As outlined in Chapter III, Section IV of our Town bylaws, the Finance and Advisory Committee is comprised of 5 residents who “shall consider all articles and warrants for town meetings involving an appropriation or expenditure of money or the disposition of any property of the town. The Committee shall hold prior to each annual town meeting one or more meetings at which the Selectmen and other invited officers, boards and committees of the town shall be present to consider the items which make up the annual budget and any other municipal matters. In discharge of its duty, said Committee shall have free access to all books of record and accounts, bills and vouchers on which money has been or may be paid from the town treasury. Officers, boards and committees of the town shall furnish said Committee upon request with facts, figures and any other information pertaining to their several activities. The recommendations of the Committee on the articles in the warrant for the annual town meeting shall be printed in the annual town report, which shall be distributed, if possible, one week before the date of said meeting.”
The Finance & Advisory Committee also has statutory authority to make transfers from the Town’s reserve fund to departmental budgets for extraordinary or unforeseen occurrences. It may approve, with the Selectmen, some budget transfers during the last two months of the fiscal year and the first 15 days of the next year in order to close out the Town’s financial records.
In accordance with Wenham’s By-laws Chapter 5 Section 20, the Wenham Finance Committee Appointing Committee is composed of the Town Moderator, Finance Committee Chairperson, and the Select Board Chairperson. The Committee’s charge is to fill vacancies on the Wenham Finance Committee occurring due to the six year/two-term limit or by resignation.
- In anticipation of Finance Committee member departures on 30 June at the end of the fiscal year, the Appointing Committee will request the Town Administrator post the vacancy(s) on the town website no later than February 1st for appointments effective July 1st.
- In the case of a resignation, after a 20-day vacancy advertisement on the town website, the Finance Committee Appointing Committee shall meet and consider all candidates.
- Interested citizens may follow the normal process as detailed on the town website for seeking a committee position, but with inclusion of additional information requested by the Appointing Committee. The Appointing Committee requests a single page resume providing the candidate’s education, experience, and expertise in the areas of accounting, budgeting, business, finance, and municipal government. Applications for July 1st appointments are due to the Town Administrator’s Office by May 1st.
To assist potential candidates, the Appointing Committee shall maintain a Finance Committee member job description on the town website.
Finance Committee Job Description:
A Finance Committee member is responsible for the tasks laid out in Section 5-20 of Wenham’s Bylaws.
This includes reviewing and approval of the budget prepared by the Town Administrator and Finance Director at the direction of the Select Board, and the submission of the budget to Annual Town Meeting.
Review and making recommendations on all articles in any Town Meeting warrant that involve an appropriation or expenditure of money or disposition of Town property.
Participating, prior to each Annual Town Meeting, in the Finance & Advisory Committee‘s public hearing on the budget and other matters referred to it under the by-law for review.
Reviewing and voting on reserve fund transfers in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 40, § 6.
The essential functions of a Finance Committee member are:
- Consistently attend Finance Committee meetings.
- Complete the duties as defined in the Town By-law Section 5-20.
- Be knowledgeable on Wenham’s municipal budget development process.
- Be familiar with Wenham’s Finance Department activities including revenue and expenditure processes.
- Develop understanding of the functions and financial requirements of Wenham town departments and boards/commissions/committees.
- Be prepared to explain the Committee’s position on Annual Town Meeting Warrants at public hearing and at town meeting.
- The anticipated workload for a Finance Committee member is driven by the annual town budget process.
- Finance Committee meets to reorganize and introduce new members.
- Budget requests are sent to Department heads and Board/Commission/Committees chairpersons
- Department heads and chairs meet with Town Administrator and Finance Director for initial budget meetings
- Joint Select Board and Finance Committee meeting – budget kickoff meeting - revenues and expenditures forecasting
- Quintuple meeting (Select Boards (2), Finance Committee (2) and School Committee) hear preliminary information on the three budgets; HWRSD, Hamilton, Wenham
- Budget Saturday – “big picture” presentations to joint Select Board / Finance Committee from departments and boards/commission/committees.
- Finance Committee commences detailed reviews with individual departments; usually meeting weekly or biweekly on Wednesday evenings
- Finance Committee continues individual department reviews;
- Quintuple meeting (Select Boards (2), Finance Committee (2) and School Committee) receiving information on School, Hamilton, and Wenham proposed budgets
- Finance Committee has probably weekly meetings moving to final budget
- Finance Committee prepares presentation and its recommendations to Town Meeting to be included in the Warrant Booklet and has final votes thereon
- Joint Select Board and Finance Committee conducts annual Warrant Hearing scheduled on the evening of the Monday before Town Meeting
- Meeting one hour prior to Town Meeting to receive results of Hamilton town meeting, confirm presentations, resolve last minute questions
- Annual Town Meeting standard 1 p.m. start on 1st Saturday in April
Contact the Finance Committee:
Jeff Calder Chair (2024)
David Harnisch (2026)
Dano Jukanovich (2026)
Scott Schonberger (2024)
Phineas Sprague (2026)
Jeffrey Soulard, Finance Director & Town Accountant
Wenham Town Hall
138 Main Street
Wenham, MA 01984
Phone: 978-468-5520 Ext. 7