|Salem's Historical Forms of Government|
In 1981-1982, Salem attempted to adopt a representative legislative body with a nine-member Town Council, but that measure failed. In 1998, Salem adopted a charter under the provisions of RSA 49-D:2,II-a. The 1998 charter consisted of three sessions: a first open session, an election with an official ballot session, and a final open session, RSA 49-D:3,II-a. A copy of the 1998 charter (which was repealed in 2012) may be viewed here. In 2009, Salem again attempted to adopt a town charter, but the Charter Commission was unable to agree on all the components in the allowed length of time. In 2012, Salem adopted the provisions of RSA 40:13, known as SB2 (Senate Bill #2), repealing the 1998 charter and making Salem an official ballot voting town. This is our current form of government.
On March 8, 2022, Salem voters approved two articles that allowed the creation of a Charter Commission, charged with the task of reviewing Salem’s current form of government, and to “draft a municipal charter.” On April 26, Salem voters elected nine members to serve on the Charter Commission out of a field of 35 candidates.
The Charter Commission will evaluate all forms of government allowed in New Hampshire, including all seven forms of town government and two forms of city government. The Commissioners must follow a timeline outlined by state statutes. Once they have agreed on a draft charter, the Offices of the Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Department of Revenue, must approve of the wording. Upon approval, the proposed charter will be presented to the voters in Salem, who will vote in March 2023 to either accept the draft charter, or reject the entire proposed form of government, in which case Salem will remain as an SB2 town.