Topsfield Town Government
Topsfield, like many New England towns, is governed by Town Meeting and a group of elected and appointed boards whose powers and authorities are enabled by numerous statutes in the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Town Code (General By-laws) of Topsfield. Over time this system has evolved to include a large number of departments, boards, committees and commissions, some of which employ agents.
Town Departments are managed and operated by Town employees who are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Town. Town Departments provide municipal services and attend to Topsfield's ongoing business. An elected Town board or official supervises each Town Department.
Town Boards, Committees and Commissions are either elected or appointed. The citizens who serve on these boards are volunteers who, for the most part, are unpaid. Only the Selectmen, Assessors and members of the Planning Board receive nominal compensation for their service. Certain boards, committees and commissions are empowered and regulated by Massachusetts General Law and the By-laws of the Town of Topsfield. Such boards have jurisdiction over various areas of Topsfield's government, resources, or public welfare. Other boards, committees, and commissions are appointed for ad hoc purposes, i.e. to study a particular issue or supervise a particular project. All meetings of all official Town boards, committees and commissions are posted at least forty-eight hours in advance and are open to the public in accordance with the Open Meeting Law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Selectmen are the chief elected officers of the Town. The Town Departments and the other boards and committees are responsible for managing land use, finance, public safety, public works and the many services provided by the Town.