CHAPTER 91*
SELECTMEN

      *Annotations to former statutes regarding overseers: Being in derogation of common right, such statute is to be strictly construed. 3 D. 131; 1 C. 79; 5 C. 357. Selectmen making appointment maliciously and without cause are liable in damages. 2 R. 214. Damages will be implied in such case, but not if appointment is invalid. 1 C. 317. Appointment without time limitation is void. 1 C. 79. Appointment over nonresident is invalid. 3 C. 591. One under overseer is sui juris, except as to contracts. Id.; 5 C. 362. The disability as to contracts is general. 13 C. 247. Powers of selectmen as "overseers of the poor" differ essentially from those of overseers appointed. 38 C. 192. A deed from a ward to his overseer is void. 5 C. 257. A ward may, without the consent of his overseer, appoint appraisers of his land, on execution levied. Id., 357.

Table of Contents

Sec. 7-10. Oath.
Sec. 7-11. Bonds.
Sec. 7-12. Duties of selectmen.
Sec. 7-12a. First selectman to be chief executive officer and ex-officio member of town boards, commissions and committees.
Sec. 7-12b. Record of meetings.
Sec. 7-13. Orders on town treasurer.
Sec. 7-14. Land records indexes. Examination of land records. Attestation of records and photocopies. Town records. Certification as to examination of records and indexes. General index of land records. Penalties.
Sec. 7-15. Detection of crime.

      Sec. 7-10. Oath. Selectmen, before entering upon the duties of their office, shall be sworn, and the authority administering the oath shall file a certificate thereof with the town clerk, who shall record the same.

      (1949 Rev., S. 533; 1953, S. 214d.)

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      Sec. 7-11. Bonds. Section 7-11 is repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 534; 1957, P.A. 13, S. 3; P.A. 82-327, S. 12.)

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      Sec. 7-12. Duties of selectmen. The selectmen of each town shall, forthwith, after the election or appointment of any town officers of whom an oath is required by law, cause them to be sworn to a faithful discharge of their respective duties. They shall superintend the concerns of the town, adjust and settle all claims against it and draw orders on the treasurer for their payment. They shall require of the treasurer a sufficient bond, with surety, conditioned for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office; and the selectmen who fail to require such bond shall be jointly and severally liable to the town for all moneys not accounted for by the treasurer. They shall make a sworn report to the treasurer of the amount, number and date of each town order drawn by them, at the end of each month; and they shall keep a true account of all expenditures in the form of a permanent record which shall be verified under oath at the end of the fiscal year and made available for auditing purposes and public inspection.

      (1949 Rev., S. 536; 1953, S. 216d.)

      See Sec. 7-83 re requirement that orders for payment of town's expenses be signed by majority of selectmen.

      Earlier cases (2 D. 323; 5 C. 367) denying the right of selectmen to compromise or arbitrate claims, or prosecute or defend suits, overruled. 19 C. 331; 29 C. 113; 33 C. 504; 64 C. 94. In removing encroachments on highway, selectmen are agents of the law, not of the town. 2 C. 294; 54 C. 68. They are agents of the law in laying out highways. 17 C. 199; 64 C. 100. But are agents of the town in building or repairing highways. Id. Act of a minority assented to by a majority is obligatory. 21 C. 636. Town is liable for default of selectmen, in imposed duty. 22 C. 169. A public agent, acting upon a public business, is presumed to act in his official capacity. Id., 385. Selectmen assumed duty of repair of way, imposed by law upon railroad company; held binding upon the town. 26 C. 56. Ratification of unauthorized act. Id. The acts of selectmen upon subjects within their agency are admissible to prove relationship of the town. Id., 579. Payment for pauper an implied admission of continuing liability. 29 C. 113. Authority by vote, to them, to pay moneys, does not authorize execution of promissory note of the town. 37 C. 62. Statutory notice of injury through defective highway cannot be waived by a selectman; whether the board may, quaere. 46 C. 56. One, liable over, is not bound by the amount of the voluntary payment made by a town. 48 C. 326. Order by selectmen on town treasurer, given and received in satisfaction of claim, is equivalent to payment. Id.; 51 C. 491. Of three selectmen one was not consulted, the other two agreed that one of them "should attend to the case", who then submitted it to arbitration; held not binding on the town. 54 C. 35. Injunction against town to restrain selectmen from carrying out unlawful purpose directed by the town. Id., 73. One lawfully employed by selectmen is an agent of the town. 58 C. 98. When selectmen may employ counsel before general assembly. Id., 234. Selectmen cannot delegate authority to superintend highways. 60 C. 164. They may submit land damages to arbitration. 64 C. 88. As to ratification of illegal payment by approval of report. 70 C. 18, see 121 U. S. 121. Selectmen have no general authority to borrow money or make contracts. 121 U.S. 121. Nature of office; power may extend beyond town. 71 C. 728. Report of selectmen admissible against town. 72 C. 562. Nature and history of office of first selectman. 75 C. 462. Power under good roads act. 81 C. 619. Power to appoint overseer of improvident person. 84 C. 680. Nature of acts as to layout of highways. 85 C. 502. Power over land which town controls. 88 C. 15. When acting as agents of law, town cannot control. Id., 308. Acts of one selectman outside of authority cannot bind other selectmen; liability of one for illegal acts ordered by him. 94 C. 440, 442. Cited. 121 C. 298. Cited. 237 C. 135. Power to create or eliminate municipal positions is a necessary concomitant to the power to superintend concerns of the town. 277 C. 565.

      Cited. 35 CA 769.


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      Sec. 7-12a. First selectman to be chief executive officer and ex-officio member of town boards, commissions and committees. Unless otherwise provided by law, the first selectman, in each town for which its board of selectmen is the executive authority, shall be the chief executive officer of such town and shall be an ex-officio member, without vote, of all town boards, commissions and committees; provided nothing herein shall be construed to affect any special act which gives the first selectman the power to vote on such boards, commissions and committees.

      (1959, P.A. 97; P.A. 79-217.)

      History: P.A. 79-217 made first selectman chief executive officer of town.

      Ex-officio member of zoning commission may sit in, at hearings and executive sessions. 160 C. 295. Cited. 237 C. 135.

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      Sec. 7-12b. Record of meetings. The boards of selectmen shall keep an accurate record of all minutes of their meetings which shall be available for public inspection at reasonable times.

      (February, 1965, P.A. 599.)

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      Sec. 7-13. Orders on town treasurer. No selectman shall draw any order on the treasurer of any town except in duplicate or upon a blank order which is attached to a blank form of stub. The duplicate of each such order or the stub from which such order was detached shall contain a comprehensive statement of the amount and purpose for which such order was drawn. Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars.

      (1949 Rev., S. 535.)

      See Sec. 7-83 re requirement that orders for payment of town's expenses be signed by majority of selectmen.

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      Sec. 7-14. Land records indexes. Examination of land records. Attestation of records and photocopies. Town records. Certification as to examination of records and indexes. General index of land records. Penalties. The selectmen of each town, or the administrative head of the town if other than the selectmen, shall annually appoint some suitable person to carefully examine the indexes of the land records of their respective towns for the preceding year and to note and report in writing to the town clerk all errors and omissions in the same. The person so appointed shall examine the land records and note all omissions by the town clerk or his authorized assistant to attest the records of conveyances of land with the genuine signatures of the town clerk or his assistant, provided, in those towns using a photographic process, it shall be a sufficient attestation of the land records if the town clerk or assistant town clerk shall note on the recorded copy the date and time of receipt of the instrument for record and the name of the recording officer and shall sign a certificate and affix his seal thereto, at the end of each volume of the land records or at the end of such recording in such volume, certifying and attesting that the records preceding such certificate are true copies of the originals left with the town clerk for record. Such certificate shall be in the following form:

      This is to certify that all of the copies of instruments in volume ...., pages .... through ...., of the land records of the town of ...., covering the period from .... through ...., are true copies of the original instruments received for record.

      .... (Seal)
Town Clerk.


Selectmen or such administrative head shall annually ascertain the condition of all records of their respective towns and cause any such records to be carefully repaired, arranged in order of pages and rebound, whenever such repairs and rebinding are necessary for the preservation of such records. Such selectmen or administrative head shall, on or before December thirtieth of each year, submit to the Public Records Administrator a certificate that the examinations of indexes and inspection of records required by this section have been completed, together with a summary statement of the results of such examination and inspection. In all towns in which there is no general index of the land records, the selectmen or administrative head shall cause a general index to be made and appoint some competent person to make the same under the supervision of the Public Records Administrator, and the expense thereof shall be paid by the town. The selectmen or administrative head of any town who fails to comply with any provision of this section shall be fined not less than five nor more than twenty-five dollars.

      (1949 Rev., S. 538; 1963, P.A. 48; 1967, P.A. 225.)

      History: 1963 act added provision for attestation of records in towns using photographic process; 1967 act included administrative heads other than selectmen, deleted requirement that examiners of land records be appointed in September and that selectmen or administrative head check condition of records, required certification to examiner of public records and removed requirement that fine be levied for each month's delay.

      See Secs. 7-24 to 7-26, inclusive, re records and indexes of instruments.

      See Sec. 11-8(b) re appointment of Public Records Administrator.


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      Sec. 7-15. Detection of crime. Section 7-15 is repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 544; P.A. 76-336, S. 24; P.A. 82-327, S. 12.)

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