[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Dedham as Ch. 6 of the 1996 By-laws; amended 11-18-2013 STM by Art. 16. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The Selectmen shall be agents of the Town to institute, prosecute and defend any claims, actions and proceedings to which the Town is a party or in which the interests of the Town are or may be involved.
The Selectmen, or their designee, may at their discretion compromise or settle any claim or suit to which the Town is a party within the amount of any appropriation available therefore or as otherwise authorized by law.
The Town Counsel shall, not later than 10 days after the close of each year, report to the Selectmen what actions have been brought against and on behalf of the Town and what cases have been compromised or settled, and the Selectmen shall include such report in the Annual Town Report.
The Selectmen shall annually, as soon as practicable after final adjournment of the Annual Town Meeting, appoint a competent lawyer and member of the Bar of the Commonwealth in good standing to act as Town Counsel for the term of one year, from the day of his appointment following and until his successor is appointed and enters upon the performance of his duties, and may at their pleasure remove him from office. They shall likewise fill any vacancy in such office for the unexpired term and may employ special counsel whenever, in their judgment, necessity therefor arises and an appropriation is made or is available therefor.
Town Counsel shall have a minimum of five years experience as a city solicitor, Town counsel, or assistant Town counsel; in the case of a law firm being retained by the Town as a Town counsel, only those attorneys within the firm who have a minimum of five years experience as a city solicitor, Town counsel, assistant city solicitor, or assistant Town counsel shall represent the Town;
Town Counsel shall have substantial experience in litigation before trial courts (both state and federal) and state administrative agencies and should have a demonstrated record of success in major municipal litigation;
Town Counsel shall have a demonstrated ability to provide suitable back-up capacity during absence, illness or vacations;
Town Counsel shall have expertise in a variety of municipal law specialty areas such as land use, environmental law, civil rights, contracts, and municipal finance law;
Town Counsel shall not be eligible to participate in the Town's group insurance program nor shall Town Counsel be eligible for retirement or other benefits;
Town Counsel shall be a member in good standing of the Massachusetts Bar; and
Town Counsel shall at all times maintain a professional liability insurance policy in a minimum amount of $1,000,000.
It shall be the duty of the Town Counsel to conduct the prosecution of, defense of, or compromise claims, actions and proceedings to which the Town is a party, and the prosecution of actions or proceedings by or on behalf of any Town Officer, Board or Committee as such; to conduct the defense of any action or proceedings brought against any Town Officer, Board or Committee as such when the Selectmen, having determined that any right or interests of the Town are or may be involved therein, shall so request; to conduct proceedings brought by or against the assessors before the Appellate Tax Board; to assist in the prosecution of complaints for violation of any by-law of the Town, when requested so to do by the Board or Officer enforcing the same, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen; to examine and report upon titles to all land to be acquired by the Town; to prepare or approve contracts, bonds, deeds and other legal instruments in which the Town is a party or in which any right or interest of the Town is involved; and generally to advise and act for the Town, Officers, Boards and Committees upon and in legal matters touching the duties of their respective offices.
Any deed conveying land belonging to the Town shall be executed by the Treasurer-Collector unless the Town shall have otherwise voted. All transfers of mortgages, bonds, or other securities, all evidences of indebtedness, and mortgage foreclosures shall be executed by the Treasurer-Collector.