General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 31A Municipal Personnel Systems - Section 5 Submission of proposed ordinance to administrator; rescission of chapter thirty-one provisions; form of ballot

Section 5. At least one hundred and twenty days prior to the vote rescinding the provisions of chapter thirty-one, a city or town shall submit a copy of a proposed ordinance or by-law to the administrator who shall approve, disapprove or propose amendments to said ordinance or by-law on the basis of completeness, consistency and conformity in concept with accepted merit principles. The administrator’s substantive review shall be limited to areas presently subject to civil service law, the general provisions of section five and conformity of the ordinance or by-law with basic merit principles outlined in this chapter. The administrator shall, within ninety days, either approve the proposed ordinance or by-law, propose amendments to the ordinance or by-law, or disapprove such ordinance or by-law if it is not consistent with the general provisions of this chapter.

In the event the administrator does not approve the proposed ordinance or by-law at least sixty days prior to proposed vote of the rescission, the provisions of chapter thirty-one shall remain in effect and such vote of the rescission shall be postponed until the next regular city or town election.

Following adoption, the ordinance or by-law shall be submitted for review to the administrator only in those instances where the said ordinance or by-law shall have been amended by the local legislative body. The criteria for review of any amendment shall be the same as those for initial approval of this ordinance or by-law; and, if the administrator shall fail to act within thirty days of the receipt of the adopted ordinance or by-law, it shall be considered approved.

The personnel administrator shall provide necessary technical assistance to cities and towns choosing to make the transition to a local system.

The question on the rescission of chapter thirty-one and attendant civil service rules and the acceptance of this chapter shall be printed on the official ballot to be used at a regular municipal election, in substantially the following form:


Shall the city or town of ___ rescind the applicability of chapter 31 of the General Laws and accept the applicability of chapter 31A of the General Laws?

If a majority of such voters therein vote in the affirmative, the provisions of chapter thirty-one shall be rescinded and the provisions of this chapter shall be accepted; provided, however, that such rescission and acceptance shall take effect upon the adoption of the ordinance or by-law, approved by the personnel administrator, but not otherwise; and provided, further, that the provisions of section thirty-two of chapter forty shall not apply to any such by-law in a town.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015