Inside Winchester

Table of Contents

Winchester--Village and Town
Statistical Summary
Town Meeting
Town Government
Town Manager
Community Programs
Health Services
Town Finance
Planning, Zoning, and Building
The Public Library


The chief administrative officer of the Town is the Town Manager. While directly responsible to the Selectmen, the TM has considerable appointive powers, as shown on the Town Organization Chart. The Manager prepares the annual Town Budget and capital improvement program; keeps a full and complete record of the financial and administrative activities of the town; keeps an inventory of all property; is entrusted with the administration of all personnel policies; and, is the collective bargaining agent for the Board of Selectmen. The TM is also responsible for the purchase of supplies, materials, and equipment, and the awarding of all contracts for all Town agencies and departments.

The TM appoints department heads and employees for whom no other appointment provision exists in the Charter or state statutes. the Board of Selectmen has veto power over the TM's appointments. The Board may also remove the Manager according to procedures set forth in the Charter. The TM prepares a table of organization and an administrative code which is subject to the Selectmen's approval, and appoints the following:

Assistant to the Town Manager

The Assistant to the TM assists in preparing the proposed Town Budget; handles all public purchases of $500, coordinates all centralized personnel and collective bargaining activities, attends all Board of Selectmen meetings, provides staff assistance to the Board of Selectmen and handles special projects when directed by the TM.

Town Clerk (One year term, with salary)

The Clerk is responsible for keeping official records of the Town and for many activities required by state law. The Town clerk acts as the clerk of Town Meeting, certifies the action, and publishes a detailed report of its proceedings in the Annual Reports of Town Officers. The Clerk serves on the Board of Registrars; prepares the annual list of residents and the voting list; prepares the ballot in town elections; and, conducts all elections.

The Town Clerk issues marriage, hunting, fishing, dog and other sporting licenses; keeps records of births, marriages, and deaths and issues appropriate certificates; records claims against the Town, appointments made and licenses granted by the Selectmen, and other types of certificates, statements, decisions, and notices issued by Town Boards and departments.

The Town Clerk posts and records notices of all meetings of Town boards and of Committee and job vacancies. The Town Clerk is the official custodian of the Town Seal and of many other legally specified documents.

Town Treasurer-Collector (One-year term, with salary)

The Treasurer must be a resident of the Town. Duties and Responsibilities of the Treasurer are discussed in the chapter on Town Finance.

Constables (One -year terms, paid by fees)

There are three Constables, each of whom must be a resident of the town, and whose duty it is to serve legal papers on persons who are to appear in court.

Director of Public Works

The Director is responsible for the supervision and coordination of all divisions of the Department of Public Works.

The DPW includes management and supervision of the transfer station, forestry services, cemeteries, parks and playgrounds, public sewerage systems, and streets and roads. The scope of the department is shown in the organization chart on page 26.

The Department was first organized after the adoption of the Charter in 1975. Prior to that time the functions outlined above were performed by many separate departments operating under elected boards.

Town Engineer

The TE must be a registered professional engineer in Massachusetts. The TE supervises and directs all engineering work undertaken by any Town agency; prepares all necessary plans and furnishes data; and advises and assists all Town agencies in engineering matters. The TE is customarily the appointed engineer for the Planning Board.

Building Commissioner

The Building Commissioner issues building certifications and permits, enforces the Zoning By-Law, Sign By-Law, the State Building Code, and other related codes and by-laws. The Board of Appeals customarily appoints the Building Commissioner as its clerk.

He reviews plans and inspects all new construction and alterations, is responsible for the regular inspection of public facilities such as schools, churches, and other places of assembly. The Building Commissioner enforces the land-use policies of the Town and works closely with the Planning Board and the Board of Appeals.

Chief of Police

The Police Chief heads a department of 46 permanent employees (42 under Civil Service), plus 22 auxiliary policemen, who are unsalaried, and 30 part-time school crossing guards, Included in the permanent personnel are a Juvenile Officer, two trained photo and fingerprinting officers, an inspection sergeant, two officers trained in scuba diving, and a safety officer. Approximately one-half of the force are qualified emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Police equipment includes six police cruisers and three portable radar units. The Chief directs the auxiliary police, whose duties include holiday and Halloween duty, in addition to Sunday traffic duty at churches and all emergencies. The Winchester Police Department cooperates and coordinates with the Metropolitan District Commission and other law enforcement agencies.

The Fire Chief

The Fire Chief heads a department which includes 49 regular members and nine "call" firefighters. The Department enforces laws and regulations pertaining to fire prevention as well as performing their primary function of extinguishing all fires which erupt in town. Rescue work at automobile accidents and swimming and boating mishaps, resuscitations and responses to calls for help are all in the line of duty. The Department operates the town ambulance with a staff of EMTs. Firefighters give lectures on fire prevention to school children and four times a year, conduct fire drills at each of the schools. The maintenance and monthly inspection of more than 148 fire alarm boxes is another part of the Departments' job.

Winchester is a member of an automatic mutual-aid system which includes Arlington, Medford, Stoneham and Woburn, with Lexington on call if needed.

Recreation Director

The Recreation Director supervises summer and winter programs for youth and adults, as well as a "Community Use of the Schools" program. The Director is advised by a Committee on Recreation: seven citizens appointed by the Town Manager.

Community Programs and Activities

A wide variety of activities is available to Winchester residents. A significant asset of the Town is the opportunity for many types of recreation, much of it publicly sponsored. A large number of community organizations provide substantial service to townspeople.

Recreation Department

The Recreation Department operates under the direction of the Town Manager. The Recreation Director supervises year round programs for youth and adults.

e-mail comments to: