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The last time Adams' government structure was updated was 1984; Select Board says its time for a review

Adams will ask residents to join review committee as it aims to modernize town government

Select Board meeting

The Adams Select Board on Wednesday voted unanimously to hire a municipal government consultant to work with residents on a government structure review. The Plymouth-based consultant will work with a committee of residents to make recommendations for improvements and modernization.

ADAMS — Town leaders want to modernize Adams’ government, and residents soon will get a chance to participate in a review process.

Adams does not have a town charter, and its government structure is determined by a set of five documents, which Town Administrator Jay Green said were ratified from 1767 to 1984.

“The last, more comprehensive, one created the town administrator/selectmen form of government in 1983, ratified in 1984,” Green said at the Wednesday evening meeting of the Adams Select Board. “What this [review] would do is take all of those documents and update them.”

The Select Board unanimously approved the proposal for a Plymouth-based consulting group to work with a committee of residents on the government structure review. The board plans to discuss the makeup of the committee, including how many residents it will include and which parties it should represent, at a workshop and meeting.

Select Board Chairman John Duval said he participated about 15 years ago in a similar review when he was a School Committee member. The process, he said, likely will begin this winter and continue for about a year.

The consultant and the committee of residents will make “recommendations that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the town’s local government in allocating and maximizing resources,” Duval said, reading from the proposal.

Select Board member Howard Rosenberg said he would like the town to provide guidance to the committee on what issues it should consider, highlighting the growing “pace of change” that Adams and other communities face.

“The speed at which we operate, I believe, needs to increase in response to the changes we have,” Rosenberg said, referencing an economic shift from manufacturing to services.

The consulting group, Community Paradigm Associates, specializes in municipal government and has worked with the town, including in the search process that led the town to hire Green.

Green said he believes that the consultant will streamline the process, particularly “if there are best practices elsewhere ... in towns similarly situated to Adams.”

Voters had approved $20,000 at a previous town meeting for the project, although Community Paradigm Associates’ proposal asks for $19,000, Duval said.

At the end of the process, the Select Board will consider recommendations and vote on them, sending any recommendations that it approves to the warrant for the annual town meeting. Voters can approve or deny those recommendations, and the town would need to file approved changes through a “home rule petition” in the Legislature.

Danny Jin, a Report for America corps member, is The Eagle’s Statehouse news reporter. He can be reached at djin@berkshireeagle.com, @djinreports on Twitter and


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