FOR IMMEDIATE POSTING
The amendments to the Town of Dunstable General Bylaw adopted under Article 22 of the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting of May 15, 2021 (Advisory Board) and Article 23 (Stormwater Management), were approved by the Attorney General on August 30, 2021 and are hereby published by posting in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 32 as amended. A portion of the Advisory Board bylaw, approved by the voters, was disapproved by the Attorney General with the following comments: Article 22 - Except for the text in Section 1 establishing the quorum as a majority of the Advisory Committee then serving on the Board, as indicated below in bold and underline, we approve the changes adopted under Article 22. “There shall be an Advisory Board consisting of six legal voters of the town, each of whom shall be elected for a term of three (3) years on the Official Ballot of the Annual Town Meeting. No elective town officer shall be eligible or qualified to serve on said Board. A quorum of the Board shall be a majority of the members then serving on the Board, but in no event shall the quorum be less than three (3). An affirmative vote of the Board shall require a majority of the members present and voting at a meeting. but in no event less than three (3).” We disapprove and delete the text in bold and underlined above because, in the absence of a statutory restriction, the general rule is that a majority of a council or board is a quorum. Merrill v. Lowell, 236 Mass. 463, 467 (1920); see also Clark v. City Council of Waltham, 328 Mass. 40, 41 (1951). The by-law text that provides “A quorum of the Board shall be a majority of the members then serving on the Board” lowers the quorum requirement for the Advisory Board. For example, if only 5 members are serving on the 6-member Advisory Board, a quorum would be 3 members (a majority of the 5 members then serving) rather than 4 (a majority of the 6-member board). Because the Town cannot by by-law impose a quorum requirement different from what is required under state law, we disapprove and delete the text in bold and underlined above from Section 1.
A copy of these amendments and bylaws may be examined or obtained at the Offices of the Town Clerk by appointment at the Dunstable Town Hall, or can be viewed electronically by clicking here: