The Rye Board of Selectmen is a three-member Board as permitted by New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 41:8-b. The Board’s grant of power comes from the State Legislature and can only exercise those powers specifically granted by Statute, ordinance or by-law or those powers within the authority of their office. There is no “Home Rule”.
In accordance with RSA 41:8, the Board of Selectmen functions as an executive branch to manage the “prudential” affairs of the town. This allows the Board to carry out the details of the Town Meeting votes and gives the Board authority to spend money, sign deeds, appoint new officials, compose legal ordinances and policies and enter into contractual agreements. The Board also acts as a collegial body in decision-making and conducting of town business. Under RSA 91-A, (“Right to Know”) all business, except in those situations specifically exempted by statute, must be conducted in a public session with duly posted notice.
The Board cannot interfere with the exercise of functions delegated by statute to other elected officials. However, the Selectmen have the right to obtain information from elected officials to hire personnel and set salaries (subject to appropriation by Town Meeting vote), to approve purchasing of supplies and to set rules governing safeguarding all municipal property and financial assets, RSA 41:9VI.
The Selectmen have other duties prescribed by law that do not require Town Meeting vote. Among these are the following: