Law adopts gender-neutral language for municipal officials



MOUNT DESERT — The town charter, first adopted in 1996 and last amended in 2010, provides for an elected “board of selectmen” with the “powers necessary to carry out the administration of Town affairs.”

In June, the governor signed into law a bill changing references to “boards of selectmen” in state statutes to the gender-neutral term “select boards.”

The new law doesn’t change the name of the Mount Desert Board of Selectmen or that of any other town; it only changes how such boards are referred to in state laws. So, a town with a board of selectmen can continue to use that term unless the town’s voters decide to change it.

The town of Southwest Harbor uses the terms “select board” and “board of selectmen” interchangeably on its website. Trenton’s website uses both “town selectmen” and “select board.” Blue Hill has a “select board,” while Castine uses “selectboard” on its website.

Tremont uses “board of selectmen,” as does the town of Cranberry Isles. Frenchboro has a “selectboard.” Swan’s Island has “selectmen.” So do Orland, Lamoine and numerous other towns.

In keeping with the spirit of the new state law and to maintain consistency, The American will begin referring to all such boards as “select boards.”

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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