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Municipal register : containing rules and orders of the City Council, the city charter and recent ordinances, and a list of the officers of the City of Boston, for .. (Volume 1889) online

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18 8 9.

The Municipal Register was first issued in 1841, in which year it
appeared as a City Document of 104 pages. Its contents were : Rules
and Orders of the Common Council ; Joint Rules ; Ordinances of the
City ; Statutes of the Commonwealth relating to the City ; City Govern-
ment of 1841, with Committees ; Departments (comprising at that time
the Treasury ; Law ; Police ; Health ; Public Land and Buildings, Lamps
and Bridges ; Fire ; Public Charitable Institutions) ; Public Schools ; and
a list of the Ward Officers. From that date to the present time the
Municipal Register has been published annually. In 1848 a list of
members of preceding city governments was added, with a necrologi-
cal record. During a number of years it was also customary to publish
in this volume the ordinances enacted during the year preceding, and
the special statutes relating to the City of Boston. In 1876 statistics
of registration and voting made their appearance, and since 1879 these
have been given in tabulated form. In 1883 the custom of publishing
portraits of the Mayor and presiding officers of the two branches of the
City Council was established. The list of past city governments of Rox-
bury and Charlestown was added in 1888.

The establishment of the town of Boston dates
from the passage of the order of the Court of
Assistants on the 17th September (7th, O. S.),
1630, " that Triraountain shall be called Boston."
The "first city government was organized on the
1st of May, 1822 (St. 182], c. 110). Roxbury
was first recognized by the Court of Assistants
as a town on the 8th Oct., 1630. It was incor-
porated as a city on the 12th March, 1846 (St. 1846,
c. 95), and annexed to Boston 6th Jan., 1868
(St. 1867, c. 359; accepted 9th Sept.). Dorches-
ter was named by the Court of Assistants in the
same order in which Boston was named; and it
retained its town organization until annexed to
Boston on the 3d Jan., 1870 (St. 1869, c. 349;
accepted 22d June). Charlestown was founded
4th July, 1629; incorporated as a city in 1847
(St. 1847, c. 29) ; annexed to Boston, 5th Jan.,
1874 (St. 1873, c. 286; accepted, 7th Oct.).
West Roxbury was incorporated as a town on
the 24th March, 1851 (St. 1851, c. 250);
annexed to Boston on 5th Jan., 1874 (St*
1873, c. 314; accepted, 7th Oct.). Brighton
was incorporated as a town in 1806 (St. 1806,
c. 65) ; annexed to Boston on the 5th Jan.,
1874 (St. 1873, c. 303; accepted, 7th Oct.).







The first act of the Legislature of Massachusetts establishing the
city of Boston was passed February 23, 1822, and adopted by the citi-
zens of Boston, March 4, 1822. It is chapter 110 of the acts of 1821.
The present city charter, being a revision of the former one, was
passed April 29, 1854, and adopted by the citizens November 13,
1854. It is chapter 448 of the acts of 1854. The charter herewith
presented is a codification of the original enactment of 1854 and the
general and special acts since then adopted. The numbering of the
sections, up to and including section 65, is the same as in Stat. 1854,
chap. 448, the principal features of the more important acts estab-
lishing departments and institutions being given in sections num-
bered from 66 onward. Marginal references indicate corresponding
sections in the first charter of 1822. Where the provisions of the act
of 1854 have been amended or supplemented by subsequent legisla-
tion, the text gives the section as amended, with reference in the
margin to the amendatory statute. The language of the original
charter is retained as far as practicable. Sections 66-79 are marked
" additional," and are intended to show the variations made by special
laws which have either suspended the general power to establish all
necessary offices, or have treated of matters not included in the
main charter. The changes made by Stat. 1885, chap. 266, are
expressed in the text wherever possible ; but that act covers so
much new ground that it is also given entire ; also the " Act to limit
the Municipal Debt and the Kate of Taxation in the City of
Boston," being chap. 178 of the acts of 1885.

Sections in pica are unchanged from the text of 1854, except
§§ 25 and 60. Words in italics show verbal changes. Sections in
small pica give the presumed state of the charter as affected by sub-
sequent legislation.

corporate Section" 1. The inhabitants of the city of


i82i, c. no, Boston, for all the purposes for which towns and


cities are by law incorporated in this common-
wealth, shall continue to be one body politic, in
fact and in name, nnder the style and denomina-
tion of the city of Boston; and, as such, shall
have, exercise, and enjoy all the rights, immuni-
ties, powers, and privileges, and shall be subject
to all the duties and obligations now incumbent
upon and appertaining to said city, as a municipal

Sect. 2. The administration of all the fiscal, Cit ys°y-

7 ernment.

prudential, and municipal concerns of said city, 1821 > c - no >

with the conduct and government thereof, shall

be vested in one principal officer, to be styled the

mayor, one council of twelve persons, to be called

the board of aldermen, and one council of seventy- 1875, c. 243,

. §2.
two persons, to be called the common council,

which boards, in their joint capacity, shall be
denominated the city council, and also in such
other boards of officers as are hereinafter speci-

Sect. 3. It shall be the duty of the city council, and Division

into wards.

they are empowered during the year 1875, and every ibid., § 1.
tenth year thereafter, before the first day of May in such isss, c. 437.
year, to make a new division of the city into twenty-four
wards, in such manner as to include an equal number of
voters in each ward, as nearly as conveniently may be
consistently with well-defined limits to each ward. The
board of aldermen shall, prior to the first Monday of Division of
July in the year in which such new division has been preC inct8.
made, divide the city into voting precincts in the manner Ibld>
prescribed by sections 3 and 4 of chapter 299 of the
acts of 1884. In any year, the board of aldermen may


divide any -ward into voting precincts in the same
tletlZfor Sect. 4. The annual meeting of citizens, for
n the election of municipal officers hereinafter men-

of city
1824, c. 49.

tioned, shall be held on the Tuesday next folloiving

p.e.,0.7, the second Monday of December, and the citizens

§67. J

of said city qualified to vote in city affairs shall,
for the purpose of such election, then meet to-

1878, c. 243. gether within the voting precincts in which they
respectively are entitled to vote, at such hour and
place as the board of aldermen may by their war-
rant direct and appoint; and the person receiving
the highest number of votes for any office shall be
deemed and declared to be elected to such office ;
and, whenever two or more persons are to be
elected to the same office, the several persons, to
the number required to be chosen, having the
highest number of votes, shall be declared elected.
[Sect. 5, relating to certificates of election to be fur-
nished by the ward officers, is rendered void by chap.
243, acts of 1878. J

commence- Sect. 6. The municipal officers to be chosen

mentofmu- x

nicipaiyear. a ^ the ann ual election shall enter upon the duties

1824, c. 49, L

§ 2 - of their resj3ective offices on the first Monday of

Precinct Sect. 7. The mayor at some time between the first


1884, c. 299, and the twentieth day of September in each year shall,
with the approval of the board of aldermen, appoint for
each voting precinct one warden, one deputy warden,
one clerk, one deputy clerk, two inspectors and two
deputy inspectors, qualified voters in the ward of which
each precinct forms a part, men of good repute and


standing, who shall equally represent each of the two
political parties which cast the largest number of votes
in the commonwealth at the annual election next preced-
ing their appointment. The warden and one inspector
shall be of a different political party from the clerk and
other inspector, and each deputy shall be of the same
political party as his principal. Each of said officers Term of
shall hold office for one year from the first day of No- 1884i c . 299,
vember in the year in which he is appointed, and until a § T>
successor is appointed and qualified or he is removed.
Anv one of said officers may be removed at any time by Removal.

J J . 1885, c. 266,

the mayor for such cause as he shall deem sufficient and §§ 1, 12.
shall assign in his order for removal.

Said election officers shall receive such reasonable Compensa-
compensation for each day's actual service as the city 1884 ' c 299)
council may from time to time determine. § 8 "

No person shall be eligible to the position of election candidates

not eligible.

officer in any precinct where he is a candidate to be ibid.
voted for, and whenever any person appointed as afore-
said becomes such candidate he may, upon petition
therefor, be removed by the mayor not less than three
days before any election.

Sect. 8. The said wardens, clerks, and inspectors Precinct
shall respectively make oath faithfully and impartially to be sworn.
discharge their several duties, which oath maybe admin- ^ 76,c - 246 >
istered by the clerk to the warden, and by the latter to
the clerk and inspectors, or to any or all of said officers
by the city clerk, or by his assistant, or by any justice of
the peace ; and a certificate thereof shall be entered in
the record to be kept by the precinct clerk.

Sect. 9. In case of any vacancy occurring before the vacancies.
first day of November, in any year, or in case either of §7 _' c * '
said officers shall decline to act, and shall give notice
thereof to the city clerk on or before said first day of


November, the mayor, with the approval of the board of
aldermen, shall appoint some person qualified as aforesaid
to fill said office ; and in making such appointment it shall
be his duty to preserve in the precinct offices the just and
equal representation of the two leading political parties.
Every person so appointed shall be sworn to the faithful
discharge of his duties.

1885, c. 266, Every nomination made by the mayor under this sec-
tion and section 7 shall be acted on by the board of
aldermen not less than one week nor more than ten days
after it shall have been made.

Deputy pre- Sect. 10. In case of a vacancy in the office of warden,

cinctoffi- ~

cers. clerk, or inspector of a precinct on the day of any

1884 c. 299

§ 7 .' ' election, the person appointed as deputy of said warden,
clerk, or inspector shall act in his place, and shall
have the same powers and be subject to the same duties
and liabilities as the officer for whom he acts. No
deputy precinct officer shall have power to act in any
■ official capacity, or while the polls are open or during
the counting of the votes be admitted to the space
reserved for the precinct officers, except while filling a
vacancy as aforesaid ; and he shall receive no compen-
sation except for attendance at the opening of the polls
or for services while acting for the officer whose place
he fills.

officers pro incase the warden and deputy warden, or the clerk
and deputy clerk, or one of the inspectors and his deputy
are absent at the time designated for the opening of the
polls on the day of any election, a suitable person shall
be elected by the voters of said precinct, by nomination
and hand vote, with full power to act for the time being in
place of the absent officer, and before entering upon the
performance of his duties he shall be sworn by the
warden or clerk, or, in the absence of both of said officers,


by a justice of the peace to the faithful performance
thereof. 1

Sect. 11. The warden shall preside at all meetings of Powersof


his precinct, and shall have the powers of moderators of 1876, c. 246,
town meetings. In case of his absence, the clerk, and, i 8 7 8) c . 243,
in case of the absence of both warden and clerk, one of § "
the inspectors, according to seniority in age, shall pre-
side until a new warden has been chosen.

Sect. 12. It shall be the duty of the clerk to make Duty of


and keep a fair and true record of all meetings, and at ibid., §s.
the close of the municipal year to deliver such record, §23 ' c " '
together with all other documents and papers held by him
in his said capacity, to the city clerk, by whom such of
them as need be shall be transmitted to the next precinct

Sect. 13. It shall be the duty of the warden Duties of

^ warden and

and inspectors of each precinct to receive, sort, inspectors.

*- l 7 1821, c. 110,

and count, and of the warden to declare, all votes §s.

at any election within such precinct ; and the clerk we, cm*,

may assist in assortitig and counting the votes.

Sect. 14. It shall be the duty of all precinct Duties of

^ x m ward ofli-

officers before named to attend and perform their cers at an

respective duties at the times and places appointed isis, c. 217,

for elections of any officers, whether of the United

States, state, district, county, city, or ward, orfor™*' -' 2 ® 9 '

the determination of any question submitted to the 18T6 > c - 246 >
j j 3. § 10

qualified voters by lawftd authority ; and to make
and sign the regular returns of the same.

1 Supervisors of Elections. Chapter 299 of the acts of 1884 also provides
that the governor shall, upon the petition in writing of ten qualified voters of
the city, presented to him at least fourteen days before any election of state,
district, county, or municipal officers, appoint, by and with the advice and con-
sent of the council, for each voting precinct named in said petition, two citizens,
residents of said city, one from each of the two leading political parties, to act
as supervisors at the said election, with duties prescribed by statute.


Election of

1821, c. 110,

See P. S.,
c. 7, § 25.

Sect. 15. The qualified voters of said city shall,
at the annual meeting, be called upon to give in
their votes for one able and discreet person, being
an inhabitant of the city, to be mayor of said city
for the term of one year. All the ballots so given
in, in each precinct, being sorted, counted, and
declared, shall be recorded at large by the clerk
in open precinct meeting ; and in making such
declaration and record the whole number of votes
or ballots given in shall be distinctly stated, to-
gether with the name of every person voted for,
and the number of votes given for each person
respectively, such numbers to be expressed in
words at length, and a transcript of such record,
certified and authenticated by the warden, clerk,
and the inspectors of elections, for each precinct,
shall forthwith be transmitted or delivered by
such precinct clerk to the clerk of the city. It
shall be the duty of the city clerk forthwith to
enter such returns, or a plain and intelligible
abstract of them, as they are successively received,
upon the journal of the proceedings of the board
of aldermen, or some other book to be kept for
that purpose.

Sect. 16. The board of aldermen shall, as soon
as conveniently may be, after six days next follow-
mayor. i nc , such election, meet together and examine all

1821, c. 110, ° i i

§ 5. the said returns, and they shall cause the person

ISSi, c. 299, , . j-n t

§32. who may have been elected mayor to be notmed,

in writing, of his election ; but if it shall appear
by said returns that no person has been elected,

tion of re-
turns of
votes for


or if the person elected shall refuse to accept the
office, the board shall issue their warrants for a
new election, and the same proceedings shall be
had as are provided in the preceding section for
the choice of a mayor, and repeated, from time to
time, until a mayor shall be chosen. 1

Sect. 17. Whenever, on examination by the Proceedings

in case of no

board of aldermen of the returns of votes given for choice of

mayor be-

mayorrly ap-
pointed committee of the said board or of the city council.

Sect. 34. The persons so chosen and qualified Common

■*- x council a

as members of the common council of the said se P a ™te


city shall sit and act together as a separate body? 1821 - °- no,
distinct from that of the board of aldermen, [ex-
cept in those cases in which the two bodies are to
meet in convention] ; 1 and the said council shall Presi dent.
have power from time to time to choose one of
their own members to preside over their delibera-
tions, and to preserve order therein, and also to
choose a clerk, who shall be under oath faithfully Clerk -
to discharge the duties of his office, who shall
hold such office during the pleasure of said coun-
cil, and whose duty it shall be to attend said
council when the same is in session, to keep a
journal of its acts, votes, and proceedings, and to
perform such other services, in said capacity, as
said council may require. All sittings of the sittings to

. • . be public.

common council shall be public' ; and a majority Quorum.
of all the members of the common council shall
constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Sect. 35. All other powers (except hereinafter powers of
noted as taken away by law) heretofore by law irai, o. no,"
vested in the town of Boston, or in the inhabi- § 16
tants thereof, as a municipal corporation, or in

1 See note on § 29, ante.


the city council of the city of Boston, shall be
and hereby are continued to be vested in the
mayor, aldermen, and common council of the said
city, to be exercised by concurrent vote, each
board as hereby constituted having a negative
upon the proceedings of the other, and the mayor
having a veto power as hereinafter provided.
p. y s a , W c! 27, More especially they shall have power to make
28, all such needful and salutary by-laws or ordi-

nances, not inconsistent with the laws of this
commonwealth, as towns by the laws of this com-
monwealth have power to make and establish,

and to annex penalties not exceeding fifty dollars


for the breach thereof ; which by-laws and ordi-
nances shall take effect and be in force from and
after their passage, or the time therein respectively
limited, without the sanction or confirmation of
any court or other authority whatsoever.
tfHx™ 11 * Sect. 36. The city council shall also have power
i82i, c.iio, f rom time to time to lay and assess taxes 1 for all

§15. m J

purposes for which towns are by law required or
authorized to assess and grant money, and also for
1822, c. 85. a ]| p Ur p 0ses f or which county taxes may be levied
and assessed, so lpng as other towns in the county
shall not be liable to taxation for county purposes.
But in the assessment and apportionment of all
such taxes upon the polls and estates of all per-
sons liable to contribute thereto, the same rules
and regulations shall be observed as are now es-
tablished by the laws of this commonwealth, or

1 Subject to limitations of Stat. 1885, c. 178.


may be hereafter enacted, relative to the assess-
ment and apportionment of town taxes.

Sect. 37. The said city council shall also have collection

of taxes.

power to provide for the assessment and collection isii, c no,

§ 15.

of such taxes, and to make appropriations of all
public moneys, and provide for the disbursement
thereof, and take suitable measures to insure a
just and prompt account thereof; and for these
purposes may establish the number of assessors and Assessors of

L L *' J taxes.

assistant assessors to be appointed as the law iws, c. 266,


directs, or may provide for the election of the same

by the citizens, as in their judgment may be most

conducive to the public £ood : and mav also re- Bond - etc -
1 . ma y be re "

quire of all persons intrusted with the collection, quired.

custody, or disbursement of public moneys, such

bonds, with such conditions and such sureties as

the case may in their judgment require.

Assessors and assistant assessors may hold office for Assessors'

i . i . • i terra of

such term, not exceeding three years, as the city council office.
may by ordinance prescribe. 1884> c ' 123 '

The assistant assessors of taxes shall be appointed by Assistant
the assessors of taxes, subject to confirmation by the 1885j c> 2 6 6)
mayor, and may be removed by the assessors for such § 2 '
cause as they shall deem sufficient and shall assign in
their order for removal.

Sect. 38. The city council may provide for the estab- city
lishment of all offices necessary for the good government i82i, c. no,
of said city, not otherwise provided for, and may pre- § ie '
scribe the duties and fix the compensation attached there-
to. Such officers, however, shall be appointed by the isss, c. 266.
mayor subject to confirmation by the board of aldermen ;
provided, that such officers do not come under the desig-


nation of subordinates, in which case they shall be
appointed by the heads of departments respectively. 1
™Itody d of Sect. 39. The city council shall have the care
dt y prop. ail( j superintendence of the public buildings, and
i82i, c. no, the care, custody, and management of all the prop-
erty of the city, 2 with power to lease or sell the
same, except the Common and Faneuil Hall. And
purchase the said city council shall have power to purchase
property. p r0 perty, real or personal, in the name and for the
use of the city, whenever its interest or conven-
ience may in their judgment require it.

Board of

Sect. 40. All the power and authority now by
i82i, c. no, i aw ves ted in the city council, or in the board of
p.s.,c. so. m ayor and aldermen, relative to the public health
and the quarantine of vessels, shall continue to be
vested in the city council, to be carried into execu-
tion by the appointment of one or more health
commissioners; or in such other manner as the
health, cleanliness, comfort, and order of the city
may, in their judgment, require, subject to such
alterations as the legislature may from time to
time adopt. The powers and duties above named
may be exercised and carried into effect by the
city council in any manner which they may pre-
scribe, or through the agency of any persons to
whom they may delegate the same, notwithstand-
ing a personal exercise of the same, collectively or
individually, is prescribed by previous legislation,
and the city council may constitute either branch,

1 For authority of removal and tenure of office, see Stat. 1885, c. 266, §§ 1, 4.
2 Subject to limitations of Stat. 1885, c. 266, § 12.


or any committee of their number, whether joint
or separate, the board of health, for all or for par-
ticular purposes.

Provided, however, that they do not exercise any pow-
ers prohibited to them by Stat. 1885, chap. 266, section

The members of the board of health may hold office issi, c. 229,
for the term of three years respectively, from the first
Monday in May in the year of their appointment.

Sect. 41. The board of aldermen shall be sur- surveyors


veyors of highways for said city. 1323, c. 2.

But the executive powers of surveyors ofhighways are Seeisss,

• • • i -1 1 t c - 266 > § 6 -

vested in the mayor, to be exercised as provided by law.

Sect. 42. The mayor shall, in the month of City

*J ' urer


Online LibraryBoston (Mass.)Municipal register : containing rules and orders of the City Council, the city charter and recent ordinances, and a list of the officers of the City of Boston, for .. (Volume 1889) → online text (page 1 of 31)