Municipal Light Board – 2022 Change in Governance


Belmont Light is established as Belmont’s municipal light plant (MLP) under Mass. General Laws, Chapter 164.  Since 1938, the Belmont Select Board has served as the Municipal Light Board, with guidance from the Light Board Advisory Committee (previously the Municipal Light Advisory Board) since 2005.  With the Town Meeting vote in approval of Article 2 on May 3, 2021, a new elected, 5-member Municipal Light Board, separate from the Select Board, will be chosen during the 2022 Town Election in accordance with M.G.L., Ch. 164, sec. 55.  Further, with the certification of the 2022 Town Election, the Select Board will cease to act as the Municipal Light Board and the Light Board Advisory Committee, which was created under the current Municipal Light Board setup, will be dissolved.

In Massachusetts, light boards are comprised of individuals who may or may not have extensive technical experience in power supply, transmission, distribution, and other matters.  This is because the Legislature has created a system in which light boards establish policy that is then executed by a general manager, who typically possesses the technical ability to run the daily operations of the light plant.

How is the Municipal Light Board Elected?

The makeup of the initial Municipal Light Board (MLB) election will be as follows: 

  • Two members will be elected for three-year terms
  • Two members will be elected for two-year terms
  • One member will be elected for one-year term

This initial makeup is set up to create a cycling of members, so that there are not more than two MLB elections per year following the initial year.  Following the initial election, each MLB election will be for 3-year terms.

What are the duties of the Municipal Light Board?

The Municipal Light Board acts as the general policy and oversight board for Belmont Light.

Under the statute, the Municipal Light Board is responsible for:

  • Hiring, firing, setting the compensation for, and providing general direction to the General Manager of Belmont Light.
  • Acting as the general policy and oversight board for Belmont Light.
  • Approving the department’s rates and terms and conditions, with the recommendation of the General Manager.
  • Reviewing the annual audited financial reports from the General Manager.
  • Approving and signing annual reports submitted to the Department of Public Utilities by Belmont Light.
  • Voting on the annual budgets submitted by the General Manager.
  • Determining when and how depreciation funds should be appropriated in accordance with state law.
  • Acting as the Chief Executive Officers for the purpose of collective bargaining with labor unions (in Belmont Light’s case, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 104).

Conversely, the General Manager is responsible for:

  • Hiring, firing, and oversight of employees, attorneys, consultants, and independent contractors.
  • Purchasing supplies, which includes the power supply.
  • Managing all aspects of the distribution system.
  • Preparing and submitting the department’s annual budget to the Board.
  • Overseeing billing and accounts.

Municipal Light Board Members

Mark Paolillo
Chair | Liaison to LBAC
Term ends 2024

Roy Epstein
Vice Chair
Term ends 2022

Adam Dash
Board Member
Term ends 2023

Light Board Advisory Committee Members

Travis Franck
Term ends 2022

Michael Macrae
Vice Chair 
Term ends 2023

Jonathan Abe
Committee Member
Term ends 2023

David Beavers
Committee Member 
Term ends 2022

Bob Forrester
Committee Member 
Term ends 2022

Steve Klionsky
Committee Member 
Term ends 2024

Alexandra van Geel
Committee Member
Term ends 2024

Light Board Advisory Committee Charge

(Updated September 17, 2018)

Purpose:  The Light Board Advisory Committee (LBAC) shall advise and support the Municipal Light Board (MLB) and Belmont Light (BL) on issues and opportunities pertaining to BL, including, without limitation, strategic planning, operational programs, rate setting, purchase power arrangements, climate action goals, demand response, public policy, and financial planning and viability.  The LBAC will provide this advice and support in coordination with the MLB, the entity with statutory authority over BL.

Composition:  The LBAC shall be comprised of seven (7) voting members appointed by the MLB, including persons with expertise in at least some of the following areas:  Legal and regulatory matters related to electric utilities, electric power engineering, finance, accounting, economics, sustainability, and renewable energy.  The members will be appointed to staggered three-year terms.

Meeting Agendas and Minutes

Municipal Light Board Meetings

Light Board Advisory Committee Meetings

Note: Documents for Joint Municipal Light Board-Municipal Light Advisory Board meetings are included under the Municipal Light Board menus above.