There shall be a board of selectmen consisting of five members elected by the voters of the town for three-year overlapping terms such that the term of office of at least one member but not more than two expire each year. If on the same ballot there are two or more seats vacant with varying terms of office, the longest terms of office shall accrue the candidates receiving the highest number of votes in succession.
If a vacancy occurs in the membership of the board, the remaining members shall call a special election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term. However, if a vacancy occurs less than 90 days prior to the annual election and if not less than three selectmen remain in office, the vacancy shall remain unfilled until such annual election. In no case shall a special election be held within 30 days prior to the annual election.
The board of selectmen shall be the chief policy-making body for the municipal government, except the school department. It will be the primary responsibility of the board to coordinate the long-range objectives of the town, particularly those of a comprehensive planning program, and to formulate policy for the implementation of programs necessary to fulfill those objectives, and shall report thereon semiannually to the voters. In addition, the board shall have the following powers and duties:
The board of selectmen shall be the Board of Directors of corporate Mansfield, and shall appoint a town manager as the town's chief executive and administrative officer, and it shall deal through him with town officers and employees subject to his direction or supervision.
The board shall be responsible for public safety and shall formulate policies in accordance with higher legal authority that will insure protection of the citizens from fire, crime, natural disasters, and other emergencies.
The board shall be the Public Works Commission and shall formulate policies that will insure that proper services and public facilities are provided for the citizens.
The board shall be the Municipal Electric Commission and, as such, shall be responsible for over-all policy of the Municipal Electric Department, and shall appoint the Municipal Electric Department Manager.
The board shall have the responsibility of maintaining a system of job classifications, descriptions and grades of compensation for all municipal employees, and may appoint a temporary committee consisting of at least three members to establish such a system.
The board shall determine the salaries and compensation of all town officers and officials appointed by them.
The board shall be the licensing authority for the town in accordance with the General Laws.
The board shall call elections and town meetings.
The board shall have over-all responsibility for the public funds and shall appoint a town accountant to keep, audit, and approve the accounts; the board shall inspect and approve such accounts regularly.
The board shall on a bimonthly basis conduct a joint meeting of the chairmen of all other boards, commissions and committees to discuss pertinent matters of the town.
In order to fulfill its long-range policy-making responsibility the board shall annually appoint two of its members to serve on the Capital Improvement Program Committee, and if applicable shall make appointments to regional planning organizations. Further, the board shall appoint the planning board, board of health, board of appeals, airport commission, recreation commission, conservation commission, municipal building committee, finance committee, industrial development finance authority, and council on aging.
In addition, the board shall appoint the board of assessors, registrars of voters, constables, town counsel, election officers, library trustees and veteran's affairs officer.
The board may employ such experts as it deems necessary to fulfill its obligations.
The board shall defend the interests of the citizens at higher levels of government and before quasi-public or quasi-judicial organizations, and shall represent the citizens at official ceremonies. Link to General Laws 41-20 governing board of selectmen.