Create a new Article 3.23 in the Town's General By-Laws pertaining to the Brookline Commission on Disability

Petitioner: Brookline Commission on Disability

Annual Town Meeting, May 2017

At its Special Town Meeting in November, 1986, Town Meeting voted in favor of Article 25 to accept the provisions of M.G.L. Chapter 40, Section 8J, to establish a local Handicapped Commission. A Brookline Handicapped, or Disability, Commission has operated continuously since Article 25 was approved (under several different names). Article 25 did not call for the creation of any By-law. Therefore, there is no By-law within the Brookline Town By-laws concerning a handicapped or disability Commission. Furthermore, there is no record of approval of any principles and procedures for the Commission itself.

The purpose of the Brookline Commission on Disability (BCOD) is to coordinate or carry out programs in coordination with programs of the Massachusetts Office on Disability in order to bring about full and equal participation in all aspects of life in the Town of Brookline for people with disabilities. A purpose of this By-law is to establish principles and procedures for the governance of the Commission. The principles and procedures proposed in this Article are based on a Commission on Disability By-law model proposed by the Massachusetts Office on Disability and found on its website,

Official Town Meeting Vote Select Board Advisory Board

Favorable Action

Favorable Action

Favorable Action




Final Result:

Favorable Action

Community Organization Recommendations
PAX Green Caucus
Official Text of the Article

VOTED: That the Town create a new Article 3.23 in the Town's General By-laws, as follows:



The purpose of this Article is to establish the Brookline Commission on Disability (the "Commission") under the Town of Brookline's General By-laws, and to establish
principles and procedures for the governance of the Commission. The purpose of the Commission is to bring about the integration and participation of people with disabilities in the Town of Brookline in coordination with programs of the Massachusetts Office on Disability. The Commission shall work in conjunction with the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations for purposes of resource allocation and administrative support. The Town's ADA Coordinator, a staff position located within the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations, shall be an ex officio member of the Commission, shall attend Commission meetings and shall serve as the primary conduit of communication with the Town of Brookline's Chief Diversity Officer.


Person with a disability shall mean any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.

People with disabilities shall for the purpose of this by-law mean the plural of "person with a disability."


The Commission on Disability as established under M.G.L. Chapter 40, Section 8J, and shall perform and discharge all of the powers and duties set forth in said Section 8J. These powers and duties include:

(1) Research local problems of people with disabilities;

(2) Advise and assist municipal officials and employees in ensuring compliance with state and federal laws and regulations that affect people with disabilities;

(3) Coordinate or carry out programs designed to meet the problems of people with disabilities in coordination with programs of the Massachusetts office on disability;

(4) Review and make recommendations about policies, procedures, services, activities and facilities of departments, boards and agencies of said city or town as they affect people with disabilities;

(5) Provide information, referrals, guidance and technical assistance to individuals, public agencies, businesses and organizations in all matters pertaining to disability;

(6) Coordinate activities of other local groups organized for similar purposes;

(7) Work in cooperation with the departments and agencies of the Town of Brookline to bring about maximum participation of people with disabilities;

(8) Initiate, monitor, and promote legislation at the city, state and federal level which advances the equal status of people with disabilities and ensure that appropriate regulations are adopted and enforced pursuant to such legislation;

(9) Encourage public awareness of disability issues;

(10) Compose a mission statement for the Commission. Review the statement every five (5) years, and revise it as needed. Post the statement on the Commission's web site;

(11) Prepare written long term goals that are specific, measurable and relevant to the Commission's mission. Review these goals every five (5) years and revise as
needed. Prepare written short term goals annually;

(12) File an annual report which shall be printed in the Town's annual report, listing current members and summarizing Commission accomplishments;

(13) When needed, and as an aid to the Board of Selectmen, the Commission may recommend prospective Commission members for appointment by the Board of Selectmen. The Commission shall endeavor especially to solicit nominations that reflect diversity in type of disability to the greatest extent possible. Members of the public are welcome to apply directly to the Board of Selectmen for appointment. A recommendation for appointment from the Commission shall only be advisory and not necessary to receive appointment to the Commission on Disability;

(14) Take such action as the Commission considers appropriate to ensure the purposes of this By-law are met.


The Commission shall consist of seven (7) or nine (9) volunteer members appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The majority of members shall consist of people with disabilities. One member shall be a member of the immediate family of a person with a disability. One member shall be a member of the Board of Selectmen or a Department Head. All members shall serve three-year terms. Terms shall be staggered to preserve continuity. Resignations shall be made by notifying the Board of Selectmen and Town Clerk in writing. If any member is absent from three or more regularly scheduled meetings in any one calendar year, a recommendation shall be made by the chairperson to the Board of Selectmen that such member be removed from the Commission, unless any or all absences are excused for good cause by the chairperson. Good cause shall include, but not be limited to: illness, a death in the family, severe weather, and professional responsibilities. The Board of Selectmen shall fill any vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term in the same manner as an original appointment. Any members of said Commission may, after a public hearing if so requested, be removed for cause by the Board of Selectmen. No member shall undertake to speak or act on behalf of the Commission without the approval of the Commission. All members, with the exception of the Town's ADA Coordinator, shall have full voting rights.


Officers of the Commission shall include a chairperson, deputy chairperson, secretary and treasurer. Officers shall be elected annually by a majority vote of the Commission. One member may hold more than one office. The chairperson shall: develop meeting agendas in coordination with the other officers and staff; preside over all meetings; appoint subcommittees as needed; and authorize expenditures as needed. The deputy chairperson shall: perform all the functions of the chairperson in the chairperson's absence. The secretary shall: create and maintain minutes of all meetings; maintain copies of correspondence; and make sure all meetings are posted. In absence of a secretary, other Commission members or the ADA Coordinator shall undertake these duties. The treasurer shall: regularly inform the Commission of the status of any funds from gifts received by the Commission (and approved by the Board of Selectmen), as well as the status of any other funding to which the Commission may have access, and prepare a financial report for inclusion in the annual report, as needed.


Regular meetings of the Commission shall be held at least ten (10) times a year. A quorum for a nine (9) member Commission shall consist of five (5) members; a seven (7) member Commission quorum shall consist of four (4) members. Meeting minutes shall be reviewed approved, and posted in a timely manner. Special meetings may be called by the chairperson or by any three (3) members. Votes on all matters concerning the Commission shall be made by a majority of those members present.…