Brookline Town Government


Brookline Organizational Chart

Board of Selectmen

Brookline voters elect 5 Selectmen, who serve for 3 year terms. The selectmen head the equivalent of the executive arm of government. Within their responsibilities are: 

  • Supervising the Town Administrator who is responsible for the daily management of the Town. 
  • Appointing members of standing boards and commissions (e.g. Zoning Board).
  • Issue and make recommendations on proposals (“warrants”) at Town Meeting.
  • Adopt town administrative policies.
  • Review and set fiscal guidelines for the annual operating budget.
  • Board of Selectmen meets every Tuesday, televised on Brookline Public Access.


Town Meeting

Town Meeting is Brookline’s Legislative arm. There are 240 elected town meeting members, 15 from each of the Town’s 16 precincts. Hancock Village is precinct 16. Additional voting members of Town Meeting are the Board of Selectmen plus any state representative or senator who resides in Brookline plus the Town Moderator and Town Clerk.

Town meeting votes on the annual town budget, and on proposals put before them in the Town Meeting Warrant either by Selectmen or by citizen petition. Changes in zoning must be placed on the Warrant and approved by a 2/3 majority of Town Meeting.



There are over 30 Boards, whose members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen.

Among the most important for development and zoning are:

  • Board of Selectmen
  • Conservation Commission: proactive administration of environmental laws
  • Housing Advisory Board (HAB): preservation and creation of affordable housing. HAB makes recommendations to the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals, and to the Board of Selectmen on disbursing Brookline Housing Trust and federal HOME monies (millions of dollars).
  • Neighborhood Conservation District Commission: governs projects in neighborhood conservation districts, which are established by Town Meeting with local regulations designed to conserve neighborhoods.
  • Planning Board: guides Town growth through adoption of the Comprehensive Plan and considers zoning by-law amendments and development plans.
  • Preservation Commission: promotes protection, restoration, and preservation of Town’s historical and cultural assets.
  • Transportation Board: all matters related to parking and transportation. 
  • Zoning Board of Appeals: hears and decides appeals, applications for special permits, and petitions for variances.
  • Zoning Bylaws Committee: makes recommendations on proposed zoning amendments.


Conflict of Interest

Conflict of interest (COI) is enforced by the State Ethics Commission, and conflict of interest is governed by Mass Gen Law 268a. What are the mechanisms used in Brookline to monitor for COI violations?

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