Maine Revised Statutes

§2526. Choice and qualifications of town officials

Unless otherwise provided by charter, the following provisions apply to the choice and qualifications of town officials. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]

1. Manner of election.  In a town with a population greater than 4,000, according to the last Federal Decennial Census, election shall be by plurality. Except as provided in section 2528, subsection 10, in a town with a population of 4,000 or under, election shall be by majority.
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD) .]
2. Appointment in writing.  The appointment of any town official or deputy must be in writing and shall be signed by the appointing party.
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD) .]
3. Qualifications.  In order to hold a municipal office, a person must be a resident of the State, at least 18 years of age and a citizen of the United States.
A. In order to hold the office of selectman, a person must be a voter in the town in which that person is elected. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD) .]
4. Selectmen and overseers.  The following provisions apply to selectmen and overseers.
A. A town may determine at a meeting held at least 90 days before the annual meeting whether 3, 5 or 7 will be elected to each board and their terms of office.
(1) Once the determination has been made, it stands until revoked at a meeting held at least 90 days before the annual meeting.
(2) If a town fails to fix the number, 3 shall be elected. If a town fails to fix the term, it is for one year. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
B. When others have not been elected, the selectmen shall serve as overseers of the poor. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
C. A selectman may also serve as a member of the board of assessors. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
D. A town, in electing selectmen and overseers, may designate one of them as chairman of the board.
(1) If no person is designated as chairman, the board shall elect by ballot a chairman from its own membership, before assuming the duties of office. When no member receives a majority vote, the clerk shall determine the chairman by lot. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
E. If the town fails to fix the compensation of these officials at its annual meeting, they shall be paid $10 each per day for every day actually and necessarily employed in the service of the town. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD) .]
5. Assessors.  The following provisions apply to assessors.
A. A town may determine at a meeting of its legislative body held at least 90 days before the annual meeting whether a single assessor will be appointed under subparagraph (3) or a board of 3, 5 or 7 will be elected and the term of office of the assessor or assessors. In towns where the municipal legislative body is the town meeting, the determination is effective only if the total number of votes cast for and against the determination equals or exceeds 10% of the number of votes cast in the town at the last gubernatorial election.
(1) Once a determination has been made, it stands until revoked at a meeting held at least 90 days before the annual meeting.
(2) If a town fails to fix the number, 3 shall be elected. If a town fails to fix the term, it is for one year.
(3) When a town has chosen a single assessor under this paragraph, the selectmen shall appoint the assessor for a term not exceeding 5 years. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
B. In addition to the method provided by paragraph A and notwithstanding the provision of any town charter to the contrary, the municipal officers of any town, or the municipal officers of 2 or more towns acting jointly, may enact an ordinance providing for a single assessor. The municipal officers shall appoint the assessor for a term not exceeding 5 years.
(1) Seven days' notice of the meeting at which the ordinance is to be proposed shall be given in the manner provided for town meetings.
(2) In towns where the municipal legislative body is the town meeting, the ordinance is effective immediately after the next regular town meeting if enacted at least 90 days before the meeting. The ordinance stands until revoked by the municipal legislative body or the municipal officers at a meeting held at least 90 days before the annual town meeting. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
C. When a town has not elected a full board of assessors, the selectmen shall serve as assessors as provided in Title 36, section 703. A selectman who is an assessor pursuant to this paragraph and Title 36, section 703 or any person who serves as both a selectman and a tax assessor may resign the position of assessor without resigning the office of selectman. The position of assessor must then be filled by appointment pursuant to section 2602, subsection 2. A person elected to the State Legislature who resigns the position of assessor pursuant to this paragraph may continue to serve concurrently as selectman and member of the State Legislature. If a person who is serving in the State Legislature or in another office incompatible with the position of assessor resigns the position of assessor pursuant to this paragraph before that person has performed any duties as tax assessor, that person may not be deemed to have vacated the previously held position of State Legislator or other office that is incompatible with the office of assessor. [2003, c. 234, §1 (AMD).]
D. A town, if it elects a board of assessors, may designate one member as chairman of the board.
(1) If no person is designated as chairman, the board shall elect by ballot a chairman from its own membership, before assuming the duties of office. When no member receives a majority vote, the clerk shall determine the chairman by lot. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
E. If the town fails to fix the compensation of assessors at its annual meeting, they shall be paid $10 each per day for every day actually and necessarily employed in the service of the town. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
F. This subsection does not apply to any municipality which is incorporated into a primary assessing area. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
G. Notwithstanding any other law when a vacancy occurs on an elected board of assessors, the municipal officers shall fill that vacancy as provided in section 2602, subsection 2. [1991, c. 270, §2 (NEW).]
[ 2003, c. 234, §1 (AMD) .]
6. Board of assessment review.  The following provisions apply to a board of assessment review.
A. Any municipality may adopt a board of assessment review at a meeting of its legislative body held at least 90 days before the annual meeting. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
B. The board of assessment review consists of 3 members and 2 alternates appointed by the selectmen. The municipality, when adopting such a board, may fix the compensation of the members. Initially, one member must be appointed for one year, one member for 2 years and one member for 3 years, and one of the alternates must be appointed for one year and one alternate for 2 years. Thereafter, the term of each new member or alternate is 3 years. [1991, c. 235, (AMD).]
C. Any town adopting a board of assessment review may discontinue the board by vote in the same manner and under the same conditions as in adopting the board. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
D. Municipalities may provide by ordinance for a board of assessment review consisting of 5 or 7 members and up to 3 alternates. The terms of office of members and alternates may not exceed 5 years and initial appointments must be such that the terms of office of no more than 2 members or alternates will expire in any single year. [1991, c. 235, (AMD).]
E. Any town, by ordinance, may designate a board of appeals appointed under section 2691 as the board of assessment review. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
F. A board of assessment review shall annually elect from its membership a chairman and a secretary. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
G. The procedure of a board of assessment review is governed by section 2691, subsection 3. [2003, c. 510, Pt. A, §26 (AMD).]
H. This subsection does not apply to any municipality which is incorporated into a primary assessing area. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
[ 2003, c. 510, Pt. A, §26 (AMD) .]
7. Road commissioners.  The following provisions apply to road commissioners.
A. A town may determine at a meeting held at least 90 days before the annual meeting whether one or more road commissioners will be chosen and the term of office which may not exceed 3 years.
(1) Once the determination has been made, it stands until revoked at a meeting held at least 90 days before the annual meeting.
(2) If a town fails to fix the number, one shall be chosen. If a town fails to fix the term, it is one year. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
B. A road commissioner appointed by the selectmen may be removed from office for cause by the selectmen. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
C. The board of selectmen may act as a board of road commissioners. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
[ 1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD) .]
8. Treasurers and tax collectors.  Treasurers and tax collectors of towns may not simultaneously serve as municipal officers or as elected or appointed assessors until they have completed their duties and had a final settlement with the town.
A. The same person may serve as treasurer and tax collector of a municipality. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
[ 2009, c. 57, §1 (AMD) .]
9. Sworn in.  Before assuming the duties of office, a town official or deputy shall be sworn by the moderator in open town meeting, by the clerk, or by any other person authorized by law to administer an oath, including a notary public or dedimus justice.
A. Unless the oath is administered in the clerk's presence, the person who administers it shall give the official or deputy sworn a certificate, which must be returned to the clerk for filing. The certificate must state:
(1) The name of the official or deputy sworn;
(2) The official's or deputy's office;
(3) The name of the person who administered the oath; and
(4) The date when the oath was taken. [2003, c. 510, Pt. A, §27 (RPR).]
B. The clerk shall be sworn to accurately record the votes of town meetings and to discharge faithfully all the other duties of that office, until another clerk is elected and sworn. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
C. After the town meeting, the clerk shall immediately issue a warrant directed to a constable containing the names of persons chosen for office who have not been sworn.
(1) The constable shall immediately summon the named persons to appear before the clerk within 7 days from the time of notice to take the oath of office.
(2) The constable shall make a return immediately to the clerk.
(3) The town shall pay the constable a reasonable compensation for these services. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
D. The clerk shall record the election or appointment of each official or deputy, including the clerk's own, and the other information specified in paragraph A. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
E. A record by the clerk that a person was sworn for a stated town office is sufficient evidence that the person was legally sworn for the office. The entire oath need not be recorded. [1987, c. 737, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1987, c. 737, Pt. C, §106 (NEW); 1989, c. 6, (AMD); 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD); 1989, c. 104, Pt. C, §§8, 10 (AMD).]
[ 2003, c. 510, Pt. A, §27 (AMD) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1987, c. 737, §§A2,C106 (NEW). 1989, c. 6, (AMD). 1989, c. 9, §2 (AMD). 1989, c. 104, §§A17,C8,10, D3 (AMD). 1991, c. 235, (AMD). 1991, c. 270, §§1,2 (AMD). 2003, c. 234, §1 (AMD). 2003, c. 510, §§A26,27 (AMD). 2009, c. 57, §1 (AMD).