Governance Committee Targets By-Laws Project

The Holliston Governance Committee (GC) met remotely Wednesday evening and made quick work of approving minutes from their August 3 meeting.  Sam Tyler, Chair suggested an initial By-Laws Project to focus their work.

The Committee has been researching and developing individual reports on 15 towns, each identified by population, per capita income, and property wealth as being similar to Holliston.  As this task is broad, Tyler proposed a By-Law project that would focus on establishing “Financial and Fiscal Procedures” for budget development, as Holliston presently has no such By-Law.

Tyler explained, “It would be an important starting issue, as it would allow the GC to meet with Boards and Committees to learn how each produces a budget.  Go back to those reports [of the Budget Development Process in the 15 comparable towns]. Not every one has these, and some are incomplete.  Find the right ones.”   Tyler clarified the 15 towns are “a start,” but Committee members are not limited to these, as other towns’ By-Laws are well-written and may be potential models for this specific By-Law.  Already, Tyler has identified 10-12 other towns with specific financial By-Laws for further examination.  GC Clerk Paul LeBeau added, “Conversation with other towns may be needed to get a sense of how it works for their town.” 

Tyler continued, “This is a worthy first step and would benefit the town to have it [Budget Process] clearly defined.”  The Committee would need legal help from the Town Counsel before its presentation to the Select Board.  From here, the Committee would make a recommendation to the Select Board and then the Town Meeting.  The GC voted unanimously to address the issue of the Budget Development Process for Holliston.

In establishing a timeline, the GC set Monday, August 31, as a meeting date with the Select Board.  Prior to this date, the Committee hopes to have met with the Treasurer, Accountant, Professional Assessor, and Town Administrator.  Town Administrator Travis Ahern will help the GC arrange to meet those involved.  Additionally, they hope to meet with the Finance Committee, and the School Committee. 

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to a series of three Organizational Charts developed by LeBeau to elucidate the present structure and relationships of elected and appointed Boards, Committees, Commissions and Councils, as well as Department Heads/Assistants, and appointed officials.

  • Color-coded Chart 1 (above) displays the Voters at the head, with the following elected positions:  Moderator, Town Clerk, Select Board, Board of Assessors, School Committee, Board of Health, Finance Committee, Planning Board, Park Commission, Housing Authority, and Library Trustees.  Department Heads/Assistants, and appointed Committees, Commissions, Councils and Boards are positioned to illustrate relationships.
  • Chart 2 illustrates the relationships of all bodies and individuals that are the responsibility of the Select Board that include 30+ entities of appointed committees, commissions, councils and trusts with their designated relationships to other department heads/assistants, and appointed officials.
  • Chart 3 shows the entire Town of Holliston:  a complex of elected officials, appointed committees, commissions, councils and boards, department heads/assistants, and appointed officials.

All three charts will soon be available on the Town’s Governance Committee website.

Video of Zoom meetings is available on the GC Website.  Additionally, future meetings will be recorded by HCAT and available within 24 hours. 

Governance Committee Website:

Holliston By-Laws:

Yvette Cain

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