Board of Selectmen

BOARD OF SELECTMEN

In early New England towns, the adult population gathered annually at town meeting as the local legislative body to approve budgets and new laws. Day-to-day operations were left to individual oversight. When towns became too large for individuals to handle, they elected an executive board of “selected men” to run things for the citizenry. Since 1726, Rye has been governed by a Board of Selectmen. Then the Selectmen were Joseph Philbrick, William Locke, Joseph Locke, Richard Goss, John Garland, William Seavey Jr. and Richard Jenness. Now they are Craig Musselman (term expires 2015), Priscilla Jenness (term expires (2016) and Joseph Mills, Jr. (term expires 2014), current Chairman.

Each Selectman is elected by the Town’s voters to three-year terms. The terms are staggered so that not all the terms expire in the same year. “The Selectmen shall manage the prudential affairs of the town and perform the duties by law prescribed. A majority of the selectmen shall be competent in all cases.” RSA 41:8. Their financial duties include keeping a “fair and correct account of all moneys received, all accounts and claims settled and all orders drawn upon them” and publishing an annual report to include the fund balance sheet and recent audited financial statements. RSA 41:9.

Selectmen must establish and maintain internal control procedures and, annually, review and adopt an investment policy. The diverse powers of the selectmen include appointing and compensating municipal prosecutors, regulating use of public highways, sidewalks and commons, managing real property owned by the town (unless that power has been delegated to other public officers by town vote or is governed by other statutes); restricting watering of lawns and acquiring or selling land and/or buildings by prescribed process. They have no authority to sell conservation land, town forest or real estate given, devised or bequeathed to the town for charitable community purposes.

Selectmen set the tax rate. RSA 21-J: 34-37. Through the assessor, selectmen maintain lists of assessments and property taxes resulting. They direct the tax collector to collect taxes. They may abate taxes for good cause in an appeal.

Rye Selectmen meet the second and the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 PM at Town Hall. Residents are welcome. To request placement on a Selectmen’s agenda, contact the Selectmen’s secretary at least 5 days prior to the meeting at (603) 964-5523. The Selectmen’s’ contact information, meeting agenda and minutes are available from the Town of Rye Website (http://www.town.rye.nh.us). The agenda and meeting minutes may be e-mailed directly to you by registering on the Town Website.

The Board of Selectmen hire and are responsible for the following town employees: Town Administrator, Finance Director/Assistant Town Administrator, the Executive Secretary to the Board of Selectman, the Assessor and Assessor’s Clerk. The Deputy Treasurer is hired by the Treasurer but approved by the Selectmen. The Deputy Town Clerk/Tax Collector is hired by Town Clerk/Tax Collector and approved by the Selectmen. The Selectmen also hire the Police Chief, the Fire Chief, the Public Works Director, the Building Inspector, the Planning/Zoning Board Administrator and the Health Officer. The Recreation Department Director is hired by the Recreation Commission with the approval of the Selectmen.

The Selectmen also appoint the members of the following boards, commissions and committees:

Beach Commission Energy Committee
Capital Improvements   Program

 

Committee

Heritage Committee
Conservation Commission Historic District Commission
Mosquito Control   Commission Recreation Commission

 

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