Home News Politics Brookline Elections: What You Need To Know Before May 2

Brookline Elections: What You Need To Know Before May 2


If you live in Brookline, chances are you have seen the elections signs around town. That’s right. On Tuesday, May 2, 2017, there is a town election. For the first time in a while the seats for Selectmen, School Committee and Trustees of the Public Library as well as the majority of Town Meeting precincts are contested.

It could be because these regular elections come after a number of people in town have taken issue with the handling of hot topics in town, including where to place a ninth school to address increased enrollment and the firing of two black police officers.

But there are some of the basic info you need to know before you go. Here’s a quick run down of the basics. Look for a follow up with info about the candidates, soon.

When are the elections? May 2, 2017.

Can I vote absentee?: Yes. Extended Absentee Voting Hours 12:30 p.m.– 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2017 and 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

What seats are up for election and what do they do? Good question. Here’s a breakdown with help from the Brookline Town website.

Members of the Board of Selectmen.

There are two seats open for the Board of Selectmen, and three people are running. Selectmen are considered the executive officers of the town, the Selectmen are vested with all the municipal authority not specifically retained by the town’s legislative body, Town Meeting. The Selectmen appoint a Town Administrator, responsible for the daily management of the town, whose powers are specified in state law. They hold regular meetings every Tuesday on the sixth floor at Town Hall if you want to go check them out. (These meetings are also televised on the local cable access channel Brookline Interactive Group, aka BIG). Some of their duties:

  • Issue the warrants for Town Meetings and make recommendations on the warrant articles
  • Initiate legislative policy by inserting articles in Town Meeting warrants
  • Implement the votes subsequently adopted
  • Review and set fiscal guidelines for the annual operating budget and the 6-Year Capital Improvements Program
  • Make recommendations to Town Meeting on the budget and Capital Improvements Program official boards
  • Hold public hearings on town issues and conferences with agencies and community under their jurisdiction
  • Represent the town before the General Court and in regional and metro affairs
  • Enforce town by-laws and regulations
  • Serve as the licensing board responsible for issuing and renewing more than 600 licenses, including common victual, food vendor, liquor, lodging house, open-air parking lot, inflammables, special events, and entertainment.

Members of the School Committee

Three seats are opening up and four people are running this year. The School Committee is made up of nine members who are elected town-wide to three year terms of service. They meet every other Thursday night during the school year, at 6 p.m. on the 5th floor of Town Hall.

The main responsibilities of the committee, per state statute, are to evaluate the superintendent, review and approve budgets for public education in the district, and to establish educational goals and policies for the schools in the district. In order to do that, members serve on a variety of sub-committees and act as liaisons to many local organizations

Town Meeting Members

Town Meeting is Brookline’s Legislative arm of government. It consists of 240 elected Town Meeting members, plus the members of the Board of Selectmen, and any state representative or state senator who resides in Brookline. In addition, the Town Moderator, who presides over Town Meeting, and the Town Clerk, who acts as secretary, are voting members. The 240 are elected by precinct, with 15 members elected from each of the town’s 16 precincts. The members are elected for staggered 3-year terms so that 5 members are elected from each precinct each year in the May annual town election.

Town Meeting is responsible for passing a balanced annual town budget, and enacts all town bylaws. An Annual Town Meeting is held in the spring to enact the following year’s budget, plus whatever other matters are placed on the Town Meeting warrant, either by the Selectmen or by citizen petition. The Annual Town Meeting is usually held the last week in May. A special Town Meeting is held each fall, usually in November, to deal with any budget changes, zoning by-law amendments, or other matters placed on the warrant. Although only elected Town Meeting members may vote and propose motions, anyone can attend and the sessions are aired live on Brookline Interactive Group’s online channel.

Library of Trustees:

Four seats are open, five people are running. Twelve residents make up the The Board of Trustees – elected to three-year terms of office. Each year, four are elected to the board. They’re tasked with working with the director of the library to help oversee the library’s services, policies and budget. They meet every second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the library on 361 Washington St.


Precinct 1 Wheelock College, 43 Hawes Street, (Monmouth Street Entrance)
Precinct 2 Coolidge Corner Branch Library, 31 Pleasant Street
Precinct 3 Theresa Morse Apartments, 90 Longwood Avenue
Precinct 4 Town Hall, Room 103, 333 Washington Street
Precinct 5 (New) Lincoln School, 19 Kennard Road
Precinct 6 BHS Schluntz Gymnasium, 115 Greenough Street
Precinct 7 Arthur A. O’Shea House, 61 Park Street
Precinct 8 Young Israel of Brookline, 62 Green Street (Side Entrance)
Precinct 9 Senior Center, 93 Winchester Street
Precinct 10 John W. Kickham Apartments, 190 Harvard Street
Precinct 11 Driscoll School, New Gymnasium, Washington Street Entrance
Precinct 12 Runkle School Gymnasium, 50 Druce Street (Front Entrance)
Precinct 13 Runkle School Gymnasium, 50 Druce Street (Front Entrance)
Precinct 14 Heath School Gymnasium, 100 Eliot Street
Precinct 15 Fire Station #6, 962 Hammond Street
Precinct 16 Putterham Branch Library, 959 West Roxbury Parkway

For more information, please go here.