Town of Dedham, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
(a) 
Elective Offices — The offices to be filled by the voters shall be the board of selectmen, a moderator, the school committee, the planning board, the board of assessors, the board of library trustees, a town clerk, the board of health, the parks and recreation commission, the board of commissioners of trust funds, the housing authority and such members of regional authorities or districts as may be established by statute, inter-local agreement or otherwise.
(b) 
Eligibility — Any voter shall be eligible to hold any elective town office, but no elected town official shall simultaneously hold another elected town office or be appointed to any town office; provided, however, that this subsection shall not be interpreted as a restriction on the number of multiple member bodies on which an elected town official may serve by virtue of that official's office, so long as service on the body or bodies would terminate if the person no longer held that elected position.
(c) 
Annual Election — The regular annual election of town officers, and consideration of such questions as may be authorized by law to appear on the ballot, shall be determined by the voters on official ballots without party or other designation, and shall be held on such date as may from time to time be fixed in the town by-laws.
(d) 
Elected town officials, other than the town clerk, shall serve without compensation, but shall, subject to appropriation, be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
(e) 
Nomination of Candidates — The signatures of 50 registered voters of the town shall be required to place on the ballot for election the name of a candidate for any office other than town representative.
(f) 
Ballot Position — The order in which names of candidates, including the office of town representative, appear on the ballot for each office in a town election shall be determined by a drawing by lot conducted by the town clerk. Each candidate shall have an opportunity to be present or be represented at the drawing.
(g) 
Coordination — Notwithstanding their election by the voters, the town officers named subsection (a) shall be subject to the call of the board of selectmen or of the town manager, at all reasonable times, for consultation, conference and discussion on any matter relating to such officers' respective offices.
(h) 
Vacancies
(1) 
An office of any elected multiple member body listed in subsection (a) shall become vacant upon the death of that member or the resignation or removal from office in any manner authorized by this charter or the General Laws or otherwise in accordance with law. No such office shall be considered vacant unless: (i) a letter of resignation has been filed with the town clerk by such person; or (ii) the town clerk has issued a certificate that such person has died or has been removed from the town or that the office has otherwise become vacant.
(2) 
Filling of Vacancies — If a vacancy occurs otherwise than by expiration of term in any elected multiple member body listed in subsection (a), other than a vacancy in the board of selectmen, the unexpired terms shall be filled by appointment by the board of selectmen and the remainder of the members of the elected multiple member body until the next regular annual election, at which time such office shall be filled by election for the remainder of the unexpired term; provided, however, that if the date the vacancy established in the manner described in paragraph (1) is more than 120 days prior to the regular annual election, the board of selectmen may call for a special election to be held not earlier than 64 days from the date of its call therefor to fill the unexpired term.
(i) 
Application of other Provisions of Charter to Powers and Duties — Notwithstanding any provision of this charter or the General Laws to the contrary, the powers and duties of multiple member bodies elected under this Article shall be subject to Article 4 and Article 6.
(a) 
Composition, Term of Office — There shall be a board of selectmen consisting of 5 members elected for terms of 3 years each, so arranged that the term of office of as nearly an equal number of members as is possible shall expire each year.
(b) 
Powers and Duties in General — The executive powers of the town shall be vested in the board of selectmen which shall be deemed to be the chief executive office of the town. The board of selectmen shall have all of the executive powers it is possible for a board of selectmen to have and to exercise. The board of selectmen shall serve as the chief policy making agency of the town. The board of selectmen shall be responsible for the formulation and promulgation of policy directives and guidelines to be followed by all town agencies serving under it and, in conjunction with other elected town officers and multiple member bodies, to develop and promulgate policy guidelines designed to bring the operation of all town agencies into harmony.
(c) 
Licensing Authority — The board of selectmen shall be a licensing board for the town and shall have the power to issue licenses as otherwise authorized by law, to make all necessary rules and regulations regarding the issuance of such licenses, to attach conditions and to impose restrictions on any such license as it may issue as it deems to be in the public interest, and to enforce all laws relating to all businesses for which it issues a license.
(d) 
Appointments — The board of selectmen shall appoint: a town manager; constables; registrars of voters; election officers, but not including the town clerk; the board of appeals; the conservation commission; the historic district commission; other members of multiple member bodies, as set forth by law, or whose appointment authority is not otherwise specified by this charter or vote of the representative town meeting; and individuals who are to serve as representatives of the town to the governing or advisory bodies of area, regional or district authorities; provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall be interpreted to prohibit the board of selectmen, town manager or moderator from appointing such multiple member bodies as deemed appropriate to advise them on matters within their jurisdiction.
(e) 
Investigations — The board of selectmen may investigate the affairs of the town and the conduct of any town agency including any doubtful claims against the town. Copies of the full text of the report, including a summary of the results of any such investigation, shall be placed on file in the offices of the board of selectmen and town clerk and in the library and shall be printed in the next annual town report.
(a) 
Composition, Term of Office — There shall be a school committee which shall consist of 7 members. The term of office of a school committee member shall be for 3 years. The terms of office of school committee members shall be so arranged that as nearly an equal number of terms as is possible shall expire each year.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The school committee shall have general and superintendence of the public schools and, for this purpose, shall have all of the powers and duties which are given to school committees under the constitution and the General Laws and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by by-law or by vote of the representative town meeting.
(a) 
Composition, Term of Office — There shall be a board of assessors that shall consist of 3 members. The term of office of an assessor shall be for 3 years. The terms of office of assessors shall be so arranged that 1 term shall expire each year.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The board of assessors shall annually make a fair cash valuation of all property, both real and personal, within the town, and it shall have all of the powers and duties which are given to boards of assessors under the constitution and the General Laws and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by by-law or by vote of the representative town meeting.
(a) 
Term of Office — There shall be a town clerk. The term of office of the town clerk shall be for 3 years.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The town clerk shall be the keeper of vital statistics of the town and the custodian of the town seal and all public records, shall administer the oaths of office to all town officers who apply to the Clerk therefor, be the clerk of the town meeting and perform such duties with regard to elections and other matters as may be provided by law. The town clerk shall have all of the powers and duties which are given to town clerks under the constitution and the General Laws and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by by-law or by vote of the representative town meeting.
(a) 
Composition, Term of Office — There shall be a board of health that shall consist of 3 members. The term of office of a board of health member shall be for 3 years. The terms of office of board of health members shall be so arranged that the term of 1 member shall expire each year.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The board of health shall be responsible for the formulation and enforcement of rules and regulations affecting the environment and the public health, and shall have all of the powers and duties that are given to boards of health under the constitution and the General Laws and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by by-law or by vote of the representative town meeting.
(a) 
Composition, Term of Office — There shall be a board of library trustees that shall consist of 5 members. The terms of office of library trustees shall be for 3 years so arranged that as nearly an equal number of terms as is possible shall expire each year.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The board of library trustees shall have general charge of the care and management of town libraries and of all property of the town relating thereto. The board of library trustees shall have all of the powers and duties that are given to library trustees under the constitution and the General Laws and shall have such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by by-law or by vote of the representative town meeting.
(a) 
Term of Office — There shall be a moderator. The term of office of the moderator shall be for 3 years.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The moderator shall preside and regulate the procedure at all town meetings, appoint the finance and warrant committee, established by clause (i) of paragraph (1) of subsection (c) of section 2-9, such committees as may be authorized by the representative town meeting and such other committees created by the moderator, from time to time, solely to advise the moderator on matters within the moderator's jurisdiction. The moderator shall have all of the powers and duties which are given to moderators under the constitution and laws of the commonwealth and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by by-law or by vote of the town meeting.
(a) 
Composition, Term of Office — There shall be a planning board that shall consist of 5 members. The term of office of a planning board member shall be for 5 years. The terms of office of planning board members shall be so arranged that as nearly an equal number of terms as is possible shall expire each year.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The planning board shall make studies and prepare plans concerning the resources, possibilities and needs of the town. It shall prepare a comprehensive plan that shall set forth, in graphic and textual form, information concerning the present development of the town and parts thereof. Such comprehensive plan shall include recommendations of the planning board concerning the future development, including physical, economic, and environmental aspects, of the entire town and parts thereof. Such plan may be amended from time to time, and shall be formally reviewed and updated not less than once every 10 years.
The Planning board shall review proposed zoning by-laws and amendments thereto in accordance with section 5 of chapter 40A of the General Laws, as it may be amended from time to time, and have all of the other powers and duties which are given to planning boards under the constitution and the General Laws and shall have such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by by-law or by vote of the representative town meeting.
(a) 
Composition, Term of Office — There shall be a parks and recreation commission that shall consist of 5 members, elected at large. The terms of office of parks and recreation commission members shall be for 3 years. The terms of office of parks and recreation commission members shall be so arranged that as nearly an equal number as is possible shall expire each year.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The parks and recreation commission shall conduct and promote recreation, play, sport, physical education and other programs to meet the leisure time needs of the community and shall have all powers, duties and trusts that are conferred or imposed on park commissions and recreation commissions under the constitution and the General Laws. The parks and recreation commission shall consider the needs of all age groups in the development of programs. The parks and recreation commission shall have such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by-law or by other vote of the representative town meeting.
(c) 
Powers and Duties — The parks and recreation commission may appoint a director of parks and recreation. Said director shall be appointed annually by the commission for a term of one year and until qualification by a successor and may be removed by the commission at any time when, in the judgment of the commission, the public interest so requires; and any vacancy for any cause may be filled by appointment by the commission of the remainder of the unexpired term.
(a) 
Composition, Term of Office — There shall be a board of commissioners of trust funds consisting of 5 members. The term of office of commissioners of trust funds members shall be for 3 years, so arranged that as nearly an equal number of terms as is possible shall expire each year.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The board of commissioners of trust funds shall, so far as consistent with the terms of the trusts, manage and control all funds left, given, bequeathed or devised to the town, and distribute the income in accordance with the terms of the respective trusts. The board shall keep a record of its actions and, at the close of each financial year, shall make a report to the town showing the total amount of the funds and their investments, receipts and disbursements on account of the same, setting forth in detail the sources of the receipts and purposes of the expenditures. The board of commissioners of trust funds shall have all of the other powers and duties that commissioners of trust funds may have under the General Laws and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by bylaw or by vote of the representative town meeting.
(a) 
Composition, Term of Office — There shall be a housing authority which shall consist of 5 members. Four of the members shall be chosen by, ballot and the fifth member shall be a resident of the town appointed under section 5 of chapter 121B of the General Laws or as otherwise provided by law. The term of office of a housing authority member shall be for 5 years, so arranged that the term of as nearly an equal number of members as is possible shall expire each year.
(b) 
Powers and Duties — The housing authority shall have all of the powers and duties that are given to housing authorities under the constitution and the General Laws and shall have such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by this charter, by by-law or by vote of the representative town meeting.
(a) 
Who Can be Recalled — Any holder of an elective town office, as defined in subsection (a) of section 3-1, with more than 6 months remaining in the term for which that person was elected, may be recalled therefrom by the voters as herein provided.
(b) 
Recall Petition
(1) 
Affidavit — Any 250 voters may file with the town clerk an affidavit signed under the penalties of perjury bearing the name and office of the officer sought to be recalled and a statement of the grounds for recall. An affidavit shall contain the names of at least 25 voters from each district into which the town is divided, and shall specify thereon who shall be considered the "lead petitioner" and who shall be understood to be the "first 10 voters" signing the affidavit for the purposes of the recall process. If, within 3 days following such submission, the affidavits are found by the board of registrars of voters to be sufficient and valid and, if on that date the candidate whose recall is sought has at least 6 months remaining on the term for which the officer elected, the town clerk shall, without delay, make available at the town clerk's office to the first 10 voters on the affidavit, copies of petition blanks demanding such recall. Such printed forms shall be kept available.
(2) 
Petition Form — When issued, the petition blanks shall contain a facsimile of the signature of the town clerk and official seal of the town. The petition blanks shall be dated, shall be addressed to the board of selectmen and shall contain the names of the first 10 voters on the affidavit filed under paragraph (1) of subsection (b), the name and office of the person whose recall is sought, the grounds for recall as stated in the affidavit and shall demand the election of a successor to the office. No copies of petition blanks shall be made by the first 10 signers or others circulating petitions for signatures. A copy of the petition blank shall be entered in a record book to be kept in the office of town clerk.
(3) 
Petition Signature Requirements — The recall petitions shall be returned and filed with the town clerk within 21 days following the date the petition blanks are made available in the clerk's office and shall have been signed by at least 10 per cent of the voters eligible to vote as of the most recent regular annual election, not more than 25 per cent of which shall be voters in any 1 district into which the town is divided. In signing such petitions, voters shall add to their signatures the street and number, if any, of their residences.
The town clerk shall within 1 day of receipt, submit the petition to the board of registrars of voters and the said registrars shall forthwith, but in no event more than 5 days after receipt, certify thereon the number of signatures that are the names of voters.
(c) 
Selectmen's Action on Receiving Petition — If the petition shall be found and certified by the registrars of voters to be sufficient, the registrars shall submit the same with their certificate to the board of selectmen without delay, and the board of selectmen shall meet forthwith at a properly posted meeting, in accordance with the open meeting law, to 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 5 days after written notice has been provided, order an election to be held on a date not less than 60 days nor more than 75 days from the date the board of selectmen calls for such election; provided, however, that if another town election is to occur within 90 days after the date of the certificate, the board of selectmen shall postpone the holding of the recall election to the date of such other election and the question of recall may appear on the ballot at that election. If a vacancy occurs in the office after a recall election has been ordered, the election shall nevertheless proceed as provided in this section.
(d) 
Nomination of Candidates — The officer whose recall is sought may be a candidate at the recall election, and unless such officer has resigned the office or requests otherwise in writing, the town clerk shall place the officer's name on the official ballots without nomination. The nomination of other candidates, the publication of the warrant for the recall 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 the office until the recall election. If not then recalled, such person shall continue in office for the remainder of the unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided in this Section 3-13. If recalled, such person shall be deemed removed.
(f) 
Recall Election — Ballots used in a recall election shall include the following propositions in the order specified:
For the recall of (name), (office)
Against the recall of (name), (office)
Below the propositions shall be a list of the names of all candidates nominated as hereinbefore provided, arranged as provided in subsection (e) of section 3-1, with instructions that shall aid the voter. If the number of votes in favor of the recall is in the majority, then the officer shall be deemed recalled, the votes cast for each of the candidates counted and the candidate receiving the highest number of votes declared elected for the remainder of the unexpired term. If the number of votes against the recall is in the majority, the incumbent shall not have been recalled and the votes for candidates shall not be counted. If such successor shall fail to qualify within 14 days after receiving notification of election, the office shall be deemed to be vacant and shall be filled in the manner provided in subsection (i) of section 3-1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this paragraph, if fewer than 20 per cent of the voters eligible to vote in the recall election participate at such election, no votes need be counted and the election shall be deemed not to have recalled the incumbent.
(g) 
Repeat of Recall Petition — No recall petition shall be filed against an officer within 6 months after taking office, nor, in the case of an officer subjected to a recall election and not recalled thereby, until at least 6 months after the election at which the recall was submitted to the voters.
(h) 
Appointment of Person Recalled — No person who has been recalled from an office, or who has resigned from office while recall proceedings were pending against that person, shall be appointed to any town office within 2 years after such recall or such resignation. Resignation at any time after a recall affidavit has been certified by the board of registrars of voters as being valid shall be deemed to be while recall proceedings were pending.