Shrewsbury considering changing ‘Board of Selectmen’ name to ‘Select Board’

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Members of the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen listen to resident comments during a public hearing discussing the future of the former Beal School late last year. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

SHREWSBURY – The Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen is recommending a Town Meeting article that would change its title to “Select Board.”

Approval of this article at Town Meeting next month would make Shrewsbury the most recent town in the region to adopt such a change, joining area neighbors including Westborough, Hudson and Southborough. 

The board approved this recommendation via a 3-0 vote on Tuesday, with Selectman Maurice DePalo and John Lebeaux abstaining.

Before their vote, Lebeaux called the name Select Board “clumsy.”

He continued that he “had no issue” changing the name, acknowledging that “many people think that the term ‘selectmen’ is not reflective of how society names positions.” 

“The English language is a beautiful language,” he said, though. “I just don’t find ‘Select Board’ or ‘select person’ very elegant language.” 

He called for state-level change to give boards like Shrewsbury’s more options, saying towns should petition their legislators to allow them to change their board names to “town council.”

This matter was previously a topic of conversation on April 5 when the selectmen reviewed the warrant for Shrewsbury’s Annual Town Meeting. 

At that time, Town Manager Kevin Mizikar said that town officials had talked with the attorney general’s office about this. He told the selectmen that “council,” in state and general law, is associated with the city form of government. 

“Since that is not our form of government, that would be in conflict in any interpretation…of the general laws,” Mizikar said. 

Back during this week’s meeting, DePalo shared some of Lebeaux’s sentiment.

“Executive board or town council just makes more sense,” he said, comparing those options to “select board.” 

“I think it’s clumsy,” he continued. “We’ll see what Town Meeting says.”

Town Meeting is scheduled for May 21.

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