Each year, four of the 12 elected municipal members of the Boston Region MPO are chosen by the chief elected officials of the municipalities in the region to serve a three-year term. As specified in the MPO’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (pdf) (html), the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Advisory Board jointly administer the election. Election procedures (pdf) (html) are detailed in the linked document and summarized below.
2017 MPO Municipal Election
The 2017 election was held at MAPC’s Fall Council Meeting on October 25, 2017, to fill four of the municipal seats on the MPO board. As detailed below, two of the open seats represent specific subregions of the Boston region (pdf map) (html list of cities and towns by subregion) (html list of current board members) and two seats are filled by at-large members:
- One municipality (city or town) from the North Shore Task Force (NSTF) subregion [Beverly]
- One municipality (city or town) from the South West Advisory Planning Committee (SWAP) subregion [Medway]
- One town from any part of the Boston region [Lexington]
- One city from any part of the Boston region [Everett]
The chief elected official (or his or her official designee) shall represent the elected municipality throughout the municipality’s three-year term of office (beginning on November 1) and shall be responsible for executing a variety of responsibilities (pdf) (html).
Nominees for the elected municipal seats shall be the chief elected official of the municipality that will hold the seat. In cities, the chief elected official is the mayor or, if the city does not have the office of mayor, the chairman of the council, except for cities operating under the Plan-E Charter (only Cambridge at this time), in which case it shall be the city manager. In towns, the chief elected official is the chairman of the board of selectmen.
Nominations may be placed by any chief elected official from any of the 101 municipalities in the Boston region. In the case of boards of selectmen, the MPO will accept the chairman’s nomination of a candidate whether or not the full board of selectmen has voted to approve the nomination.
A candidate must receive nominations from at least five chief elected officials in the Boston region. A chief elected official may nominate his or her own municipality (to be represented on the MPO board by himself or herself), and that nomination shall count as one of the five nominations needed to place that municipality on the ballot. Each chief elected official may sign nomination papers for one municipality per open seat.
MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board send a letter to each chief elected officer in the region stating the date, location, and rules of voting. An absentee ballot and instructions on how municipalities may cast votes is also included.
Prior to the election, MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board will provide an opportunity for the electorate to meet representatives of candidate municipalities during a forum at the State Transportation Building.
Each chief elected officer in the region may vote for one candidate municipality for each open seat.
On the day of the election, the designated officers of MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board supervise the election as outlined in the MPO’s MOU. Ballots are cast by municipal chief elected officials or their designees. If a ballot is to be cast by a designee, that person must present a letter signed by the chief elected official to the designated officers of MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the election; this letter appoints the designee and confirms his or her authority to cast the municipality’s ballot. Such a designation is delivered in person or by mail. Designees may represent only one municipality in the election. The chief elected official may require the designee to vote for a specific individual or vest discretion in the designee.
If the chief elected official is unable to attend the election and does not designate another individual to attend, an absentee ballot may be filed. Absentee ballots are valid for any election (e.g., a run-off election in case of a tie) held on the day of the MPO election for which the candidates selected on the ballot are still eligible to receive votes.
No faxed or emailed absentee ballots will be accepted; they must be filed in person or by mail by 5:00 PM on the day before the election with MAPC:
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
60 Temple Place
Boston, MA 02111
Attention: MPO Elections
The designated officers of MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board certify the results of the election to the chairman of the MPO by 12:00 noon on the Friday following the election.