Town of Abington, MA
Plymouth County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
This charter may be replaced, revised or amended in accordance with the procedures made available by Article LXXXIX of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and any legislation to implement the said amendments.
The provisions of the charter are severable. If any provision of the 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 the charter and its provisions to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
To the extent that any specific provision of the charter shall conflict with any provision expressed in general terms, the specific provision shall prevail.
All references to the General Laws contained in the charter refer to the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are intended to include any amendments or revisions to such chapters and sections or to the corresponding chapters and sections of any rearrangement of the General Laws enacted subsequent to the adoption of the charter.
In computing time under the charter, if seven days or less, "days" shall refer to secular days and shall not include Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays. If more than seven days, every day shall be computed.
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.
Unless another meaning is clearly apparent from the manner in which the word is used, the following words as used in the charter shall have the following meanings:
"Administrative Code," plans of organization or reorganization which establish operating divisions for the orderly, efficient or convenient conduct of the business of the town.
"Appointing authority," one of the following elected bodies, where appropriate, Board of Selectmen, Board of Assessors, Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners and Planning Board.
"Charter," this charter and any amendments to it made through any of the methods provided under article LXXXIX of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
"Majority vote," a majority of those present and voting, provided that a quorum of the body is present.
"Multiple member body," any board, commission or committee consisting of two or more persons, whether elected or appointed, but specifically excluding town meeting.
"Town," the Town of Abington.
"Town agency," any board, commission, committee, department or office of the town government.
"Town bulletin board," the bulletin board, on which official town notices are posted, located in the town office building. Whenever reasonably possible, official town notices shall be posted on the town's website.
"Voters," the registered voters of the Town of Abington.
A copy of all rules and regulations adopted by any town agency shall be filed in the office of the town clerk and made available for review by any person who requests such information. Such rules and regulations shall not become effective until ten days following the date they are so filed.
7-12-1.
Charter Review. At least once in every ten years, in each year ending in a four, beginning in the year 2014, a special committee shall be established for the purpose of reviewing this charter and to make a report, with recommendations, to the town meeting concerning any proposed amendments which said committee may determine to be necessary or desirable. The committee shall consist of five members who shall be chosen by the town moderator. The committee shall meet to organize forthwith following the final adjournment of the annual town meeting and shall report to the annual town meeting the following year with any recommendations.
7-12-2.
By-Law Review and Recodification.
At intervals of not more than five years from the date of adoption of this charter, proposed revisions or recodifications of the by-laws of the town shall be presented to the town meeting for re-enactment. Such revisions or recodifications shall be prepared by a special by-law review committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen for that purpose, which shall conduct its review under the supervision of the town counsel or, if the Board of Selectmen shall so direct, by special counsel appointed for that purpose. Such committee shall be appointed immediately following the adjournment of the annual town meeting in the year preceding the year in which their report is to be filed.
Within eight months following their appointment, the committee shall cause to be published on the town's website in a newspaper having general circulation within the town (1) a report summarizing their recommendations and noting the times and places within the town where complete copies of their report are available for inspection by the public and (2) the date, time and place not less than two weeks following such publication when a public hearing will be held by the committee on the report.
Subsequent to their enactment by the town meeting, copies of all by-laws shall be forwarded to the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for his/her review and approval, and they shall be otherwise published all as required by the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Copies of the revised by-laws shall be made available for public distribution.
In each year between such re-enactments and publications there shall be published an annual supplement which contains all by-laws and amendments to by-laws which have been adopted in the previous year.
7-10-1.
Meetings.
All multiple member bodies 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 multiple member body shall be held on the call of the respective chairman, or by one-third of the members thereof by suitably written notice delivered to the residence or place of business of each member at least forty eight hours in advance of the time set. A copy of the said notice shall also be posted on the town bulletin board. Special meetings of any multiple member body shall also be called within one week following the date of the filing with the town clerk of a petition signed by at least fifty voters and which states the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is to be called. Except as otherwise authorized by law, all meetings of all multiple member bodies shall be open and public. However, the multiple member body may recess, for the purpose of meeting in executive session in accordance with the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
7-12-1.
Agendas.
At least forty-eight hours before any meeting of a multiple member body is to be held, an agenda containing all items which are scheduled to come before it at the meeting shall be posted on the town bulletin board. No action taken on a matter not included in the posted agenda shall be effective unless the multiple member body first adopts by separate vote a resolution declaring that an emergency exist, and that the particular matter must be acted upon at that meeting for the immediate preservation of the peace, health, safety or convenience of the town.
7-12-2.
Rules and Journal.
Each multiple member body shall determine its own rules and order of business unless otherwise provided by the charter or by-law, and shall provide for keeping minutes of its proceedings. Such minutes shall be voted on and approved within sixty (60) days following the date of such proceedings. These rules and minutes shall be a public record kept available in a place convenient to the public at all reasonable times, and copies shall be kept available in the town library.
7-12-3.
Voting.
Except on procedural matters, all votes of all multiple member bodies shall be taken by voice or roll call vote, the result of which shall be recorded in the minutes; provided, however, that if the vote is unanimous only that fact need be recorded.
7-12-4.
Quorum.
A majority of the members of the multiple member body 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 multiple member body. No other action of the multiple member body shall be valid or binding unless ratified by the affirmative vote of the majority of the full multiple member body.
Whenever, whether under the provisions of a town meeting vote or by by-law, a multiple member body is established, the primary purpose of which is to perform an administrative or executive function, notwithstanding the provisions of any such vote to the contrary, the members of such committee shall be appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Whenever, whether under the provisions of a town meeting vote or a by-law, a multiple member body is to be established, the primary purpose of which is to perform a legislative function, notwithstanding any provision in such vote to the contrary, the member of such multiple member body shall be appointed by the moderator. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the town meeting, by vote or by by-law, to provide that a multiple member body shall include, as a portion of its membership, certain persons to serve ex-officio, provided that such authority is not used to defeat the clear purpose of this provision.
7-12-1.
Annual Town Election.
The election of town officers and referenda questions shall be acted upon and determined by the voters on official ballots without party or other designation on the date fixed in the by-laws of the town.
7-12-2.
Nomination of Candidates.
The number of signatures of voters required to place the name of a candidate for any office on the official ballot for use at any town election shall be not less that fifty signatures of voters, unless a greater number is required by state law.
Whenever a vacancy occurs in any town office or town employment, or as a member of any multiple member body, except for positions covered under the civil service law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, whether by reason of death, resignation, expiration of a fixed term for which a person has been appointed, or otherwise, the Board of Selectmen or other appointing authority shall cause public notice of the vacancy to be posted on the town bulletin board. No permanent appointment to fill such a position shall be effective until at least fourteen days have elapsed following such posting. Any person who desires to be considered for appointment to the position may, within ten days following the date the notice is posted, file with the Board of Selectmen or other appointing authority a statement which sets forth in clear and specific terms the qualifications which he/she holds for the position.
Except as otherwise provided in this charter, the Town Manager shall appoint, subject to the provisions of Article IV, section 4-2 of this charter all persons categorized as head of departments. Except as may otherwise be required by the civil service law, appointments made by the Town Manager shall be for periods not to exceed five years. The Town Manager may suspend or remove any person appointed by the Town Manager in accordance with the procedure established in Section 7-15. The decision of the Town Manager in suspending or removing a department head shall be final.
All persons categorized as department heads shall, subject to the consent of the Town Manager, appoint all assistants, subordinates and other employees of the department for which such person is responsible. The department head may suspend or remove any assistant, subordinate or other employee of the department for which such person is responsible in accordance with the procedures established in Section 7-15. The decision of the department head to suspend or remove any assistant, subordinate or other employee shall be subject to review by the Town Manager. A person for whom a department head has determined that suspension or removal is appropriate may seek review of such determination by the Town Manager by filing a petition for review in the office of the Town Manager, in writing, within ten days following receipt of notice of such determination. The review by the Town Manager shall follow the procedures established in Section 7-15. The decision of the Town Manager shall be final.
Any appointed town officer, member of a multiple member body or employee of the town, not subject to the provisions of the state civil service law or covered by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement which provides a different method, and whether appointed for a fixed or an indefinite term, may be suspended or removed from office, without compensation, by the appointing authority for good cause. The term "good cause" shall include, but not be limited to incapacity other than temporary illness, inefficiency, insubordination and conduct unbecoming the office.
Any appointed officer, member of a multiple member body or employee of the town may be suspended from office by the appointing authority if such action is deemed, by said appointing authority, to be necessary to protect the interests of the town. However, other than the Town Manager as provided in Section 4-7, no suspension shall be for more than fifteen days. Suspension may be coterminous with removal and shall not interfere with the rights of the officer or employee under the removal procedure provided.
The appointing authority when removing any such officer, member of a multiple member body or employee of the town 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 therefore shall be delivered in hand, or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of the person sought to be removed.
(b) 
Within five days following delivery of such notice, the officer, member of a multiple member body or employee of the town may request in writing that a public hearing be held, at which hearing such person may be represented by legal counsel and shall be entitled to present evidence, call witnesses and to question any witnesses appearing at the hearing. Said public hearing shall be held within ten days after the receipt of a written request for a public hearing.
(c) 
Between one and ten days after the public hearing is adjourned, or if the officer, member of a multiple member body or employee of the town fails to request a public hearing between six and fifteen days after delivery of the notice of intent to remove, the appointing authority shall take final action, either removing the officer, member of a multiple member body or employee of the town or notifying such person that the notice is rescinded. Failure of the appointing authority to take any action within the time periods as stated in this section shall be deemed to be a rescission of the original notice and the officer, member or a multiple member body or employee shall, forthwith, be reinstated.
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 the original term expires.
If any person appointed as a member of a multiple member committee shall fail to attend four or more consecutive meetings, or one-half of all of the meetings of such committee held in one calendar year, the remaining members of the multiple member committee may, by a majority vote of the remaining members of such committee, declare the office vacant, provided, however, that not less than ten days prior to the date said vote is scheduled to be taken the committee has given in hand, or mailed by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, notice of such proposed or pending vote to the last know address of such person.