Government Study Ad Hoc Committee


Local government operations have seen a great deal of change since Lancaster’s incorporation. Developments in technology and changes in Federal, State, and local laws have affected people’s lifestyles, the way we govern, and the way citizens and residents interface with government officials. Residents have requested greater transparency and open access to their government. Many Town services exist today that were simply not imagined decades ago. In recognition of these changes, Lancaster residents are faced with several questions and decisions. The formation of a Government Study Committee is based on the idea that a comprehensive study of Lancaster’s form of government is both necessary and prudent if we are to operate the Town in an effective, efficient, and transparent manner.


The Committee’s mission surrounds the need for the Town to review the efficacy of Lancaster’s current Form of Government and organizational structure. Additionally, the committee will recommend changes to Lancaster’s form of government and operations, as necessary, to reflect best practices and assure effective and equitable town management, policy adherence, and the timely and consistent delivery of excellent public service.


The charge and duties of the Government Study Committee shall be to gather, review and make recommendations to the Select Board relative to Lancaster’s Form of Government and its overall operation. Recommendations will be made in the spirit of collaboration and transparency and in-line with the goal of improving the Town’s efficiency while ensuring the highest levels of professionalism, ethical standards, and transparency.
General duties of the Committee shall incorporate:
•A Summation of Lancaster’s current form of government and governance practices.
•An examination of the various types of government used throughout theCommonwealth and within various comparable communities.
•The identification of the strengths and weaknesses of Lancaster’s current form ofgovernment.
•Recommendations to the Select Board relative to creating an official Town Charter ormaking various amendments to the current Town Code, Bylaws, and other governingpractices.
•The facilitation of a robust and clear public engagement process that integrates diverseperspectives, comments and notions which are representative of Lancaster’s population.

Care and consideration shall be given to the following questions regarding the structure and operation of Lancaster’s government:
•Is Lancaster’s structure of government an effective one?•Should Lancaster have an official Town Charter?

•Are there changes which Lancaster could make which would increase the Town’s efficiencies or better manage the municipal operation more productively?

•Should Lancaster retain its form of government with a Select Board and an appointed Town Administrator?

•Are separately elected Boards, Committees and Town departments an effective and efficient way of governing for the current times? What are the pros and cons for this type of jurisdictional divide?

•Should Lancaster retain an Open Town Meeting as its legislative body?

•Should the Town seek to change, or update, various town job descriptions or revisit the roles and responsibilities of certain Boards and Committees?•Should Lancaster recommend term limits for its elected officials in the form of an internal policy or board/committee procedures?

•Should changes in the Town’s budget process, coordination and review be enacted?

•Should more robust training opportunities be made available for members of public boards and committees covering topics such as conducting board business, meeting rules of engagement, open meeting law and ethical considerations or general member codes of conduct?

Are there changes the Town can make to improve citizens’ access to information or strengthen the communications between Town officials and citizens?•How can we, as a community, capitalize on the opportunities offered by technology in furtherance of Lancaster’s mission and goals?


A draft report shall be submitted to the Select Board by February 1, 2023. This report may be presented by the Committee and will be discussed in open session where public comment will be received. A final report of the committee’s findings including any recommended actions will be provided to the Select Board no later than March 30, 2023, to coincide with publication of the Annual Town Meeting Warrant.

The Committee shall consist of nine (9) members, at large, appointed by the Select Board. The Committee shall appoint a chair, vice-chair, and clerk at their first official meeting. The committee will receive staff support from the Town Administrator or his/her designee. A member of the Select Board shall serve on the Committee as a liaison but shall not have voting rights.

Upon submittal of the final report to the Select Board the committee shall be considered discharged.

David Mallette


Susan Munyon


Anne Ogilvie


Emily Ellison Taylor


Russell W. Williston