Brookline Town Meeting to consider renaming Board of Selectmen as Board of Selectwomen

In November, members of Brookline Town Meeting will get to decide whether to recognize the fact that women can and do serve as the town's top elected officials by voting on a measure that would replace "selectman" and "selectmen" with "selectwoman" and "selectwomen" in town bylaws.

Michael Burstein, a Precinct 12 Town Meeting member, says he submitted the warrant article for the Nov. 14 special Town Meeting after reading an article about attempts to formally change "selectmen" and "aldermen" as sole official titles in other Massachusetts communities.

Two of the current five members of the Brookline Board of Selectmen are women.



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    Hey Brookline

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    If this is what you pay Selectmen/Selectwomen to do maybe its time to evaluate dissolving the position(s) entirely.

    In case you're not familiar with how town government works ...

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    Selectmen had nothing to do with this proposal. It's by a member of Town Meeting, which is sort of like the local version of congress, in a place that has a five-member presidency (Brookline, now being the largest town in the state and all, also has elected Town Meeting members - it's the smaller towns with the old Norman Rockwellish town meetings where any resident can vote).

    Why not "Selectperson"?

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    Just degender it all together.

    Will save hassle when it comes to the fact that people don't come in two strictly defined genders even when you confine it to genotype and phenotype.

    To reinforce the idea

    I'm guessing they are trying to reinforce that if women can serve as a Selectman, why can't men serve as a Selectwoman. It's the counter argument for people who say the term is fine.

    The english language sucks.

    Go One Better...

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    Just refer to them officially as "The Selectfolk" and call it a day.

    You also include non-binary folks AND you still get to have a cool 17th-century-esque title!

    Kind of a catchy title

    I think they should change it to Selectwomen - let men roll with the title for - oh let's pick 5 election cycles - see how they feel for a change - then open the question up again for a gender neutral title

    I also read that there is a

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    I also read that there is a movement in Melrose to rename the Board of Aldermen as the City Council.

    I don't really see an issue with any of these changes, though Selectwomen just seems dumb. Just go gender neutral...

    But not in a town

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    Which, of course, doesn't have city councilors. To get a city council, Brookline voters would have to go through a whole charter change, like Framingham just did - decades after the idea was first proposed. The state's very strict on such things (really). We need not discuss the oddity officially called the City Known as the Town of Watertown, which has a town council.

    One can't

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    Because they're not town Councillors Councillors serve on a council. The members of a town's executive branch serve on a board.

    Having a "Town Council" works

    Having a "Town Council" made up of "Town Councilors" works just fine in other states. Or have a "Town Board" made up of "Board Members." The rest of this is too clever by half.


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    The state has several different types of allowed municipal governments. Towns run by town councils (such as Franklin) don't have town meetings. If Brookline wanted to have town councilors, voters would have to approve a new town charter, one that would end town meeting (don't worry, there are different types of city governments, too - compare Boston's strong-mayor system with the weak-mayor system in Cambridge and Worcester).

    Let's not even discuss the governor's council :-).

    Just do it

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    To avoid the legal expenses, the wrath of the ACLU, Gloria Steinem, etc.

    Ooh, that Gloria Steinem

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    Always sticking her nose in small-town politics. Definitely a top-5 problem in local governance. Glad to see you're on it, champ.


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    If there is a male on the board is he emasculated ?

    I dunno

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    Are the two women on the board now defeminized?

    Select Board

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    Several towns in MA use Select Board.