Board of Selectmen

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Elected Officials, 3 years terms, expiring March.

The Board of Selectmen is the governing body for the Town of Auburn’s municipal government. According to state statute, “the selectmen shall manage the prudential affairs of the town and perform the duties by law prescribed.”  (RSA 41:8).

Authority rests with the board acting as a whole (RSA 41:8). All actions taken by the selectmen must be voted on by a majority of the board at a public meeting that complies with the Right to Know law (RSA 91-A).

New Hampshire is not what is commonly called a “home rule” state, meaning that local governments cannot take actions or perform functions that the State Legislature has not enabled it to do by state statute. The Board of Selectmen and all other local officials derive their authority from the New Hampshire Legislature.

While the Board of Selectmen’s authority to manage is broad, it is not unlimited. For example, the town meeting appropriates money, but under the authority given them in RSA 41:9, the selectmen spend it. If the town meeting votes to buy or sell land, it is the selectmen who sign the deed. Most policy choices rest with the legislative body (town meeting), while the selectmen manage the facilities and personnel and administer contracts to implement those policies. The selectmen are not expected to perform all of the tasks they have overall responsibility on a day-to-day basis. They normally delegate the performance of day-to-day tasks to various department heads, officials or employees.

In addition to its broad prudential functions, the Board of Selectmen is provided substantive authority under a number of specific state statutes. Among the variety of duties and responsibilities assigned to the Selectmen include:

  • Regulation of town highways and commons  (RSA 41:11)
  • Layout of highways (RSA 231:18 – 19)
  • Hazardous and dilapidated buildings and excavations (RSA 155-B)
  • Licensing of many different purposes including community events (RSA 31:100), transient vendors (RSA 31:102-a), and parades and other types of shows (RSA 286)
  • Permitting the operation of junkyards (236:111 – 129)
  • Health regulations (RSA 147)
  • Setting fees for regulatory programs such as building permits (RSA 41: 9-a) or use of various town facilities.
  • Establish and amend local welfare guidelines (RSA 165:1)
  • Manage and regulate use of town property (RSA 41:11-a)
  • Financial accounting and safeguarding (RSA 41:9)
  • Appointing of other officials (RSA 41:2, RSA 41:18, RSA 41:29-a, RSA 41:38, RSA 128:1) and filling of vacancies (RSA 652:12 and RSA 669:62 – 75)

The Selectmen are individually elected to office for staggered three-year terms of office.

Board Members

Name Title
James F. Headd Chairman (March 2019)
Richard W. Eaton Vice Chairman (March 2020)
Dale W. Phillips Selectman (March 2018)

Staff Contacts

Name Title Phone
William G. Herman, CPM Town Administrator (603) 483-5052
Kathryn R. Lafond Executive Assistant (603) 483-5052 Ext. 100
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