The Board of Selectmen is an outgrowth of, or an agent of, the major decision-making body, the Town Meeting. The office has evolved throughout more than three hundred years of tradition and custom. In addition to those duties which have been established by custom, the Selectmen’s powers and duties are determined by the provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws and the respective town bylaws.
Topsfield has a five-member Board of Selectmen. One member is elected each year to serve for three years. They meet regularly on Monday night in the Proctor School Library. All meetings are open to the public and are televised and can be viewed on Channel 8/47, the Community Channel.
Selectmen’s meetings, like those of all public boards and committees, must be posted at least 48 hours in advance. They are open to the public and subject to the requirements of the state Open Meeting Law Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 39, Section 23B. The Board may retire to executive session only to discuss those matters permitted by law. The Board must state which of the eight provisions is being invoked at that time. All minutes are a matter of public record except when they need to remain secret long enough to protect the legal purposes of the session.
The Selectmen have general supervision over all matters not specifically delegated by law or town vote to some other officer or board. In addition they: