The Board of Selectmen historically dates back to the early 1600’s. Prior to that, residents were selected to ensure the wishes of the townspeople were carried out between their meetings. Much has changed over the years and yet the fundamental function of today’s selectmen remains the same. The Board continues to work to ensure the votes of town meetings are carried out. The Board also disseminates policy directives and guidelines to be followed by Town committees and agencies. In addition there are hundreds of Massachusetts and/or Municipal General Laws that authorize the Board to act in the role of municipal executives.
The Board of Selectmen serves as the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Town. That role exists only when the entire Board meets and acts. The Town’s daily financial and administrative functions are carried out by a professional Town Administrator who acts as the Town’s Chief Administrative/Financial Officer. The Selectmen’s Office is staffed by a full-time Administrative Assistant. Both employees report to the Board.
A summary of the Board of Selectmen responsibilities is shown below:
· Makes appointments and is the hiring authority for non-elected Town boards, committees, and other representatives for the Town
· Issues Annual and Special Town Meeting warrants
· Sets the date for Town Meeting and publishes the Annual Town Report
· Supervises Town Legal Counsel and approves actions in litigation
· Investigates the affairs of the Town and the conduct of any Town agency
· Town licensing board including those for alcohol, new, and used car sales
· Oversees municipal property and risk management for the Town
Stow's Board of Selectmen is comprised of five members, elected for three years.