Select Board Authority

Lead for Service, not for the Spotlight


1. The Select Board is responsible for Town affairs between Town Meetings. It has six specific areas of authority and responsibility:

2. Preparing the town meeting warrant and calling town meetings. Voters at town meeting make most important decisions for the town, including setting budgets and passing bylaws. The Select Board decides what is put on the warrant for voter consideration. More information on how town meeting works can be found here.

3. Appointing people to town boards and offices, and appointing replacements when elected position vacancies occur. (Select Board cannot appoint another select person or town clerk. Those can only be filled by special election.)

4. Employing town counsel.  No town official can be defended, nor can he or she bring suit through the town counsel without the Select Board's approval. This does not apply to the school committee, which has specific authorization to employ and select its own counsel. No head of a department, commission, or committee or Town employee can consult Town counsel without permission of the Select Board.

5. Employing professional staff such as, the Fire Chief, the Police Chief, Community Center Director, Town Administrator and other employees who are not part of elected departments. For example, the Highway Department hires their own workers, the Board of Assessors hire the Principal Assessor and the appraisal company,  the Board of Health hires their own engineer.

6. Signing warrants for the payment of all town bills. The Town Treasurer cannot issue a check until the Select Board has signed a warrant of authorization.

The Select Board has no authority over other elected officials, nor can they interfere in an elected official's performance of their statutory duties.