Northborough ‘Select Board’ name change to go before Town Meeting

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Northborough ‘Select Board’ name change to go before Town Meeting
This sign in Town Hall marks the office of the Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – Northborough may be the latest community in the region to change the name of its Board of Selectmen to Select Board. 

Chair Mitch Cohen said he asked for this to be placed on the Jan. 9 agenda. He noted that there have been broad discussions about the change over the past several months while he was on the board. 

“I thought as we are approaching Town Meeting, this might be an opportune time to consider placing on the warrant and getting direction from [Town Administrator John Coderre] as to ways we can make this happen, if the board is so inclined,” Cohen said. 

According to Coderre and in accordance with information from town counsel, the best process to make the change would be to submit a special act to modify Northborough’s town charter. 

As of the Jan. 9 meeting, Coderre didn’t have a cost estimate for the change. 

The selectmen voiced their support prior to voting with Julianne Hirsh noting that the Massachusetts Municipal Association has accepted it as a change of the board’s name and Scott Rogers adding that he tried to say “select board” as much as he could.

“I think it’s time Northborough joins the 21st century and uses a gender neutral term for a board that has all kind of people on it and might in the future have all kind of people on it,” said Selectman Kristen Wixted. 

With this vote, the selectmen voted to place an article on the Town Meeting warrant authorizing a petition for the special act and to amend the town bylaws to reflect the change. They also authorized Coderre to work with town counsel to draft the legislation and reach out to Northborough’s delegation to get it on the docket for the Legislature.

Other local communities have made the move from Board of Selectmen to Select Board. Last September, the Legislature passed a bill to rename the Shrewsbury board to Select Board.