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Encyclopedia > Board of selectmen

The Board of Selectmen is commonly the executive arm of town government in New England. The board may consist of three or five members with staggered terms. A street in Ynysybwl, Wales, relatively stereotypical of a small town A town is usually an urban area which is not considered to rank as a city. ... Red states show the core of New England, the regions cultural influence may cover a greater or lesser area than shown. ...


Boards of Selectmen are the child of necessity. In most New England towns, the adult population gathers annually in a town meeting to act as the local legislature, approving budgets and laws. Day-to-day operations were originally left to individual oversight, but when towns became too large for this to work, they would elect an executive board of, literally, select(ed) men to run things for them. Town meeting is a form of local government commonly practiced in the U.S. region of New England, but uncommon elsewhere in the United States. ...

These men were in charge of the day-to-day operations; selectmen were a community's police force, highway supervisors, poundkeepers, field drivers, and served as nearly every other modern town official. The larger towns grew, howeer, the more power would be distributed become among other elected boards, such as fire wardens, as well as appointed employees. Mitchell Freeway in Perth, Western Australia For other uses, see Highway (disambiguation). ... Employment is a contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. ...

For example, population increases led to the need for actual police departments, of which selectmen typically became the Commissioners. The advent of tarred roads and automobile traffic led to a need for full-time highway maintainers and plowmen, leaving selectmen to serve as Supervisors of Streets and Ways. A car of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, England Police forces are government organisations charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order. ... A Police Commissioner is the head or chief officer of many police organisations. ... TAR can mean: An abbreviation for Tar (file format) The Amazing Race, a reality television program An abbreviation for Tibet Autonomous Region The Third Assessment Report of the IPCC Thrombocytopenia Absent Radius syndrome For Tar or tar, see Tar (disambiguation). ... A small variety of cars, the most popular kind of automobile. ...

The term "selectman" is usually applied even to female board members, and is generally considered gender neuteral, although "selectwoman" is also used.


The function of the Board of Selectmen differs from state to state, and can differ within a given state depending on the type of governance under which a town operates. Selectmen is almost always a part-time position that pays only a token salary.

The basic function consists of calling town meeting, calling elections, appointing employees, setting certain fees, overseeing certain volunteer and appointed bodies, and creating basic regulations. Town meeting is a form of local government commonly practiced in the U.S. region of New England, but uncommon elsewhere in the United States. ... An election is a decision making process whereby people vote for preferred political candidates or parties to act as representatives in government. ... One pays a fee as renumeration for services, especially the honorarium paid to a doctor, lawyer or member of a learned profession. ...

In larger towns, most of the selectmen's traditional powers are entrusted to a full-time town administrator or town manager. In some towns, the Board of Selectmen acts more like a city council, but retains the historic name. A city manager is an official appointed as the administrative manager of a city, in a council-manager form of city government. ... Council-manager government - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... A city council is the most common style of legislative government in a city or town. ...

In some places, the head of the Board of Selectmen is the First Selectman, who historically has served as the chief administrative officer of the town. Sometimes this is a part-time position, with larger towns hiring a town manager, and sometimes the First Selectman exercises the powers typically associated with mayors. The First Selectman (sometimes Selectwoman depending on the preference of the person holding the office) is the traditional head of the Board of Selectmen of a New England town. ... A mayor (from the Latin maīor, meaning larger,greater) is the politician who serves as chief executive official of some types of municipalities. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Board of Selectmen - Town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts (340 words)
The Board of Selectmen acts as the Town’s Chief Executive Body responsible for the general welfare of the Community.
Specific powers and responsibilities of the Board of Selectmen are set forth in Chapter 559 of the Acts of 1953 which is better known as the Town Manager Act and the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The primary responsibility of the Board of Selectmen is to appoint and oversee the work of the Town Manager.
  More results at FactBites »



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