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					Palmer Special Town Meeting of November 26, 2001 — Case # 1897

Case Comment

       The proposed by-law amendment deleting the town's existing personnel by-law and
       inserting an entirely new personnel by-law does not require approval of the Attorney
       General. [G.L. c. 44, § 108A and 108C]

                                            January 10, 2002

Patricia C. Donovan, Town Clerk
4417 Main Street
Palmer, MA 01069

RE:    Palmer Special Town Meeting of November 26, 2001 — Case # 1897
       Warrant Article # 16 (General)

Dear Ms. Donovan:

       I return the amendments to the town by-laws adopted under Article 16 of the warrant for
the Palmer town meeting that convened on November 26, 2001, with no action by this Office.

       We take no action on the vote submitted to us for approval because we deem the vote to be
a personnel by-law exempt under G.L. c. 41, §§ 108A and 108C, from review and approval by the
Attorney General which approval would otherwise be required pursuant to G.L. c. 40, § 32.
Section 108A provides in pertinent part as follows:

       A . . . town by-law may establish, and from time to time amend, a plan classifying any or all
       positions, other than those filled by popular election and those under the direction and control of the
       school committee, into groups and classes doing substantially similar work or having substantially
       equal responsibilities. Such . . . town may in like manner . . . in a town by vote of the town at a town
       meeting, establish, and from time to time amend, a plan establishing minimum and maximum
       salaries to be paid to employees in positions so classified, and such salary plan may provide for the
       attainment of such maximum salaries by periodical step-rate increases based on length of service.
       Nothing in this section shall be construed to conflict with the provisions of chapter thirty-one. Any
       by-law adopted under the provisions of this section shall not be subject to section thirty-two of
       chapter forty.

       Section 108C provides as follows:




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       A town may consolidate, in a single chapter or article, all provisions of its by-laws pertaining to the
       administration of its personnel, including, among other things, the compensation plan established
       pursuant to paragraph (b) of section five of chapter thirty-one, the plans established pursuant to
       section one hundred and eight A of this chapter, and any by-laws adopted pursuant to section
       twenty-one A of chapter forty, and may provide by by-law for the establishment of a personnel
       board or other agency for the purpose of administering said plans or other provisions of its by-laws
       pertaining to personnel, determining any questions arising thereunder, and advising the town in any
       matters pertaining thereto; provided, however, such consolidated by-law shall not be subject to the
       approval of the attorney general as provided in section thirty-two of chapter forty.

(Emphasis added.)

       The personnel by-law amendments voted under Article 16 delete the town’s existing
personnel by-law and insert an entirely new personnel by-law. Section 1 (e) of the new by-law
provides as follows:

       Authorization for the provisions of this Bylaw is Chapter 41 of the General Laws, Sections 108A
       and 108C plus current and future legislation which mandates or which mandates [sic] provisions
       relating to municipal personnel administration in Massachusetts.

       On the basis of the foregoing, we conclude that the proposed by-law serves as the sort of
by-law expressly exempted by G.L. c. 41, §§ 108A and 108C, and thus we take no action on that
vote.

                                                 Very truly yours,

                                                 THOMAS F. REILLY
                                                 ATTORNEY GENERAL


                                                 by: Kelli E. Lawrence, Assistant Attorney General
                                                 Municipal Law Unit
                                                 436 Dwight Street
                                                 Springfield, MA 01103-1317
                                                 (413) 784-1240, x 46


enc.
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Town Counsel




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