget, as provided in article VI, during the first six months following his appointment. It is the intention of this section that he and the selectmen be given the opportunity to develop a rapport and to gain a full understanding of the requirements and duties of office imposed by this charter before the full provisions of Article IV become effective.

The selectmen and the administrative officer may, however, by mutual consent provide for the gradual transfer of such other duties listed in section 4-4 as seem necessary or expedient within the said period of six months.

(d)    The provisions of article III with respect to elective office was effective at the town elections in March 1971. All other offices which prior to the adoption of this charter were filled by ballot shall become appointive in accordance with the provisions of this charter, provided, however, that if a vacancy occurs before the expiration of a term of office it shall then become appointive.

8-6 Special Provisions Relating to 1971 Annual Town Meeting

Notwithstanding the provisions of any bylaw to the contrary, the 1971 annual town meeting for the transaction of prudential affairs of the town of Northborough was held on the first Monday in May. The intention of this provision was to allow for a smooth transition to the new fiscal year which was required of all cities and towns in the commonwealth under the provisions of chapter 849 of the acts of 1969. Should the effective date of that legislation be extended beyond that presently stipulated therein, this provision would be null and void.

The date of future annual town meetings shall be provided in section 2-3 of this charter.