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Civics Sunday - Part IX: The Appointment Process for Unelected Committee Positions

by The Publishers
April 14, 2019

Part IX of Civics Sunday continues to provide readers with information on Holliston’s town government.  As you may remember, previous columns described elected boards, positions, and committee members.  But there remain so many (140+) appointed positions in town for which you and your neighbors may contribute to the workings of Holliston.  What are these groups, and what is the procedure to obtain such a position? These two questions will be the focus of this week’s column.

Mark your calendar for the Town Meeting on May 6 and Local Elections on May 21.  We will publish received Statements of Candidacy prior to our Local Election.  The final slate of candidates was published on April 7, and may be accessed here:


The Appointment Process for Unelected Committee Positions

According to Holliston’s By-Laws, the Selectmen make appointments to the majority of the town’s boards and committees.  Their responsibility to make logical and sensible appointments requires considerable time and effort. 

All appointments are comprised of residents who have volunteered their time to address specific concerns.  The work of each committee entails developing a solution or making recommendations for an action plan that the committee will bring to the Select Board or Town Meeting.  

Are You Interested in Volunteering Your Time, Talents, and Expertise? 

The Board of Selectmen keeps a list of volunteers’ indications of their area(s) of interest or expertise.  You, too, may be added to this list by sending a basic letter of interest to the Board of Selectmen requesting an appointment when a vacancy occurs or by filling out The Citizen Volunteer Form found on the last page of the Annual Report: https://www.townofholliston.us/sites/hollistonma/files/uploads/guidelines_bc.pdf

The Board of Selectmen generally likes to meet with individual applicants to discuss their interests.  Either the Board of Selectmen or the appointing Board will provide written notification of an appointment.  When notification is received, contact the Town Clerk to be sworn in and receive your copies of the Open Meeting Law and the Conflict of Interest Law.  Then it’s off to your first meeting.

Boards, Committees and Commissions Appointed by Select Board

(Most, but not limited to):

Affordable Housing Committee (7) (established March 4, 2019); Studies and determines cost-effective ways to expand the affordable housing inventory; provides recommendations to the Board of Selectmen; develops affordable housing opportunities for seniors wanting to downsize and young people

Agricultural Commission (5)            3-year term; Supports, promotes, and enhances Holliston agriculture, trying to increase the economic strength of agricultural businesses through the development of initiatives such as the community garden and the annual Farms Day.

Cable Access Television (5)             no term; Responsible for contract negotiations.

Community Farm Advisory Committee (7) 3 year term; Promotes , encourages and facilitates the farm at 34 Rogers Road.

Community Preservation Committee (4)    3 years; Studies the needs, possibilities, and resources of the Town regarding community preservation; makes recommendations to Town Meeting concerning distribution of funds for community preservation

Conservation Commission (7)         3 years; Administers Wetlands Protection Act (Article XXX of Town By Laws);  manages approximately 1,064 acres of land donated for conservation;  performs some site visits, votes on applications for work; acquires, protects, and maintains open space.

Constables (Bonded)            3 years

Council on Aging  (7)            3 years; Identifies the needs of Holliston citizens age 55 or over; educates and enlists the support and participation of all concerning those needs.

Cultural Council (7)               3 years; Promotes the Arts; provides free Band Concerts during the summer.

Disability Advisory Committee (6)  no term; Makes recommendations to the Select Board to improve access to public buildings and general access around town.

Economic Development Committee (7)    3 years; Promotes, encourages, and facilitates the development of responsible and properly planned commercial and industrial growth

Emergency Management (formerly Civil Defense) (7)   1 year; Seeks to maximize survival of persons and preservation of property in the event of a natural or man-made disaster (under the direction of the Emergency Management Director).

Golf Course Advisory Committee (7)    3 years; Oversees Pinecrest Golf Course; continues to make capital improvements to the course.

Green Street Committee (5) (established April 10, 2019)

Historical Commission (7)    3 years;  Works to preserve, research, study and assist the Town in extending knowledge of our history and remaining historic sites; also administers the Demolition Delay By-law.

Holliston Cable Access TV, INC (3)   3 years;  Manages the Public, Education, and Government access television channels in Holliston. (A private, non-profit 501 3(c) corporation.)

Housing Committee (7)   3 years;  Fulfills the Community Preservation Committee’s mission to enhance and preserve the community’s affordable housing.

Housing Trust Fund Board of Trustees (9); 1 member each from BOS, CPC, Housing Authority, Housing Committee, Planning Board; 4 at-large members

Insurance Advisory Committee (11)   no term;  Makes recommendations to the town for insurance changes.

Keefe Technical School Committee (2)  3 years;  Holliston’s representatives to the Keefe School.

Memorial Day Committee (3)  1 year;  Accountable for parade and all events for Memorial Day ceremonies.

Open Space Committee (7)   3 years;  Facilitates the permanent preservation of additional open space in Holliston, through acquisition or other protection such as a conservation restriction.

Personnel Board (3)  3 years; Administers the provisions of the Consolidated Personnel By-law.

Sustainable Waste & Recycling Committee (7)  3 years;  Coordinates recycling efforts within the Town; makes recommendations to the Select Board.

Taxation Aid Committee (3)  3 years;  Attempts to provide tax relief to elderly and disabled taxpayers by using the Town’s Taxation Fund that is supported through private donations.

Town Forest Committee (3)  3 years;  Attempting to reorganize; seeking new members.

Trails Committee (7)  3 years;  Oversees the design and construction of the trail and pursues various funding opportunities; experience in grant writing, construction oversight, and/or real estate transactions is a plus.

Veterans Honor Roll Committee (7)  no term;  Explores new honor roll monuments for current and future wars.

Youth Advisory Committee (9)  3 years;  Provides a variety of programs and counseling to the community and schools; works toward meeting the mental health needs of the community.

Zoning Board of Appeals (3)   3 years;  MGL (including Ch. 40A and 41) determine functions and powers; appeals to decisions made by ZBA are done through the court system.



We are especially indebted to the Town Clerk’s updates of the Handbook and Procedures (For Elected and Appointed Positions) for the duties and responsibilities of individual boards and committees.   This, as well as the Annual Report and the Town’s By-Laws, and the Handbook may be accessed at the Town Clerk’s office or through the Town’s website: https://www.townofholliston.us/about-us




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