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Public Hearing on Gender Neutral Board Naming (Selectmen)
Tuesday, March 20 @ 8:00 pm
Board of Selectmen Public Hearing
Gender Neutral Board Naming
The Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. at the Needham Town Hall, 1471 Highland Avenue, Needham to gather input from interested parties regarding a proposal to change the name of the Board from “Board of Selectmen” to “Select Board.”
This proposal would bring the only gender-specific-titled public body of the Town into parity with its fellow boards and committees in Needham, as well as with many boards throughout the Commonwealth. Over 30 Massachusetts Towns have made this change in recent years, reflecting the growing recognition that a gendered title for one of the chief elected offices in municipal government is archaic, and potentially discouraging to some who might seek to hold such an office. The Board is mindful of the Town’s long history using the name “Board of Selectmen.” The Board is engaged in conversation as to whether the benefits to be gained from such a change warrant departing from that tradition.
The proposal to change the name of the Board will require a change to the Town Charter. The change would make clear that the Select Board is the entity historically known as the “Board of Selectmen”, and possesses all the duties, authorities, and legal rights and responsibilities of the Town of Needham’s Board of Selectmen. Members of the Select Board may be addressed as “Select Board Member,” or “Board Member,” “Selectwoman,” or “Selectman.”
The Board invites all residents and interested parties to attend and provide input regarding this subject. Written comments may also be submitted to the Board of Selectmen, c/o Needham Town Hall, 1471 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA 02492 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The League of Women Voters is in favor of this change.