Governor signs three-year Select Board terms into law

Gov. Maura Healey has signed Marblehead’s home-rule petition, extending Select Board terms. Photo by Libby O'Neill

Marblehead’s home-rule petition to change its Select Board terms from one to three years was officially signed into law last Thursday by Gov. Maura Healey. 

At Town Meeting last year, residents passed Article 44, which aimed to “change the current term of Select Board from a one- to three-year staggered term similar to the School Committee and most other local select boards.” 

The act, signed by Healey, states that the change will occur “notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary.” Under the article, the change will begin at the next annual election after the act goes into effect, which will be this June.

Each of the two candidates who receive the highest amount of votes at the election will receive three-year terms, the third and fourth highest vote-getters will be given two-year terms, and the fifth highest will serve a one-year term. 

“At all subsequent elections, as the terms of the select board members expire, successors to that office shall be elected for three-year terms,” the act states.

Last fall, state Rep. Jenny Armini and resident Jim Zisson provided testimonies on behalf of the home-rule petition, citing that Marblehead, at the time, remained the only municipality in the Commonwealth to still have one-year terms in place. 

The act, however, was already set to be challenged at this year’s Town Meeting before it was signed into law.

Article 49: “Bylaw Select Board Terms, rescind,” sponsored by Dwight Grader and others, wishes to “change any subsequent bylaw created as a result of that vote to make the elected term of the Select Board to be one-year elected terms, and if necessary, to submit a home-rule petition to the legislature to change the term from a staggered three year to one-year terms.”

Town Meeting this year will begin Monday, May 6 at the Veterans Middle School auditorium.