Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
Welcome to the Handbook for Massachusetts Select Board Members!
This handbook is a comprehensive guide for the nearly 1,200 Select Board members who serve their communities from Mount Washington to Provincetown, and from Abington to Yarmouth. It covers the full range of roles and responsibilities for Select Board members as leaders of their towns.
The history of the Select Board Handbook goes back many decades, and printed copies of older editions can be found in Town Halls across the state. The book has been updated periodically, with the previous major update published in 2014.
This 2024 edition brings an end to the printed (and PDF) format — it is the first to be published online! This new online handbook is intended to be easily navigated (using the menu to the left), and has its own powerful search function. Material here can now be updated as needed. (If you spot any errors, please let us know using our convenient feedback form.)
Not only will this handbook help current Select Board members, it will also help candidates for the office, and is available to the public to enhance their understanding of local government.
This handbook has 13 chapters, and there are a number of sections within each. The menu to the left is expandable to enable users to go directly to a topic of interest.
The 2024 edition of the Handbook for Massachusetts Select Board Members is dedicated to the late Worthington Select Board Member, MSA and MMA President, and State Representative Stephen Kulik (1950-2022).
The Massachusetts Select Board Association wishes to acknowledge the public service legacy of Stephen Kulik, who was a loyal champion of local government, serving first as a member of the Planning Board and later as a Selectman in Worthington, his hometown for 45 years. He served as President of the Massachusetts Municipal Association in 1993, and as a state Representative from 1993 until 2019.
Stephen was a tireless advocate for local government and the communities we are honored to serve. Stephen was passionate about rural matters, justice and equity, broadband access, food security, climate issues, and conservation. Integral to Stephen’s public service was his joyful and positive approach to legislating and to local leadership, earning him the respect and affection of colleagues and constituents. We are honored to dedicate the handbook to Stephen Kulik.
The editors of the 2024 Handbook for Massachusetts Select Board Members wish to recognize the talent, record and contributions of Geoff Beckwith, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association from 1992 to 2023. Geoff’s leadership, mentorship and stewardship at the MMA have contributed in countless ways to every city and town in Massachusetts, and to the public service careers of thousands of local leaders.
This edition of the Handbook for Massachusetts Select Board Members would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of a committee of local officials and members of the MMA staff. The effort to update the handbook began more than a year ahead of its publication, and entailed careful planning, many, many meetings, and countless hours poring over text and research materials. The process was deliberative and collaborative.
The MSA Handbook Committee included former Norwell Select Board Member Alison Demong, Williamstown Select Board Member Andy Hogeland (President of the Massachusetts Select Board Association), former Natick Select Board Member Joshua Ostroff, and former Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine (now Executive Director of the MMA), all of whom made invaluable contributions to the content and direction of this handbook.
At the MMA, the effort was organized and launched by former Senior Member Services Coordinator Isabelle Jenkins and Communication and Membership Director Candace Pierce. MMA Deputy Communications Director John Ouellette carefully and thoroughly edited the manuscript and managed the effort to publish it on the MMA website, with assistance from MMA Digital Communications Specialist Meredith Gabrilska and MMA Member Program Coordinator Anneke Craig.
Former Norwell Select Board Member
MMA Executive Director and former Arlington Town Manager
President of the Massachusetts Select Board Association and Williamstown
Select Board Member
Former Natick Select Board Member
Former Senior Member Services Coordinator
Communications and Membership Director
Deputy Communications Director
Digital Communications Specialist
Member Program Coordinator