TITLE III
TOWNS, CITIES, VILLAGE DISTRICTS, AND UNINCORPORATED PLACES

Chapter 37
TOWN OR VILLAGE DISTRICT MANAGERS

Section 37:1

    37:1 Scope of Chapter. – As used in this chapter, the word "town" shall be construed not to include cities or school districts, but shall include village districts or precincts, and the words "town clerk" shall include clerks of village precincts or districts.

Source. 1929, 69:1. RL 55:1.

Section 37:2

    37:2 Appointment of Manager. – The selectmen of towns adopting the provisions of this chapter, as herein provided, shall forthwith thereafter appoint a town manager who may or may not, when appointed, be a resident of the town or state.

Source. 1929, 69:2. RL 55:2.

Section 37:3

    37:3 Qualifications of Manager and Authority of Selectmen. – The town manager shall be selected with special reference to his education, training, and experience to perform the duties of his office, and without reference to his political belief; and shall in all matters be subject to the direction and supervision, and hold office at the will, of the selectmen who may by a majority vote remove him at any time for cause.

Source. 1929, 69:3. RL 55:3.

Section 37:4

    37:4 Oath and Bond. – Before entering upon the duties of his office, the town manager shall be sworn to the faithful and impartial performance thereof, and a certificate to that effect shall be filed with the town clerk; and he shall execute a bond in favor of the town for the faithful performance of his duties in such sum and with such surety or sureties as may be approved by the selectmen.

Source. 1929, 69:4. RL 55:4.

Section 37:5


See Emergency Order #56 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-56-Emerg. (2020, 2056:1.)), issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-04 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-04 (2020, 1004:1.)) as extended by Executive Orders 2020-05 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-05 (2020, 1005:1.)); 2020-08 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-08 (2020, 1008:1.)); 2020-09 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-09 (2020, 1009:1.)); 2020-010 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-010 (2020, 1010:1.)); 2020-014 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-014 (2020, 1014:1.)); 2020-015 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-015 (2020, 1015:1.)); 2020-016 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-016 (2020, 1016:1.)); 2020-017 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-017 (2020, 1017:1.)); 2020-018 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-018 (2020, 1018:1.)); 2020-020 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-020 (2020, 1020:1.)); 2020-021 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-021 (2020, 1021:1.)); 2020-022 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-022 (2020, 1022:1.)); 2020-023 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-023 (2020, 1023:1.)); 2020-024 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-024 (2020, 1024:1.)); 2020-025 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-025 (2020, 1025:1.)); 2021-01 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-01 (2021, 1001:1.)); 2021-02 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-02 (2021, 1002:1.)), and related to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, for potential impact on the terms of this section.
    37:5 General Authority. – The town manager shall be the administrative head of all departments of the town and be responsible for the efficient administration thereof, except as herein otherwise provided. He shall have general supervision of the property and business affairs of the town and of the expenditure of moneys appropriated by it for town purposes, but his authority shall not extend to warning town meetings, making bylaws, borrowing money, assessing or collecting taxes, except as otherwise provided in RSA 37:16, granting licenses, laying out highways, assessing damages, or any other functions of a judicial character vested by law in the selectmen or other town officers, nor to supervision of the offices of town clerk and town treasurer.

Source. 1929, 69:5. RL 55:5. 1947, 236:1, eff. June 26, 1947.

Section 37:6


See Emergency Order #56 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-56-Emerg. (2020, 2056:1.)), issued pursuant to Executive Order 2020-04 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-04 (2020, 1004:1.)) as extended by Executive Orders 2020-05 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-05 (2020, 1005:1.)); 2020-08 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-08 (2020, 1008:1.)); 2020-09 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-09 (2020, 1009:1.)); 2020-010 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-010 (2020, 1010:1.)); 2020-014 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-014 (2020, 1014:1.)); 2020-015 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-015 (2020, 1015:1.)); 2020-016 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-016 (2020, 1016:1.)); 2020-017 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-017 (2020, 1017:1.)); 2020-018 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-018 (2020, 1018:1.)); 2020-020 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-020 (2020, 1020:1.)); 2020-021 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-021 (2020, 1021:1.)); 2020-022 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-022 (2020, 1022:1.)); 2020-023 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-023 (2020, 1023:1.)); 2020-024 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-024 (2020, 1024:1.)); 2020-025 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2020-025 (2020, 1025:1.)); 2021-01 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-01 (2021, 1001:1.)); 2021-02 (NH LEGIS E.O. 2021-02 (2021, 1002:1.)), and related to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, for potential impact on the terms of this section.
    37:6 Powers and Duties in Particular. –
The town manager shall have the power and it shall be his duty:
I. To organize, continue, or discontinue, from time to time, such departments as the selectmen may from time to time determine.
II. To appoint, upon merit and fitness alone, and to remove, all subordinate officers and employees under his control, and to fix their compensation.
III. To attend such regular or special meetings of the selectmen as they shall require.
IV. To keep full and complete records of the doings of his office, and to render to the selectmen an itemized monthly report in writing, showing in detail the receipts and disbursements for the preceding month; and annually, or oftener at the request of the selectmen, to make a synopsis of all reports for publication.
V. To keep the selectmen fully advised as to the needs of the town, within the scope of his duties, and to furnish them on or before the thirty-first day of January of each year a careful, detailed estimate in writing of the probable expenditures of the town government for the ensuing fiscal year, stating the amount required to meet the interest on maturing bonds and notes or other outstanding indebtedness of the town, and showing specifically the amount necessary to be provided for each fund and department; and to submit at the same time an estimate in writing of the amount of income from all sources of revenue, exclusive of taxes upon property, and of the probable amount required to be levied and raised by taxation to defray all expenses and liabilities of the town. For the purpose of enabling the town manager to make up the annual estimate of expenditures, all boards, officers, and committees of the town shall, upon his written request, furnish all information in their possession and submit to him in writing a detailed estimate of the appropriations required for the efficient and proper conduct of their respective departments during the fiscal year.
VI. To examine or cause to be examined, with or without notice, the affairs of any department under his control, or the conduct of any officer or employee thereof; and for that purpose he shall have access to all town books and papers, for the information necessary for the proper performance of his duties.
VII. To have charge, control, and supervision, subject to the direction of the selectmen and to the bylaws of the town, if any, of the following matters:
(a) The management of municipal water works, lighting, and power systems.
(b) The construction, maintenance, and repairing of all town buildings and of all town roads, highways, sidewalks, and bridges, except as otherwise specially voted by the town.
(c) The purchase of all supplies for the town.
(d) The police and fire departments of the town, if any.
(e) The system of sewers and drainage, if any.
(f) The lighting of streets, highways, and bridges.
(g) The sprinkling of streets and highways, the laying of dust, and the removal of snow.
(h) The maintenance of parks, commons, and playgrounds.
(i) The care of cemeteries when the town has adopted the provisions of RSA 289:6, II.
(j) The letting, making, and performance of all contracts for work done for the town.
In municipalities adopting the provisions hereof, the town manager shall supersede any board of commissioners or other supervisory officer or officers previously established, elected, or appointed to have superintendence of any of the matters specified in the foregoing paragraphs (a) to (j) inclusive; except that he shall not supersede, nor shall adoption of this chapter in any way impair the authority and duties of, fire engineers, the commissioner of transportation and his assistants, or any police commission created by act of the legislature.
VIII. To administer the poor relief of the town, either directly or through a person or persons appointed by him, and under the supervision of the selectmen.
IX. To perform such other duties, consistent with his office, as may be required of him by vote of the selectmen.

Source. 1929, 69:6. RL 55:6. RSA 37:6. 1994, 318:4, eff. Aug. 7, 1994. 2004, 257:33, eff. June 15, 2004.

Section 37:7

    37:7 Approval of Vouchers. – The town manager may approve vouchers for obligations incurred by any department of which he has supervision, and, except during his absence or disability, the selectmen shall not draw orders for the payment of any such obligations without such approval. The selectmen may themselves approve such vouchers, or authorize their approval by some other person, in the event of the absence or disability of the town manager.

Source. 1929, 69:7. RL 55:7.

Section 37:8

    37:8 Vacancy. – Any vacancy in the office of town manager shall be filled as soon as practicable by the selectmen; and pending the appointment of a permanent manager, the selectmen may appoint a person to perform temporarily the duties of that office.

Source. 1929, 69:8. RL 55:8.

Section 37:9

    37:9 Incompatibility of Offices. – The town manager during the time that he or she holds such appointment, may be manager of a district or precinct located wholly or mainly within the same town, and may be elected or appointed to any municipal office in such town or included district or precinct that would be subject to his or her supervision if occupied by another incumbent; but he or she shall hold no other elected or appointed public office of the town except justice of the peace or notary public except as otherwise provided in RSA 37:16. Town managers may be appointed, subject to the approval of the governing body of the town, to regional or state boards, committees, or commissions provided there is no incompatibility with the duties described in this chapter.

Source. 1929, 69:9. RL 55:9. 1947, 236:2, eff. June 26, 1947. 2004, 55:1, eff. July 2, 2004.

Section 37:10

    37:10 Compensation. – The town manager shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by the selectmen, unless otherwise specifically voted by the town.

Source. 1929, 69:10. RL 55:10.

Section 37:11

    37:11 Adoption of Provisions by Town. – The provisions of this chapter shall not become operative in any town unless and until the same are adopted by a majority of the legal voters of the town present and voting at an annual meeting duly warned as hereinafter provided.

Source. 1929, 69:11. RL 55:11.

Section 37:12

    37:12 Warning of Meeting. – The selectmen, upon the written application of 10 or more voters, or 1/6 of the voters in the town, shall insert a proper article in their warning for such meeting, which article shall refer to this chapter.

Source. 1929, 69:12. RL 55:12.

Section 37:13

    37:13 Revocation. – A town that has adopted the provisions hereof may rescind such adoption by majority vote of the legal voters present and voting at a subsequent annual meeting, provided a proper article therefor is inserted in the warrant for such meeting; but no acts done or obligations incurred by the town manager prior to such rescission shall be affected thereby.

Source. 1929, 69:13. RL 55:13.

Section 37:14

    37:14 Adoption of Provisions by Village Districts. – A village district or precinct organized under, or established by special act for any of the purposes set forth in RSA 52:1, may avail itself of the provisions hereof, so far as applicable, if a majority of the voters thereof present and voting at a district or precinct meeting so vote under a proper article in the warrant therefor as above provided. The commissioners of a village district or precinct adopting the provisions of this chapter shall have the same powers in respect to the employment, direction, supervision, and discharge of town managers and the fixing of their bonds and salaries as are herein conferred upon selectmen; provided, however, that no village district or precinct shall avail itself of the provisions hereof unless the town in which such district or precinct, or the major part thereof as shown by its valuation for taxation purposes, is located shall have voted to adopt such provisions; and provided, further, that whenever a village district or precinct shall adopt the provisions of this chapter, it shall appoint as its manager the manager of such town.

Source. 1929, 69:14. RL 55:14.

Section 37:15

    37:15 Ballot Vote on Adoption and Discontinuance. – Whenever an article has been inserted in the warrant for the annual meeting of any town, village district or precinct, calling for consideration of the question of adopting the provisions of this chapter, the following question shall be submitted to the voters at such meeting: "Do you favor adoption of the town manager plan as provided in chapter 37 of the Revised Statutes Annotated?" In towns, village districts or precincts having an official ballot the clerk shall cause this question to be printed on the official ballot and the voting on this question shall be taken up at the opening of the polls and carried on simultaneously with the balloting for town officers. In towns, village districts or precincts which do not have an official ballot the clerk shall cause to be prepared in advance of such meeting a printed ballot containing the above question and in either method the question shall be followed by the words "Yes" and "No" with boxes after each, in which the voter may mark his choice. Such balloting arrangement shall be used at all meetings voting on such question pursuant to RSA 37:11 and 37:14. The polls shall remain open for at least 3 hours at any meeting balloting on such question. In voting on the question of revoking the provisions of this chapter in any town, village district or precinct pursuant to RSA 37:13, the balloting procedure prescribed by this section shall govern, except that the question appearing on the printed ballot shall be as follows: "Do you favor the continuation of the town manager plan as now in force in this town?" If a majority of the voters present and voting in a town, village district or precinct on this question signifies disapproval of this question the town manager plan will be deemed to be revoked therein provided, however, that said revocation shall not be effective until the second Tuesday of April next succeeding the annual meeting at which such action is taken.

Source. 1947, 20:1. 1951, 135:1. RSA 37:15. 1957, 152:1. 1963, 103:1, eff. July 23, 1963.

Section 37:16

    37:16 Acting as Collector of Taxes. – Any town which shall have adopted the provisions of this chapter may at the annual or a special meeting, under a proper article in the warrant, vote to authorize the selectmen to appoint the town manager to also be collector of taxes within and for such town and to fix his compensation therefor. In such case and while such vote is in effect, the town shall not vote to elect a collector of taxes.

Source. 1947, 236:3. 1953, 29:1, eff. March 4, 1953.

Section 37:17

    37:17 Authorization. – Any vote taken under the provisions of RSA 37:16 shall be by ballot. If the town wherein such action is to be taken had adopted an official ballot system, and has previously adopted the provisions of this chapter, the clerk shall add to the ballot the following question: "Shall the powers and duties of the office of collector of taxes be transferred from said office to that of town manager?" The question shall be followed by 2 squares, above which shall appear the word "yes" and the word "no" respectively.

Source. 1949, 158:1, eff. April 26, 1949.