The Board of Selectmen is the Executive Body for the Town of Topsfield. Board members are elected and their collective authority is authorized by State Statute, the Town's By-Laws and the Town's legislative body, Town Meeting.
The Office of Selectman has evolved throughout more than three hundred years of tradition and custom. In addition to the duties established by custom, the Board's legal authority, powers and duties are determined by the provisions of Massachusetts General Law and the Town's respective By-Laws.
Topsfield has a five-member Board of Selectmen. One member is elected each year to serve for three years. The Board typically meets the first and third Monday of each month. In accordance with Open Meeting Law, all Board meetings are open to the public and are posted at least 48 hours in advance. Regular business meetings are typically broadcasted live, are recorded and can be viewed on Channel 8/47 (the Community Channel) or downloaded from the Town's Website and/or Topsfield's "You Tube" 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 All minutes are a matter of public record except when they need to remain unpublished long enough to protect the legal purposes of the session.
The Board of Selectmen has general executive authority and general oversight and supervision over matters not specifically delegated by law or town vote to another officer or board. In addition, the Board:
- Appoints the Town Administrator/Personnel Director
- Settles claims against the town or employ counsel in suits against the town
- Calls for Annual or Special Town Meetings
- Oversees the preparation of Town Meeting warrants
- Coordinates and Submit's the Town's Annual Report
- Signs all bonds and notes for borrowing, purchasing, leasing, or disposing of town property.