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9. Shall the Town vote to approve of a measure proposed by petition on March 31, 2014 in accordance with Chapter 12, Section 3 of the Town Charter, as summarized below?
The measure proposes the filing of a so-called Home Rule Petition with the state legislature for special legislation to amend the Town Charter. If approved by the voters at this election, the proposed legislation would take effect upon enactment by the state legislature. The proposed legislation seeks to reestablish an Open Town Meeting-Board of Selectmen-Town Administrator form of government, as in effect prior to March 2, 1973 under the General Laws, special acts and bylaws of the Town of Southbridge. The legislation would abolish the 9-member Town Council and the position of Town Manage. The legislation provides that the process for calling for and holding an open town meeting would be governed the General Laws, special acts applicable to the Town, and the Town by-laws existing prior to March 2, 1973. The legislation would establish a 5-member Board of Selectmen, with each Selectman serving a a term of 3 years and limited to 2 consecutive terms of service. The Board of Selectmen would have the powers of the Town Council provided for under the current Charter and, further, would appoint all Town officers and employees, subject to the civil service laws or as otherwise may be provided by the General Laws and the Charter (a 15-member Finance Committee would be appointed by the Town Moderator). The legislation would also create the position of Town Administrator, who would serve at the will of the Board of Selectmen and exercise all the powers of the Town Manager as provided for under the current Charter. Any person appointed as the Town Administrator would be required to qualify as a registered voter of the Town within 6 months of the date of appointment.