Cohasset Governance hearing on bylaw changes January 23d

Draft By-law language to be discussed at the Thursday, Jan. 23rd meeting at 7pm at the Cohasset Middle High Schools demonstrates that the governance committee is not just updating the bylaws to reflect the Amended Town Manager Act. It is changing the bylaws.  Link to ByLawsv8

To our knowledge, Town Counsel Paul DeRensis has not been asked to comment on these changes.   

Accordingly, we suggest Governance discuss its proposed changes to the bylaw with Town Counsel and/or the Town Manager before the hearing, or cancel the hearing.

The New Amended Town Manager’s Act States The Following 70 Section 3.

 (a) The board of selectmen shall create a search committee to assist in the selection of candidates for the position of town manager.

Governance’s Draft Bylaw language wants the Search Committee to become a search committee of townspeople (registered voters). This would mean (if it were legal) that the selectmen could never create an outside committee (the Collins center) to seek town manager candidates. 


Suggested bylaw Language: The Selectmen shall not appoint to the position of Town Manager a person who has not received a recommendation from the search committee except by unanimous vote of the full board (of selectmen).  

The above language in red appears to set up a voting bloc. This proposed change would supersede the Amended Town Manager’s Act that requires a majority (three) selectmen to choose a town manager. In our opinion, this is an illegal bylaw change.

Budget planning

Governance wants to change the bylaw and allow Advisory Committee members to be voting members on Budget Planning. Advisors can always audit these meetings without being voting members. Advisors actually have been illegally serving on budget planning for some time.

Advisory is a recommending body. It is not wise for Advisory Members to serve as elected and appointed members of other committees when it has broad review powers and reporting requirements to town meeting. It is unclear whether this is an illegal change.

© Copyright 2014 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed