BOSTON – The Massachusetts Senate gave its preliminary approval to a Charlemont home rule petition today, under the leadership of State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield).
The legislation, S. 2130 – An Act Establishing the Position of Town Clerk in the Town of Charlemont was sponsored by Downing and State Representative Daniel E. Bosley (D- North Adams) on behalf of the residents of Charlemont. The proposal, first approved in Town Meeting, authorizes the Board of Selectmen to appoint a town clerk via majority vote, for a term to be determined by the Board.
The Charlemont town clerk is responsible for the administration and oversight of hunting and fishing licenses; dog licenses; maintenance of the community’s birth and marriage records; and swearing in other town officials.
Currently, the office of town clerk in Charlemont is an elected position. In a community as small as Charlemont, which has about 1,300 residents, it is often difficult to find candidates willing to mount a political campaign for local office. As such, Charlemont’s residents approved this change from an elected to an appointed position to ensure stability in town services.
Final passage of this legislation will grant the Board of Selectmen oversight of the position; and enable the Board to ensure the responsibilities and services performed by this key municipal office are fulfilled by the appointee.
Passage of this bill does not affect the currently serving town clerk, Linda Brown Wagner. The legislation stipulates Wagner shall continue to hold office and perform the duties thereof until the expiration of her term, or until she chooses to otherwise vacate the office.
The legislation now goes to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.