Town of Norwood

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General Manager

The General Manager is appointed by the Board of Selectmen and is the Town's Chief Executive Officer, Chief Procurement Officer under M.G.L 30B and the executive head of the Police Department and the head of most town departments. He appoints most employees in the departments under his jurisdiction (DPW, Police, Light Dept.,  and Recreation Dept.)  makes appointments to several Commissions (Conservation, Business & Industry, etc.) subject to the approval of the Board of Selectmen.

Town Counsel

The Town Counsel is appointed annually by the Board of Selectmen, usually upon recommendation of the General Manager, and must be an attorney-at-law. He drafts bonds, leases, obligations, conveyances, and other legal instruments, advises on all questions relating to the Warrants for town meetings, gives professional advice which may be required of him by vote of the town or any board of town officers. He furnishes written opinion on legal questions and gives legal advice to officers of the town concerning the duties incumbent upon such officers by virtue of office. He prosecutes suits ordered to be brought by the town and appears in court in defense of the town or its officers in their official capacity. He appears at any and all hearings in behalf of the town. Due to increasing volume and complexity, the Board of Selectmen now retains a law firm as Town Counsel.

Town Clerk and Accountant

Charter requires that both these positions be held by one person. An unusual combination, the positions in most towns are separate. Norwood is one of very few towns with a charter position combining these two legally separate responsibilities. It has worked well for the town. He is appointed by the Board of Selectmen for a term of 3 years. The Town Clerk has custody of the town seal and is responsible for keeping a copy of all deeds and conveyances executed in behalf of the town or any town officer. He must keep official records of all town meetings. It is the duty of the Town Clerk to see that all town real estate is properly recorded in the Registry of Deeds. He prepares abstracts of official records of town meeting and vital statistics for the Annual Town Report. It is his duty to keep records of the location of highways and town ways within the town. The Town Clerk notifies in writing all members of committees that may be elected or appointed at any town meetings to inform them of the name of the committee, the business upon which they are to act, and the duties which they are to perform. The Town Clerk gives the oath of office to all elected town officials. The duties of the Town Clerk's department include issuing hunting, fishing, and dog licenses; registration of voters; recording chattel mortgages and business certificates; selling lots and graves in the cemetery and arranging interments. The Town Clerk conducts the census and prints an annual street listing for the Board of Registrars as well as the annual up-dating of the voting list. He conducts the town elections for the Board of Selectmen, who are the Election Commissioners, and also conducts the presidential and state primaries and the state elections.

The Town Clerk and Accountant, as Town Accountant, examines all bills and payrolls, submitted by various town departments for payment and lists them on a warrant which is submitted to the Board of Selectmen for approval. He may refuse to approve for payment any claim he feels is fraudulent, unlawful, or excessive and in such cases the Treasurer shall not pay such claim or bill. He maintains the accounts for all town departments showing appropriations, expenditures and all town receipts and their source. He has custody of all town debts. He presents a monthly statement of all appropriations balances. All town accounts are kept in conformity with the General Laws of Massachusetts.

He prepares an Annual Financial Report which is printed in the Annual Town Report. All town budgets must be submitted to the Town Accountant for transmittal to the Finance Commission (to which the Town Clerk and Accountant has traditionally served as clerk).

Town Engineer

The Town Engineer is appointed by the General Manager. His duties are:

    1. To act with the Engineering Department personnel as engineering advisor to the General Manager; to provide general engineering advice and service to all town agencies, boards, commissions, and departments; and to furnish engineering advice and service in matters concerning zoning, planning, and new construction of roads and utilities in subdivisions under the subdivision common law.
    2. To work with town and other government agencies, boards, and departments on the planning and coordination of engineering and construction projects in the town.
    3. To serve as the engineering representative for the town of Norwood in projects to be built within the town by outside contractors, utility companies and builders.

Contributory Retirement Board

This board is composed of three members and is in charge of retirement funds and all applications for retirement of town employees. All duties are governed by state statute.

Sealer of Weights and Measures

The Sealer of Weights and Measures is a part-time position. He is classified under Civil Service qualifications and appointed by the Selectmen. He is responsible for testing, adjusting and or condemning all commercially used measuring devices, such as taxi meters, fuel oil delivery trucks, all commercial scales (market, scrap dealers, gas pumps, etc.). He collects and pays into the town treasury all established fees for services rendered, prepares an annual town budget for town meeting action, and submits an annual town department report to the State Department, Bureau of Standards.

Board of Registrars

The members are appointed by the Selectmen. They shall publish notices stating places and hours for holding registration sessions, including the final sessions preceding all elections. The Registrars receive all applications for voter registration. There are four members, one of whom must be Town Clerk: two from each of the two major political parties.

Dog Officer and Animal Inspector

A Leash Law was enacted in 1996. The dog officer takes care of stray dogs, handles unlicensed dogs, and issues fines. This full-time position is appointed by the Board of Selectmen.

As Animal Inspector he inspects livestock and fowl, issues orders for restraining dogs, and checks dogs bites. Once a year under state statue, he must examine all cows, horses, pigs, and sheep.

Superintendent of Cemeteries

The Superintendent of Cemeteries, is appointed by the General Manager and is responsible for the care and upkeep of both the Highland Cemetery and the Old Parish Cemetery. Only Norwood residents or former Norwood residents may be interred in the town cemeteries. The Day Chapel at Highland Cemetery is available for interment services. In recent years, the Superintendent of the Public Works has served as the Superintendent of Cemeteries.

Conservation Commission

Membership consists of seven members who are appointed by the General Manager and approved by the Board of Selectmen to serve for three years. The commission maintains an index of all open spaces within the community and, through reserve areas throughout the town for balanced green belt. The commission also attempts to protect the vital wetlands within the town from encroachment. The commission works with the State Department of Natural Resources, local town officials, and townspeople to carry out this program. They enforce the State wetlands laws and frequently conduct hearings under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 131, Section 40.

Permanent Building Construction Committee

The Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Chairmen of the School Committee and the Town Moderator, herein after referred to as the Appointing Authority, Construction Committee to consist of seven registered voters appointed in the following manner:

Two for one year
Two for two years
Three for three years

The department head of the given project shall be an ex-officio member without a vote and the General Manager shall be an ex-officio member without a vote on general government projects.

Subject to authorization by Town Meeting, the Committee shall have change of construction, additions, and major renovations of all municipal buildings with authority to enter into contracts and make expenditures. The Committee shall be required to follow the same General Laws and accounting procedure as are adhered to by all other town departments. The committee shall submit in writing under Article 2 of the Annual Town Meeting a report on all building projects as to their status at that time and include a financial statement with respect to same and any recommendation thereof.


Norwood's Office of Civil Defense is an all-volunteer organization, with roots dating back to World War II and the very real threat of enemy invasion. Local volunteers were organized by the federal government to act as air raid wardens, coastal lookouts, and to supplement the local police departments depleted by the war mobilization.

Today's Civil Defense organization still operates under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its state counterpart, the Mass Emergency Management Agency, but its main focus has shifted to preparation, response, and recovery from natural and man-made disasters: fires, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, etc. Norwood's volunteer organization focuses on coordinating and supplementing existing state and local services in such emergencies. In particular, Norwood Civil Defense organizes and staffs a local emergency shelter at the Town's Civic Center in times of emergency, in cooperation with the Recreation Dept., Board of Health, and Council on Aging. The Civic is one of the few buildings in the community equipped with emergency power capable of heating part of the structure during cold weather. C.D. also maintains an emergency communications capability, of particular importance when telephone service is disrupted.

Requests for state and local federal disaster assistance - both for the Town itself and for residents and businesses within the community - are processed through the Civil Defense Structure. Although formal Declarations of Disaster eligibility (requested by the Governor and approved by the President) are not an everyday occurrence, Norwood has participated in three such Declarations, and received financial reimbursement for loses in all three instances in the last few years (2 hurricanes and 1 blizzard).

The Civil Defense Director is appointed by the Town's General Manager. Volunteers are constantly being recruited. A dedicated telephone line (762-2421) is maintained at the Civic Center's Recreation Department office and is activated when the storm shelter is prepared for use. Everyday calls and correspondence are directed to the Town Hall.


The financial administration of the town is divided among a number of official elected and appointed, who operate independently of each other. Their duties are prescribed by the General Laws of Massachusetts. Direct taxation is limited by statutory law and must be proportional on each taxpayer.

Taxes are determined by the Board of Assessors and approved by the town meeting members. The total assessed valuation of the town of Norwood in fiscal 1999 was $1,946,729,490. Norwood has a "classified" tax rate (residential taxed at $13.69 per $1000 and Commercial/Industrial taxed at $21.76 per $1000) that raises approximately 33% of the town revenues. Assessments are made annually, with real estate assessments based on a cubic foot method. The state requires tri-annual assessments. Requests for adjustments or abatements may be made within the town by using tax abatement forms. Further appeal may be made to the County Commissioners.

The town also derives income from motor vehicle excise taxes, interest on various funds, electric light revenues, water and sewer revenues, and departmental receipts such as fees for marriage licenses, building permits, parking meters, liquor licenses, etc. A complete list is given in the Treasurer's annual report. Other sources of income are funds from the Commonwealth, and a minor contribution from the Federal Government.


The three members of this board are appointed by the Selectmen subject to confirmation by the state Commissioner of Corporation and Taxation. Their duties consist of levying and collecting of local taxes. Town meeting decides the amounts the town may spend, but the Board of Assessors determines the amount to be raised by taxation and the amount to be required of each taxpayer.

The assessors are subject to supervision by the State Commissioner of Corporations and Taxation and may be replaced for failure to perform their duties.


The Capital Outlay Committee consists of nine members: four appointed by the Moderator and the balance consisting of one member each from the Board of Selectmen, the Finance Commission, the Board of Assessors, the Planning Board, and the School Committee; and with the General Manager, the Town Clerk and Accountant, the Town Treasure, and the Librarian, as ex-officio members who are not entitled to vote on recommendations to be included in committee reports.

The committee ascertains annually capital outlays that will be required of the town during the successive six years and publishes in the Annual Report its estimates of income, operating expenses, and tax rates, and its recommendation for scheduling and financing capital outlays.


The Commission exists to promote and develop the town's industrial resources, and shall conduct research into industrial conditions. It may investigate and assist in the establishment of educational and commercial projects, including projects involving private enterprise, for the purpose of expanding or strengthening the local economy and seeks to coordinate the activities of unofficial bodies organized for these purposes. It may also advertise, prepare, print, and distribute books, maps, charts, and pamphlets aimed at furthering the same purposes.

The Commission to Promote Business and Industry consists of fifteen members appointed by the General Manager for five-year terms.

Appropriations have been made annually by town meeting according to state statues. The appropriation currently is $1,000.00.

The Commission has assisted several major firms to build in Norwood. During the 1960's, the Commission was responsible for Northrop and Polaroid locating in Norwood and during the 1970's, the Commission did a study that led to the construction of University Avenue office/industrial area built in the early 1970's and completed in 1990.











Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:29

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Cable Commission Meeting
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