Jamestown 2001-2002 Charter Review Committee
Final Report for
This is the final report of the 2001-2002 Jamestown Charter Review Committee (JCRC).
It is divided into two parts: Part I – Proposed Amendments, additions and deletions to the present charter; and Part II – Recommendations for future areas of considerations by the Council or future Charter Review Committees.
The JCRC submitted to the town council an Interim Report, December 2001, which outlined the procedures, goals and commitment to diligently review every section of every article. The JCRC listened to the public and considered every request and suggestion presented, then discussed and researched the viability of each. Numerous past and present Town Officials were interviewed. Over thirty charters from other Rhode Island communities were examined. Meetings of the Town’s most active boards, commissions and committees were attended and research into applicable Public Laws and General Laws was conducted.
Throughout Nancy Mason, JCRC’s recording secretary, kept very detailed minutes of each meeting, which have been available to the public in total at all meetings. They have also been posted regularly on the Internet through the help of Dick Allphin. This report, including the recommended Proposed Charter in detail, will be posted on the Internet at JamestownRI.com/meetings under the Charter Review Committee link.
Although the accompanying Proposed Amendments document details each recommended change, a general summary of most changes follows:
Amendment of Charter (New Article)
After review of other charters, the JCRC identified that it would be appropriate to include within the document, Charter Review procedures, based on the General Laws of the State, since Jamestown has appropriately followed them for its two previous reviews in 1984 and 1992.
Under the same area of consideration, the JCRC also learned that many other Town Charters allow for reviews to occur every five or six years, with the option to review at anytime if deemed necessary by the Town Council. Several of the changes we are recommending in this review were a result of bringing the Charter up-to-date with Town activities and ordinances adopted after the 1992 review. Due to the rapid change in State regulations and to keep up with the ever-increasing needs of our community, the JCRC determined that establishing a more frequent Charter Review schedule would be appropriate.
To complete this new Article, a “saving” provision is being recommended, which is used in several other town charters titled, “Separability of Provisions of Charter”, in addition to a section titled, “Form of Ballot and Procedures”, which closely describes how Jamestown has presented its Charter Revisions in the past.
An attempt has been made to fully implement the 1992 Amendment Section 104, making the Charter gender neutral. The Committee has made edits throughout the entire Charter to meet this goal.
To help the reader identify these changes easier, the proposed Gender and Plurality changes have been identified in the attached Proposed Charter document using “gray” colored strikeout text for existing gender language and “green” colored underlined text to indicate new language related to Plurality and Gender Neutral changes.
Another extensive change is the decision to recommend the removal of language related to the initial implementation of the Charter back in 1975, which pertains to activities for the transition to a Charter-based government. In consultation with the Town Solicitor, the JCRC understands that the removal of what has been identified, as Start-up Language, is more a matter of a preferred “style” or “format” and would not affect the legality of the Charter.
The Start-up language tends to add confusion to the reading of the Charter and removal would allow for a more concise and compact presentation. The historical nature of the Original Document and amendments are preserved in Town records and easily obtained by those interested in such.
To help the reader identify the Start-up removal easier, in the attached Proposed Charter document, we have highlighted that language with “yellow” strikeout text.
Another change that may be identified as “style” or “format” is the standardization of language pertaining to “Conflict of Interest”. The recommendation is to have a single Section (Section 105.) with specific language and refer to this section in other areas of the Charter. The new language references State Law and will automatically be in compliance whenever Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics descriptions change.
The issue of Residency Requirements for Town Officials as well as Boards, Commissions and Committees, has received a substantial amount of change and clarification. The JCRC finds that it is appropriate to require residency for those who serve on all Boards, Commissions and Committees and who are, for the most part, volunteers. Due to the rising cost of housing in Jamestown and the desire to employ the best person for the job at affordable wages, the JCRC decided that department heads and other town employees who are currently required to be residents should be able to live off island. This policy is consistent with many other towns that have updated their charters. The Residency Requirement for the Town Administrator has been retained. However, should the need arise, the time allowed to establish residency for a newly appointed Administrator has been specified.
Significant changes have also been made to the position of Finance Director. Several previous Town Officials who met with the JCRC indicated that the Charter was “weak” in Section 419, Finance. After review of other Charters, it was determined that there was common language, which detailed the duties of Finance Director. These duties were reviewed with the Town Administrator/Finance Director, after which Section 419 was extensively expanded.
For clarity, the JCRC is recommending a new Article titled Financial Provisions. While this new Article consists mostly of Sections that came from Article II, a section has been added, addressing the future Fiscal Year change and a section on Proposals for Expenditures at the Financial Town meeting. Both of these new sections are common to several other Town Charters and address requests brought to the JCRC at the Open Forum.
The supply of qualified volunteers to fill positions on town Boards, Commissions and Committees, as well as the problems of managing term expirations and renewals, have led the JCRC to establish this new Article. Review of other towns has revealed that the number of Boards, Commissions and Committees for most towns is the same without regard to population. This makes the job of recruiting volunteers more difficult for towns with smaller populations.
To address this need, the JCRC recommends that the duties of the Personnel Board be expanded to assist the Town with volunteer recruitment (Section 420-3). In addition, the JCRC recommends a size limitation for all boards while allowing for expansion under special needs. Other sections in the new Article address length and limits of terms, expiration dates and the “promulgation” of rules and procedures for all Boards, Commissions and Committees.
New sections have been added for the position of Town Sergeant, the Harbor Commission and for the possibility of a future Municipal Court system. Other amendments are, in general, clarifications to existing sections. To aid the reader in identifying new language in the attached Proposed Charter document, the document highlights and underlines the “new language” text in “blue”. Existing language strikeouts are in “magenta”.
There are four areas not included as amendments because the JCRC felt that they either require language better addressed by the Council and the Town Solicitor, or better served first by an ordinance and perhaps be added to the Charter in later reviews. Each of these “Recommendations” has been approved through votes of the Committee.
In light of the recent events in Lincoln, the committee would like to insert some reference to disqualifications for the Town Council, Administrator and Department Heads, for such things as: violations and convictions of civil or criminal laws; prolonged illness or any other reasons for prolonged absences.
Financial Town Meeting
Since the JCRC was not able to establish clear facts as to benefits of eliminating the Financial Town Meeting, and the discovery would go beyond the committee’s resources, it is recommend that the Council establish a Special Study Committee to address the retention of the annual Financial Town Meeting and alternatives to it. The JCRC believes that the study should include a public opinion survey of Jamestown’s registered voters.
Fire Department Management as Department Head
Due to overall cohesive management concerns, the JCRC believes the town should explore the possible benefits of having a Fire Department manager who would report to the Town Administrator.
The JCRC proposes that there shall be a Water and Sewer Advisory Committee that shall be appointed by the Town Council and shall be qualified electors and residents of the town of Jamestown.
The Water and Sewer Advisory Committee will act in an advisory capacity to the Water and Sewer Commission to ensure optimal performance of the Municipal Water and Sewer Systems and to preserve and protect the water resources of Conanicut Island.
In closing, the Committee would like to extend its gratitude to the citizens of Jamestown for their highly regarded input. The JCRC would also like to give special thanks to the present and past Town officials listed below for giving the JCRC their time and for providing important historical documents, background and thought provoking insights.
The JCRC publicly acknowledges the following people:
Councilwoman Norma Willis, Jane Sprague, Maryanne Crawford, Arlene Kalooski, Sue Brayman, Harrison Wright, David Martin, Richard Allphin, Nancy Kolman Ventrone, Cathy Kaiser, Betsy Gooding, Chief Arthur Christman, Fred Brown, Rob Lambert, Robert Sutton, Fred Clarke, Mark Liberati, Chief Joe Tiexiera (Retired), Ellicott Wright, Mary Miner, Craig Amerigian, Nick Robertson, Rep. William Murphy, William Munger, Fred Pease, Julio DiGiando, Michael Schnack and Dick Hines. The JCRC apologizes if anyone has been missed.
The JCRC would again like to acknowledge the efforts of Town Clerk, Arlene Kalooski and her dedicated staff. They truly are committed to providing quality service to Jamestown’s citizens. The Committee would also like to give special thanks to MaryAlice Lurgio from Chief Tighe’s office for her invaluable assistance throughout these past ten months.
Also, mention must be made about Rena Tyson, the JCRC “Alternate” member. Rena worked as hard as every other member on the Committee. Her willingness to attend meetings in order to assure the Town that the review would be uninterrupted by the absence of a regular voting member, was the true symbol of altruism and dedication to our community. We were honored to have her work with us.
Finally, the members of the committee believe we have fulfilled our charge to the town, and that the Jamestown 2001-2002 Charter Review Committee should be formally dissolved as soon as possible.
For The Committee:
Saverio “Sav” Rebecchi, Chair
Nancy Mason, Secretary
Chief Thomas Tighe
Rena Tyson, Alternate
2002 Revisions Color Key
Text in black is Existing Charter Language.
Text in this color is for
strikeouts of existing
Text in this color is for
strikeouts of Gender
Neutral and Plurality Language.
Text in this color is for NEW Gender Neutral and Plurality Language.
Text in this color is for NEW Charter language.
Text in this color is for
strikeouts of Start-up
Proposed Revisions 2002
*Editor's note-The charter of the town, adopted Nov. 5, 1974, is set out herein as adopted. Amendments are cited in parenthetical notes following amended provisions.
Art. I. Basic Provisions,§§ 101-104
Art. II. The Town Council,§§ 201-225
Art. III. Town Administrator,§§ 301-305
Art. IV. Administrative Departments,§§ 401-422
Art. V. Schools,§§ 501-509
Art. VI. Elections,§§ 601, 602
Art. VII. Planning
Art. VIII. Miscellany,§§ 801-805
Art. IX Removed
Art. X.Boards, Commissions and Committees
Art. XI. Financial Provisions
Art. XII. Amendment of Charter
Art. XIII. Courts
The people of the town of Jamestown, in order to secure the right of self-government in all local matters, pursuant to the provisions of the constitution of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do adopt and establish this charter.
State law references-Home rule powers, Const. Art. XXVIII; general powers, G.L. 1956,§ 45-2-1 et seq.
ARTICLE 1. BASIC PROVISIONS
Sec. 101. Inhabitants incorporated as town with powers and duties of a town.
The inhabitants of the town of Jamestown, within the corporate limits as now established or as hereafter established in the manner provided by law, shall continue to be a municipal body politic and corporate in perpetuity, under the name of "Town of Jamestown," and as such shall continue to have, exercise and enjoy all the rights, immunities, powers, privileges and franchises, and shall be subject to all the duties and obligations, now incumbent upon or appertaining to said town as a municipal corporation, or by virtue of the laws of this state so far as the same shall not be altered by this charter or amendments hereof. The enumeration of particular powers by this charter shall not be deemed to be exclusive; and in addition to the powers enumerated therein or implied thereby, or appropriate to the exercise of such powers, it is intended that the town shall have and may exercise all powers which, under the constitution of this state, it would be competent for this charter specifically to enumerate.
Sec. 102. Intergovernmental agreements.
The town may enter into contracts, cooperative or reciprocal agreements with the federal government, with the state, or with any political subdivision or agency thereof, for the performance of any service, the use of any facilities, for the combination of services and/or functions, and for the financing thereof.
Sec. 103. Form of government.
Pursuant to the provisions of this charter and subject only to the limitations imposed by the state constitution and by this charter, all powers of the town shall be vested in an elected town council, which shall enact local legislation, and in a town administrator appointed by the town council in the manner provided below, who shall be responsible to the town council for the execution of the laws and the administration of the town government.
Sec. 104. Gender and plurality references.
All additions and amendments to this Charter shall be in gender neutral and possessive neutral language.
Whenever necessary or appropriate when used in this ordinance, any word in one gender shall be deemed to include the other gender and the use of either the singular or plural shall be deemed to include the other
(Amend. of 11-3-92,§ I)
Sec.105 Conflict of Interest and Ethics.
All elected and appointed officials and employees of the Town of Jamestown, as the same are defined in State Law, shall be subject to and comply with the Code of Ethics legislation of the State as set forth in Title 36, Chapter 14 of the Rhode Island General Laws, and the regulations, rules and opinions promulgated by the Rhode Island Ethics Commission, as the same may be amended from time to time.
ARTICLE II. THE TOWN COUNCIL
Sec. 201. Number, selection, term.
The town council shall consist of five (5) members elected from the town at large, each to serve for a term of two (2) years or until
Sec. 202. Qualifications and eligibility.
Members of the town council shall be qualified electors and residents of the town of Jamestown and shall hold no other public office or employment in the service of the town. No member of the town council shall be eligible to accept any other local town office
Sec. 203. Compensation.
The president of the town council and the members shall receive such annual compensation, as the financial town meeting shall appropriate.
Sec. 204. Council President.
The town council shall elect one of its members as its president at its first meeting as defined in section 205, or at its first meeting following the occurrence of a vacancy.
Sec. 205. Meetings.
The first meeting of a newly elected town council shall be held on the first Monday following the certification of election of a majority of its members by the canvassing authority. The town clerk shall preside until the selection of a town council president. The town council shall determine the time and place of its regular meetings, but it must meet at least once each month. Three (3) members of the town council shall constitute a quorum.
Sec. 206. Special meetings.
The president or a majority of the town council may call a special meeting, but only by unanimous consent may the town council meet sooner than forty-eight (48) hours after each member has been notified of a special meeting. Any member may waive the requirement of notice of a special meeting, and such waiver shall be entered in the record of the proceedings of such special meeting.
Sec. 207. Proceedings.
The town council shall adoptand promulgate rules and regulations regarding the conduct of its meetings, but all votes shall be public. The town council may meet in executive session in accordance with Rhode Island General Laws Title 42, Chapter 46 (Open Meetings).
(Amend. of 11-3-92,§ II)
Sec. 208. General powers and duties.
All powers of the town shall be vested in the town council except as otherwise provided by this charter or by the constitution and laws of the state. The town council shall provide for the exercise thereof and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the town by law.
Sec. 209. Conflict of Interest.
Refer to Sec.105 Conflict of Interest and Ethics
No member of the town council shall vote on any matter which will, directly or indirectly, bring personal benefit to the member.
Sec. 210. Interference with administration.
Except for the purpose of inquiries and/or investigations under section 211, the town council or its members shall not direct, either publicly or privately to
Sec. 211. Investigations.
The town council may make investigations into the affairs of the town and the conduct of any town department, office or agency and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence.
Sec. 212. Vacancies.
Vacancies shall be said to exist when any member ceases to meet the qualifications established in section 202. If such a vacancy occurs in the membership of the town council, the remaining members of the town council shall appoint the next highest vote getter to fill the vacancy until the next regularly scheduled biennial election.
(Amend. of 11-3-92,§ III)
Sec. 213. Judge of qualifications.
The town council shall be the judge of the qualifications of its members and for that purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and require the production of evidence.
Sec. 214. Ordinances.
The town council shall have the power to enact, amend or repeal ordinances for the preservation of the public peace, health, safety, comfort and welfare, and for the protection of persons and property; to provide reasonable penalties for the violation of any ordinance; and to exercise all additional powers, consistent and in accordance with the charter and the laws and constitution of the state, which have been or may hereafter be granted to the town council by the charter or to the town by the laws and constitution of the state.
State law reference - Ordinances, G.L. 1956,§ 45-6-1 et seq.
Sec. 215. Form of ordinance.
Every proposed ordinance shall be introduced in writing and in the form required for final adoption. No ordinance shall contain more than one subject which shall be clearly expressed in its title. The enacting clause shall be "The Town of Jamestown hereby ordains..." Any ordinance which repeals or amends an existing ordinance or part of the town code shall set out in full the ordinance, sections or subsections to be repealed or amended, and shall indicate matter to be omitted by enclosing it in brackets or by strike-out type and shall indicate new matter by underscoring or by italics.
Sec. 216. Procedure for adopting ordinance.
An ordinance or amendment to (an] existing ordinance may be introduced by any member at any regular or special meeting of the town council. Upon introduction of any ordinance or amendment to an existing ordinance, the town clerk shall distribute a copy to each town council member and to the town administrator; shall file a reasonable number of copies in the office of the town clerk and shall publish the ordinance. Following the publication by at least seven (7) days, the town council may adopt the ordinance with or without amendment or reject it, but if it is amended as to any matter of substance, the town council may not adopt it until the ordinance or its amended sections have been subjected to all the procedures hereinbefore required in the case of a newly introduced ordinance. As soon as practicable after adoption of any ordinance, the town clerk shall have sufficient printed copies of the ordinance available at the town hall.
As used in this section, the term "publish" means to print in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the town: (1) the complete ordinance and (2) the places where copies of it have been filed and the times when they are available for public inspection.
Sec. 217. Emergency ordinances.
To meet a public exigency affecting life, health, property or the public peace, the town council may adopt one or more emergency ordinances but such ordinances may not levy taxes, grant, renew or extend a franchise, regulate the rate charged by any public utility for its services or authorize the borrowing of money. An emergency ordinance shall be introduced in the form and manner prescribed for ordinances generally, except that it shall be plainly designated as an emergency ordinance and shall contain, after the enacting clause, a declaration stating that an emergency exists and describing it in clear and specific terms. An emergency ordinance may be adopted with or without amendment or rejected at the meeting at which it is introduced, but the affirmative vote of at least four (4) members shall be required for adoption. After its adoption, printed copies of the ordinance shall be made available at the town hall. It shall become effective upon adoption or at such later time as it may specify. Every emergency ordinance shall automatically stand repealed as of the sixty-first day following the date on which it was adopted, but this shall not prevent re-enactment of the ordinance in the manner specified in this section if the emergency still exists. An emergency ordinance may also be repealed by adoption of a repealing ordinance in the same manner specified in this section for adoption of emergency ordinances.
Sec. 218. Initiative and referendum.
In order to preserve direct participation in government to the voters of Jamestown, there are hereby established procedures whereby they may initiate legislative proposals for consideration by the town council and the voters.
Sec. 219. Initiative procedure.
Any proposed ordinance may be submitted to the town council by a petition signed by qualified electors of the town equal in number to at least ten (10) per cent of the number of persons registered to vote at the time of the last regular town election. Whenever the town council receives a certified initiative petition from the town clerk, it shall proceed at once to consider the proposed ordinance transmitted therewith, and shall take a final vote on the enactment of same no more than thirty (30) days following receipt of the petition from the town clerk. If the town council shall fail to pass an ordinance thus proposed by initiative petition, or shall pass it in altered form, the said ordinance as originally proposed by the petitioners shall be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection, no less than thirty (30) days nor more than one year from the date the town council takes its final vote thereon. The town council may, and if no regular election is to be held within such period shall, provide for a special election.
Sec. 220. Referendum procedure.
The town council may provide in the terms of any ordinance it enacts that the same be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection. In the event it makes such provision, the vote thereon by the electors shall be called in accordance with the provisions set forth for voting upon initiative proposals in section 219. Pending the decision of the voters, the ordinance in question shall remain inoperative.
Sec. 221. Codification and revision of ordinances.
The town council,
(Amend. of 11-3-92,§ IV)
Sec. 222. Proposed budget. Moved to Article XI. Financial Provisions
Sec. 223. Recommended budget.Moved to Article XI. Financial Provisions
Sec. 224. Capital budget program. Moved to Article XI. Financial
Sec. 225. Public notice. Moved to Article XI. Financial Provisions
ARTICLE III. TOWN ADMINISTRATOR
Sec. 301. Appointment and qualifications.
The town council shall appoint a town administrator, based solely upon the executive and administrative qualifications of the applicant, for an indefinite term.
Sec. 302. Removal.
The town administrator at any time may be removed by a majority vote of all the members of the town council according to the following procedure. At least thirty (30) days before such removal shall become effective, the town council shall by a majority vote of all its members adopt a preliminary resolution stating the reasons for
Sec. 303. Absence.
The town administrator with town council approval may designate by letter filed with the town clerk a qualified administrative officer to perform
Sec. 304. Vacancy.
Whenever the office of town administrator shall be declared vacant by the town council, an interim town administrator shall be elected by a majority vote of the town council.
Sec. 305. Powers and duties of the town administrator.
The town administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the town
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § VII)
ARTICLE IV. ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENTS
Sec. 401. Creation of departments.
The town council may establish town departments, offices or agencies in addition to those created by this charter and may prescribe the functions of all departments, offices and agencies, except that no function assigned by this charter to a particular department, office or agency may be discontinued or, unless this charter specifically so provides, assigned to any other.
Sec. 402. Direction by administrator.
All departments, offices and agencies under the direction and supervision of the town administrator shall be administered by an officer appointed by and subject to the direction and supervision of the town administrator. With theannual consent of the town council, the town administrator may serve as the head of one or more such departments, offices or agencies or may appoint one person as the head of two (2) or more of them.
Sec. 403. Town clerk.
There shall be a town clerk, who shall be nominated by the town administrator with the approval of the town council and shall have those powers and perform those duties prescribed now or in the future by the constitution and laws of the state not inconsistent with this charter, and such additional powers and duties as may be assigned to the town clerk by the town administrator, consistent with the duties of the office; the only exception to this provision shall be those tasks requested of the town clerk in
(Amend. of 11-3-92,§ VII, VIII)
State law reference - Town clerk, G.L. 1956, § 46-7-1 et seq.
Sec. 404. Tax assessor. There shall be a tax assessor who shall be nominated by the town administrator with the approval of the town council, and shall have those powers and perform those duties prescribed now or in the future by town ordinance, the constitution and laws of the state not inconsistent with this charter.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § VII)
State law reference - Assessment of local taxes, G.L. 1956, § 44-5-1 et seq.
Sec. 405. Board of assessment review. There shall be a board of assessment review consisting of three (3) membersand one alternate member who shall sit only when any one of the three members is unavailable. All members
Sec. 406. Town moderator.
There shall be a town moderator, who shall be elected at the regular town election and shall have those powers and perform those duties prescribed now or in the future by the constitution and laws of the state not inconsistent with this charter.
State law reference - Town moderator, G.L. 1956, § 45-3-15 et seq.
Sec. 407.Emergency Management Director
There shall be an Emergency Management Director
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § VII)
State law reference-Local disaster preparedness, G.L. 1956 § 30-15-12.
Sec. 408. Minimum housing inspector. There shall be a minimum housing inspector as provided by statute who shall exercise those powers and duties provided by statute.
State law reference - As to minimum housing standards. see G.L. 1956, § 45-24.2-1 et seq.
Sec. 409. Building official.
There shall be a building official
who shall be a qualified elector and resident of the town and who shall be nominated by the town administrator with the approval of the town council and shall be responsible for the supervision and enforcement of ordinances relating to buildings, zoning, trailer parks and other matters assigned to him the building official pursuant to law. The building official may also serve as the minimum housing inspector. In the absence of a Town Engineer, the building official shall be responsible for the custody and proper maintenance of engineering records including surveys, plans, maps and the like, pertaining to town property and projects.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, §§ VII, IX, X)
State law reference - Local building official, G.L. 1956, § 23-27.2-8 et seq.
Sec. 410. Town engineer.
There may be a town engineer nominated by the town administrator with the approval of the town council.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § VII)
Sec. 411. Town solicitor.
There shall be a town solicitor who shall be appointed by the town council to serve at the pleasure of the town council. The town solicitor shall be an attorney at law in good standing who has been admitted to the practice of law in this state. The town solicitor shall be the legal advisor of and attorney and counsel for the town and all boards, commissions, departments and officers thereof. The town council may retain or authorize the retention of special counsel for the town or for any board, commission, department or officer for extra or unusual services. Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to prohibit the school committee from retaining independent counsel. 412.
Sec. 412.Moved to Article XIII. Courts
Sec. 413.Moved to Article XIII. Courts
Sec. 414.Moved to Article XIII. Courts
Sec. 415. Public works.
There shall be a department of public works, the head of which shall be the director of public works, who shall be nominated by the town administrator with the approval of the town council.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § VII)
Sec. 416. Parks and recreation.
There shall be a department of parks and recreation and it shall be responsible for the proper management of recreation facilities in the town. The department shall be headed by a director
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § VII) State law reference - Parks and recreation, beaches, G.L. 1956, §§ 23-22-1 et seq., 32-3-1 et seq.
Sec. 417. Police.
There shall be a police department, the head of which shall be the chief of police, who shall be a police officer with at leastfive (5)
State law reference - Standards and training, G.L. 1956, § 42-28.2-1 et seq.
Sec. 418. Fire.
There shall be a Jamestown volunteer fire department the organization of which shall be consistent with its current operating charter of incorporation and the fire department ordinance established by the town council.
(1) Budget. The fire department shall submit budget estimates in the same manner as other departments. The fire department shall operate under the same budget constraints as every other department.
(2) Annual report. The volunteer fire department shall make a written annual report to the town council of the condition of all fire stations, fire apparatus, fire alarm systems and of all matters and property relating. thereto and such other matters as the town council may request.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § XII)
State law reference - Appropriations for payments to fire companies, G.L. 1956, § 46-18-1.
Sec. 419. Finance.
There shall be a department of finance headed by a finance director. The finance director shall be nominated by the town administrator with the approval of the town council.
The finance director shall act as town treasurer, town tax collector and town purchasing agent and shall exercise those powers and perform those duties prescribed for these offices now or in the future by the constitution and laws of the State not inconsistent with this charter.
Sec. 420. Personnel.
There shall be a personnel board
The Duties of the Personnel Board shall include the following:
3) To assist Town officials with the recruitment of
volunteers for boards, commissions and committees.
4) To hear grievances and may render advisory opinions based on its findings to the Town Administrator with a copy to the aggrieved employee.
5) To submit its recommendations to the town administrator who shall forth-with submit the recommendations of the personnel board, together with the Town Administrator’s comments and recommendations, to the town council.
(1) Duties. It shall be the duty of the personnel board, within one year of its appointment, to make recommendations concerning:
(a) The classification of all town positions, based on the duties, authority and responsibility of each position, with adequate provision for reclassification of any position whenever warranted by change of circumstances.
(b) A pay plan for all town positions.
(c) Methods for determining the merit and fitness of candidates for appointment or promotion.
(d) The policies and procedures regulating reduction in force and removal of employees.
(e) The hours of work attendance regulations and provisions for sick and vacation leave.
(f) The policies and procedures governing persons holding provisional appointments.
(g) The policies and procedures governing relationships with employee organizations.
(h) Policies regarding in-service training programs.
(i) Grievance procedures, including procedure for the hearing of grievances by the personnel board, which may render advisory opinions based on its findings to the town administrator with a copy to the aggrieved employee.
(j) Other practices and procedures necessary to the administration of the town personnel system.
(2) Recommendations. The personnel board shall submit its recommendations to the town administrator who shall forth-with submit the recommendations of the personnel board, together with his the Town Administrator’s comments and recommendations, to the town council.
(3) Action by town council. Upon receipt of the said report, the town council shall forthwith follow the procedure of adopting ordinances as set forth in Article II, section 216.
(4)(3) Positions excepted from classified service. There shall be excepted from the classified service of the town:
(a) All officials elected by the voters of the town, and all persons appointed to fill vacancies in such elective positions;
(b) Heads of departments, offices and agencies appointed by the town administrator;
(c) Employees of the school department;
(d) Persons engaged by contract to perform special services for the town;
(e) Persons temporarily appointed or designated to make or conduct, a special inquiry, investigation or examination, or to perform a special service;
(f) Such temporary seasonal workers paid on an hourly basis as the personnel board may determine;
(g) Persons who in times of public emergency may be appointed special employees;
(h) All members of boards, commissions and committees.
The town council may grant further powers and duties to the personnel board.
Sec. 421. Town planner.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § XIII)
Sec. 422. Library trustees.
There shall be a board of trustees of the Jamestown Philomenian Library, the governance and powers of which shall be in accordance with Rhode Island General Laws Title 29, Chapter 4 (Free Public Libraries).
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § XIV)
Sec. 423 Town Sergeant.
The Town Council shall appoint a qualified elector and resident of the Town as Town Sergeant. The Town Sergeant shall perform all of the duties and have all of the powers and authority of a Town Sergeant as provided by the laws of this State, and as may be provided by the Town Council by ordinance. The Town Council may revoke the appointment of the Town Sergeant at any time.
ARTICLE V. SCHOOLS
Sec. 501. School committee membership.
There shall be a school committee of five (5) members, each of whom shall be elected at large from the town by the electors of the town of Jamestown at the regular town election to serve for a term of four (4) years and until the successor is elected and qualified.
State law reference - School committees and superintendents, G.L. 1956, § 16-2-1 et seq.
Sec. 502. Qualifications.
School committee members shall be qualified electors and residents of the town of Jamestown and shall hold no other paid office, or employment in the service of said town, except that of notary public, justice of the peace, town constable, volunteer
Sec. 503. Vacancies.
Any vacancy in the membership of the school committee shall be filled by the town council by the next highest vote getter from the most recent election and so on until someone fills the vacancy until the next regular town election, when the office shall be filled for the unexpired term thereof.Should none of the vote getters be willing to serve then the Council shall appoint a member, pursuant to the laws of the State of Rhode Island.
(Amend. of 11-3-92,§ XV)
Sec. 504. Conflict of interest.
Refer to Section 105 Conflict of Interest and Ethics.
No member of the school committee shall vote . on any proposition through which the member, directly or indirectly, could personally benefit.
Sec. 505. Organization.
The school committee shall determine its own rules and order of business and the time of its meetings consistent with Rhode Island General Laws Title 42, Chapter 46 (Open Meetings).
(Amend. Of 11-3-92§ II)
Sec 506. Powers and duties.
The school committee, in addition to its other powers and duties, shall have the power to inquire into the conduct of any office, department or activity of the public schools and make investigations as to school affairs. It shall prepare a complete report of its finances and activities at the close of the fiscal year. Such reports shall be included, as a separate section, in the annual town report.
Sec. 507. Appointments and removals.
The appointment and removal of all school employees shall be made by the school committee upon recommendation of the superintendent of schools, except as may otherwise be provided by law. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the school committee and its members shall deal with the administration of the public schools solely through the superintendent of schools and neither the school committee nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinates of the superintendent of schools, either publicly or privately.
Se . 508. Budget.
The school committee shall submit line item budget estimates in the same manner as other departments, but the budget estimates and appropriations shall be considered by the town administrator and town council in total only. The allocation of the amounts appropriated shall be determined by the school committee.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § XVI)
Sec. 509. Buildings and grounds.
The department of public works, at the request of the school committee and with the approval of the town administrator may maintain and care for school buildings and grounds, provided that the costs are charged against the appropriations for the public schools.
ARTICLE VI. ELECTIONS
Sec. 601. Election laws and conditions of elections.
The provisions of the constitution and the general laws of the State of Rhode Island now or hereafter in effect pertaining to elections, special, general and primary, and also all special acts pertaining to elections in the town of Jamestown now or hereafter in effect shall govern all town elections, special, general and primary, so far as they may be applicable, excepting those provisions which are inconsistent with the provisions of this charter affecting the form of government.
State law reference-Elections, G.L. 1956, §§ 17-1-1 et seq., 45-4-1 et seq.
Sec. 602. Canvassing authority.
There shall be a bi-partisan canvassing authority appointed by the town council as provided by the constitution and laws of the state. Said canvassing authority shall be vested with all the powers and duties now or hereafter vested by law in the canvassing authority or board of registration of the town.
State law reference-Local canvassing authorities, G.L. 1956, § 17-8-1 et seq.
ARTICLE VII. PLANNING,
*State law reference - Planning and zoning, G.L. 1956, § 45-22-1 et seq.
Sec. 701. Planning commission.
There shall be a planning commission which shall act in an advisory capacity to the administrator and the town council in all matters concerning the physical growth and development of the town as such growth and development affects the general health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the town.
Sec. 702. Appointment
The planning commission shall
Sec. 703. Qualifications.
Members of the Planning commission shall be qualified electors and residents of the town of Jamestown.No member of the planning commission shall be an elected or appointed official of the town.
Sec. 704. Powers and duties.
The planning commission shall have such powers and perform such duties as are granted or assigned to it by the general laws of the state and federal government, and ordinances of the town council. Without limiting the foregoing, the planning commission shall be responsible for:
(1) The preparation of, or extension of, a comprehensive community plan for the improvement and physical development of the town.
, to be known as the master plan and amendments and additions thereto.
(2) The adoption, modification, and amendment of rules and regulations governing the platting and other subdivision of land.
(3) The approval of all plats or other subdivisions of land before the same may be recorded in the land evidence records of the town or used as the basis for the sale of lots.
(4) Filing with the Town Council
appropriate agencies, annually, a report of its activities and accomplishments.
The town council may prescribe other duties and responsibilities of the planning commission in the areas of growth, development, preservation and land use in the town of Jamestown.
Sec. 705. Zoning board of review.
There shall be a zoning board of review which shall have all the powers and duties now vested by law in zoning boards of review under the laws of the state and ordinances of the town of Jamestown relating to zoning.
Sec. 706. Appointment and tenure.
The zoning board of review shall consist of five (5) members appointed by the town council each to hold office for a term of five (5) years. In addition there shall be three (3) alternates appointed by the town council each to hold office for a term of one (1) year. The alternate members shall sit as voting members according to the procedure dictated by state law.
The members of the zoning board in office when this charter shall take effect shall continue in office until their terms shall expire. All new appointments shall be for the term of five (5) years. The town counsel shall name a sixth, or auxiliary, member of said zoning board, who shall sit as an active member when and if a member of said board is unable to serve at any hearing, upon request of the chairman of said board.
State law reference-Additional
Sec. 707. Vacancy.
The town council shall, within forty-five (45) days, fill any vacancy, which may occur in the membership of said zoning board, for the un-expired term.
Sec. 708. Qualifications.
All members shall be qualified electors and residents of the town of Jamestown.No member of the zoning board of review shall be an elected or appointed official, or an employee of the town, or of any department, office or agency of the town.
Sec . 709. Conflict of interest.
Refer to Section 105 Conflict of Interest and Ethics.
No member of the zoning or planning boards shall vote on any proposition through which the member, directly or indirectly, could personally benefit.
Sec. 710. Other.
The town council may grant further powers and duties to the zoning board of review, including but not limited to, the duties of a platting board of review.
Sec. 711. Harbor Management Commission
There shall be a Harbor Management Commission with such duties and responsibilities as defined by the Town Council.
ARTICLE VIII. MISCELLANY
Sec. 801. Dual office holding.
No person shall be eligible to hold any paid office or employment in the town government who is a member of the general assembly, or who holds any other paid local civil office, except that of notary public, justice of the peace, member of the national guard or military reserve, or employment by any of the educational institutions maintained by the state, unless otherwise provided for in this charter.
Sec. 802. Public records.
All records and accounts of every department and agency of the town of Jamestown shall be deemed to be public records and shall be open to inspection by any citizen of the state without giving any reason therefore, at all reasonable times and under reasonable regulations established by the town council, and / or school committee, except those records and documents the disclosure of which, in the opinion of the town council or school committee would tend to defeat the lawful purpose which they are intended to accomplish, and except such records as are required by the laws of the state to be kept confidential. In all instances, disclosure of or denial of access to records will be in accordance with Rhode Island General Laws Title 42, Chapter 46 (Open Meetings) and Title 38 (Public Records).
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § XVII)
Sec. 803. Annual audit.Moved to Article XI. Financial Provisions
Sec. 804. Conflict of interest.
Refer to Section 105 Conflict of Interest and Ethics.
No official of the town, elected or appointed, shall utilize his position to forward, directly or indirectly, his personal benefit. In case of personal interest in the proposition before him as a town official, he shall notify in writing the town administrator of the fact and nature of this personal interest.State law reference - Conflict of interest law, G.L. 1956, § 36-14-1 et seq.
Sec. 805.Elected officials.
If any elected officer of the town shall cease to be a legal resident thereof, the office held by said officer shall then become vacant.
For the purposes of this charter, volunteer
ARTICLE IX. INAUGURATION AND SUCCESSION
Sec. 901. Effective date.
All of the provisions of this charter which do not require validation by the general assembly shall become effective on the first Monday in January, 1975, following the certification by the board of canvassers of the adoption of this charter by the qualified electors of the town of Jamestown. All officers, including the town administrator, town officers, and heads of departments and agencies, shall be appointed and qualified pursuant to the provisions of this charter as promptly as possible. Those portions requiring validation by the general assembly shall become effective immediately after general assembly approval. Upon the validation of the election procedures by the general assembly, the first election of a town council and school committee pursuant to the provisions of this charter shall be held on the first Wednesday in May, 1975.
Sec. 902. Transfer of appropriations.
The town council shall have authority to make any changes or transfers in appropriations existing when this charter takes effect which may be required for the operation of the town government under the provisions of this charter.
Sec. 903. Ordinances to implement charter.
The town council shall proceed to enact or adopt as promptly as possible all ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations which may be necessary to implement the provisions of this charter.
Sec. 904. Continuation of laws.
The laws of the state in their application shall continue in effect except insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this charter or any legally adopted ordinance of the town.
Sec. 905. Continuation of ordinances.
All ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations of the town in
force at the time when this charter takes effect, not inconsistent with this charter, shall continue in force until amended or repealed.
Sec. 906. Continuation of tax obligation.
All taxes levied or assessed by the town prior to the effective date of this charter, which have not been collected by the town shall be collected with any interest and penalties thereon, by the town government hereby established in accordance with law.
Sec. 907. Continuation of licenses.
All licenses and permits issued by the town, or any agency thereof, prior to the effective date of this charter, shall continue in full force and effect until the termination date thereof, unless suspended or revoked for cause.
Sec. 908. Existing contracts.
All contracts, leases, franchises and other obligations, entered into by the town, or for its benefit, prior to the effective date of this charter, shall continue in force and effect.
Sec. 909. Pending actions and proceedings.
No action or proceedings, civil or criminal, in law or in equity, pending at the time when this charter shall take effect, brought by or against the town, or any office, department or agency, or officer thereof, shall be affected or abated by the adoption of this charter or by anything in this charter contained.
Sec. 910. Continuation or agencies.
All commissions, boards, departments, or officers, whether elective or appointive, shall continue in the performance of their powers, duties and functions until successors have been elected or appointed as provided by this charter to perform their respective powers, duties and functions.
Sec. 911. Agencies abolished.
All departments and agencies of the town whose functions have been transferred to other departments and agencies created by this charter are hereby abolished, subject to the provisions of section 910.
Sec. 912. Continuation of present personnel.
All persons employed in the service of the town at the effective date of this charter, shall continue in such employment until promoted, demoted or removed in accordance with the provisions of this charter.
Sec. 913. Transfer of records and property.
All records, property and equipment of any office, department or agency, the powers and duties of which are assigned by or in accordance with this charter to another office, department or agency shall be transferred and delivered to the office, department or agency to which such powers and duties are so assigned. In the event of disagreement over the transfer of same, the town administrator shall make the final decision.
Sec. 915. Town council temporary duties.
Following the adoption of this charter, the town council shall appoint a town administrator as soon as possible, and for this specific interim period the town council shall have and exercise the powers and duties which are vested in the town administrator by this charter.
Article X: Boards, Commissions and Committees
Section 1001. Qualifications and Duties
(a)All members of Boards, Commissions and Committees shall be qualified electors and residents of the town.
(b)It shall be the responsibility of the Town Council to develop and promulgate rules and procedures for all Boards, Commissions and Committees and to ensure their compliance with State Open Meeting Laws (Title 42, Chapter 46) and Public Records (Title 38).
Section 1002. Membership and Terms
(1) All Town Boards, Commissions and Committees shall not exceed seven (7) voting members, except during revisions of ordinances as described in Sec. 221 of this Charter.
(2) Terms of Board, Commission and Committee members that are scheduled to expire during any year shall expire in the months of December or May.
(3) Unless otherwise mandated by State Law or regulations, all terms of Board, Commission and Committee membership shall be limited to three (3) years. With the exception of the Zoning Board of Review alternate members, no person shall serve more than three (3)consecutive terms on the same committee.
(4) The Chair of any Board, Commission or Committee shall be responsible for conducting and managing meetings and shall have neither fewer nor greater powers or authorities than any other member, unless specified by ordinance.
(5) All persons appointed shall be subject to removal for good cause as determined by the Council.
Section 1003. Conflict of Interest and Ethics
All boards and committees shall follow the guidelines for Conflict of Interest and Ethics as defined in Section 105
of this Charter.
Article XI. Financial Provisions
The town administrator shall submit to the town council, not later than ninety (90) days preceding the date of the financial town meeting, a proposed budget of receipts and expenditures and an explanatory budget message. For such purpose, the town administrator shall obtain from the head of each office, department and agency estimates of its revenues and expenditures and such supporting data as
he the Town Administrator may request. In preparing the proposed budget, the town administrator shall review the estimates and may revise them. as he may deem advisable. The proposed budget as prepared by the town administrator shall show the original departmental budgets as submitted by the department heads together with revisions made by the town administrator of all anticipated revenue and all proposed expenditures and the total of proposed expenditures shall not be greater than the total of anticipated revenues.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § V)
223. Recommended budget.
The town council may revise the budget as submitted by the town administrator and shall adopt a recommended budget for presentation to the financial town meeting not later than thirty (30) days preceding its date. If the town council shall recommend an increase in the total of expenditures as proposed by the town administrator, it also shall provide for increasing the total anticipated revenues and shall indicate the revenues and expenditures. No revenue from any source other than the tax levy shall be included in the budget as recommended by the town council unless the facts clearly warrant the expectation that such amount actually will be realized in cash during the budget year.
224. Capital budget program.
The town administrator shall prepare and submit to the town council a
five (5) ten (10) year capital program at least ninety (90) days prior to the final date for submission of the budget. The capital program shall include:
(1) A clear general summary of its contents;
(2) A list of all capital improvements which are proposed to be undertaken during the
five (5) ten (10)fiscal years next ensuing, with appropriate supporting information as to the necessity for such improvements;
(3) Cost estimates, method of financing and recommended time schedules for each such improvement; and
(4) The estimated annual cost of operating and maintaining the facilities to be constructed or acquired.
(5) Such other building and equipment maintenance replacement schedules as directed by the town council
The recommended budget (section 223) and capital budget as provided in section 224 shall be printed and available to the public at least fourteen (14) days preceding the annual financial town meeting.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § VI)
803. Annual audit.
Within three (3) months after the beginning of each fiscal year, the Town Council shall arrange for an annual independent audit of the books, accounts and other evidences of financial transactions of the town of Jamestown, as of the close of the preceding fiscal year, to be conducted either by state auditors or by a certified public accountant holding a certificate from this state and having no personal interest therein. Such examinations shall conform with generally accepted auditing standards. A copy of the audit report shall be filed with the Town Clerk and shall be a public record.
State law reference - Audit of accounts, G.L. 1956, § 46-10-1 et seq.
Sec. 1106. Proposal for Expenditures Outside of Budget.
No motion which increases or reduces an appropriation recommended by the Town Council by $10,000 or more, shall be in order at the Financial Town Meeting unless notice of intention to include such motion has been presented to the Town Clerk at least twenty (20) days prior to the date set for the meeting at which such motion is to be considered. The warrant of the Financial Town Meeting shall include notice of any such motion.
Article XII: Amendment of Charter(RI Constitution Article XIII, Sec. 8.)
Sec. 1201. Charter Revision Committee
The Town Council shall appoint a Charter Review Committee to review this Charter whenever it is deemed necessary but not longer than six years from the previous review. Said Review Committee shall within nine months of its appointment submit to the Town Council a report with its recommendations for amendments, additions or deletions.
Sec. 1202. Separability of Provisions of Charter
If any provision of this Charter is held invalid, the other provisions of the Charter shall not be affected
thereby. If the application of the Charter, or any of its provisions, to any person or circumstance is held
invalid, the application of the Charter and its provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be
Sec. 1203. Form of ballot and Procedures.
It shall not be necessary for the full text of the Charter or of amendments to the Charter to be printed on the ballot. Any digest or description thereof or any question or statement which substantially expresses the purpose, or identifies the subject matter to be voted upon shall be sufficient. When any question is to be submitted to the voters, the Town Council shall approve the statement of the question, as it shall appear on the ballot. A copy of the full text of the Charter or amendments shall be posted in each polling place, at the office of the town clerk and such other places as may be designated by the Board of Canvassers. All proposed amendments shall have a public hearing. Should two (2) or more amendments adopted at the same time have conflicting provisions, the one receiving the largest affirmative vote shall prevail. The sections of any amendments added to this Charter shall be appropriately numbered by the Town Clerk and inserted in their appropriate places.
Article XIII: Courts
412. Probate court.
There shall be a probate court as provided by statute which shall exercise the jurisdiction as set forth by statute. The town clerk shall serve as probate clerk; if
he the Town Clerk is unable to serve, the deputy town clerk may serve in his stead as Probate Clerk.
(Amend. of 11-3-92, § XI)State law reference - Probate courts, G.L. 1956, H 8-9-2.1 et seq.
The town council shall appoint, at its first meeting following its election, a member of the Bar of the State of Rhode Island, to sit as judge of the probate court and to perform those duties as required by statute. Said judge shall serve for a two (2) year term or until
Money and other property now or hereafter deposited in the probate court pursuant to statutes now or hereafter in effect shall be held, administered and disposed of pursuant to said statutes.
Sec. 1304. Municipal Court
There may be a Municipal Court with jurisdiction and duties as provided by Rhode Island General Law, Title 8-18.
Sec. 1305. Appointment of Municipal Judge
There may be a Municipal Court Judge appointed by the Town Council who shall be a member in good standing of the bar of the State of Rhode Island, engaged in the active practice of law. Said person so appointed shall not hold any other elected or appointed position in the town.