General Provisons

Section 9-1. Certificate of Election and Appointment.

Every person who is elected or appointed shall receive a certificate of such election or appointment from the City Clerk which shall bear the date of its expiration. Except as otherwise provided by law, before performing any act under his election or appointment, he shall take and subscribe to an oath to qualify him to enter upon the duties of office. A record of the taking of such oath shall be made by the City Clerk. Any oath required by this section may be administered by any officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Records of transaction of all officers and boards shall be open to the inspection of the public.

Section 9-2. Rules and Regulations.

A copy of all rules and regulations adopted by any City agency shall be filed in the office of the City Clerk and made available for review by any person who requests such information.

Section 9-3. Re-enactment and Publication of Ordinances.

The City Council shall, at five year intervals, cause to be prepared by a special committee of the City Council appointed for that purpose proposed revisions or recodifications of all ordinances of the City which shall be presented to the City Council for re-enactment. Such revision or recodification shall be prepared under the supervision of the City Solicitor, or, if the City Council so directs, by special counsel retained for that purpose. Copies of the revised ordinances shall be made available for distribution, provided, however, that a charge not to exceed the actual cost per copy of reproduction may be charged.

Section 9-4. Liability of City Offices and Agencies.

All City officers and members of City agencies shall be deemed to be public or municipal officers or officials. Subject to appropriation, the City may indemnify any such officer or member for expenses or damages incurred in the defense or settlement of a claim against him which arose while acting within the scope of his official duties or employment, but only to the extent and subject to the limitations imposed by the General Laws.

Section 9-5. Prohibition.

No member of the executive or legislative branch or of the School Committee shall appear as counsel before any City office or agency.

Section 9-6. Meetings of Qualified Voters.

General meetings of the voters may be held from time to time, according to the right secured to the people by the Constitution of the Commonwealth; and all such meetings may, and upon the request in writing of one hundred voters setting forth the purpose thereof, shall be duly called by the City Council.

Section 9-7. Severability.

If any provision of the Charter is held invalid, the other provisions of the Charter shall not be affected thereby. If the application of the Charter or any of its provisions to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the application of the Charter and its provisions to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

Section 9-8. Specific Provisions Shall Prevail.

To the extent that any specific provision of the Charter will conflict with any provisions expressed in the Charter in general terms, the specific provisions shall prevail.

Section 9-9. References to General Laws.

All references to the General Laws contained in the Charter refer to the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are intended to include any amendments or revisions to such chapters and sections or to the corresponding chapters and sections of any re-arrangement of the General Laws enacted subsequent to the adoption of the Charter.

Section 9-10. Removals and Suspensions.

(a) In General - Any appointed officer or full-time salaried employee of the City, not subject to the provisions of the state civil service law, whether appointed for a fixed or an indefinite term, may be suspended or removed from office by the appointing authority for good cause. The term cause shall include, but not be limited to, the following: incapacity other than temporary illness, inefficiency, insubordination and conduct unbecoming the office.

(b) Suspension - Any appointed officer or full-time salaried employee of the City may be suspended from the office by the appointing authority if such action is deemed by them to be necessary to protect the interest of the City. However, no suspension shall be for more than fifteen days.

Suspension may be coterminous with removal and shall not interfere with the rights of the officer or employee under the removal procedure given below.

(c) Removal - The appointing authority, when removing any such officer or employee, shall act in accordance with the following procedure:

1. A written notice of intent to remove and a statement of the cause or causes therefor shall be delivered by registered mail to the last known address of the person sought to be removed.

2. Within five days of delivery of such notice, the officer or employee may request a public or closed hearing to be held by the City Council at which he may be represented by counsel, who shall be entitled to present evidence, call witnesses and to question any witness appearing at the hearing. Such hearing shall be conducted under the rules of evidence.

3. Between one and ten days after the public or closed hearing is adjourned, the City Council shall direct the appointing authority to take final action by either removing the officer or employee or notifying him that the notice has been rescinded.

4. After delivery of this notice of intent to remove, if the officer or employee fails to request a hearing, the appointing authority shall take final action either by removing the officer or employee or notifying him that the notice has been rescinded.

Nothing in this section shall be construed as granting a right to such a hearing to:

[i[ A person who holds a position for a fixed term, when his term expires; and

(ii) A person who is a member of Local 3699, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, Methuen Support Staff Employees Unit. Said member shall be governed by the disciplinary procedure of said Unit’s collective bargaining agreement with the City of Methuen. (Chapter 76 of the Acts and Resolves of 1996)

Section 9-11. Procedures.

(a) Meetings - All multiple member bodies of the City, whether elected or appointed or otherwise constituted, shall meet regularly at such times and places within the City as they may prescribe. Except in emergencies, special meetings of any multiple member body shall be held on the call of the respective chairman or by one-third of the members thereof by written notice delivered to the residence or place of business of each member at least forty-eight hours in advance of the time set. A copy of the said notice shall also be posted on the City bulletin board(s). Special meetings of any multiple member body shall also be called within one week after the date of the filing with the City Clerk of a petition signed by at least one hundred voters and which states the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is to be called. Except in cases of special emergency as otherwise authorized by the General Laws, all meetings of all multiple member bodies shall be open and public; however, the multiple member body may recess for the purpose of discussing in a closed or executive session limited to its own membership, any matter which would tend to defame or prejudice the character or reputation of any person, which would affect the public security, or which might have a direct fiscal effect on the city, provided that the general subject matter for consideration is expressed in the motion calling for such session.

(b) Agendas - Except in cases of special emergency, at least forty-eight hours before any meeting of a multiple member body is to be held, an agenda containing all items which are scheduled to come before it at the meeting shall be posted. No action taken on a matter not included in the posted agenda shall be effective unless the body first adopts by special vote a resolution declaring that an emergency exists and that the particular matter must be acted upon at that meeting for the immediate preservation of the peace, health, safety or convenience of the City.

(c) Rules and Journal - Each multiple member body shall determine its own rules and order of business unless otherwise provided by the Charter or by law and shall provide for keep-ing a journal of its proceedings. These rules and journals shall be a public record kept available in a place convenient to the public at all times and certified copies shall be kept available in the City Clerk's office.

(d) Voting - Except on procedural matters, all votes of all multiple member bodies shall be taken by a call of the roll and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the journal, provided, however, that if the vote is unanimous only that fact need be recorded.

(e) Quorum - A majority of the members of a multiple member body shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and compel the attendance of absent members in the manner and subject to the penalties prescribed by the rules of the body. No other action shall be valid or binding unless ratified by the affirmative vote of the majority of the full body.

Section 9-12. Definitions.

Unless another meaning is clearly apparent from the manner in which the word is used, the following words as used in the Charter shall have the following meanings:

(a) Charter - The word "Charter" shall mean this Charter and any amendments to it made through any of the methods provided under Article LXXXIX of the amendments to the State Constitution.

(b) Days - The word "days" shall refer to business days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, and Legal Holidays, when the time set is seven days or less; when more than seven days, every day shall be included when counting days.

(c) Emergency - The word "emergency" shall mean a sudden, unexpected, unforeseen happening, occurrence or condition which necessitates immediate action.

(d) Full Council - The words "full Council" shall mean the entire authorized complement of the City Council notwithstanding any vacancies which might exist.

(e) Initiative Measure - The words "initiative measure" shall mean a measure proposed by initiative procedures under the Charter, including a specific item in a City budget or School Committee budget but excluding:

1. Proceedings relating to the organization or operation of the City Council or School Committee;

2. An emergency measure passed in conformity with the Charter;

3. The City budget as a whole or the School Committee budget as a whole;

4. A revenue loan order;

5. An appropriation for the payment of the City debts or obligations;

6. Any appropriation of funds necessary to implement a written agreement executed under General Laws, Chapter 149, Section 178I (relating to collective bargaining);

7. Any proceeding or part thereof, relating to the election, employment, appointment, suspension, transfer, demotion, removal or discharge of any City officer or employee;

8. Any proceeding repealing or rescinding a measure, or a part thereof, which is protested by referendum procedures.

(f) Majority Vote - The words "majority vote" shall mean a majority of those present and voting, provided, that a quorum of the body is present.

(g) Measure - The word "measure" shall mean an ordinance passed or which could be passed by the City Council or an order, resolution, vote or other proceeding passed or which could be passed by the City Council or School Committee.

(h) Multiple Member Body - The words "multiple member body" shall mean any body consisting of two or more persons, whether elected, appointed or otherwise constituted.

[i] Municipality - Methuen shall have a municipal form of government.

(j) Number and Gender - The singular number may be extended and applied to several persons or things; words imparting the plural number may include the singular; and words imparting the masculine gender shall include the feminine gender.

(k) Referendum Measure - The words "referendum measure" shall mean a measure protested by referendum procedures under the Charter, including a specific item in the City budget or School Committee budget, but excluding items #1 through 7 mentioned under the definition of (e) Initiative Measures, and: (8) any proceeding providing for the submission or referral of a matter to the voters at an election.

(l) City - The word "City" shall mean the name "City of Methuen".

(m) City Agency - The words "City agency" shall mean any board, commission, committee, department, or office of the City government.

(n) Voters - The word "voters" shall mean registered voters of the City of Methuen.