TOWNSEND -- Selectmen adopted a new policy on reclassification of municipal positions at Tuesday night's meeting.

The policy states that any department, board or commission can request that a position be reclassified to better reflect the duties of the job by submitting a questionnaire and an edited job description reflecting any changes to the town administrator.

Selectmen will then review the request, and if it is deemed justified, the board will send it to an outside consultant for an objective ruling.

Before Tuesday's meeting, there had been no official procedure to appeal a position's classification.

Two points of discussion on the new policy were whether the board would make decisions on whether to reclassify or if it would refer requests to an outside party, and whether the board should reserve the right to limit the number of reclassification reviews it will consider.

Town Clerk Susan Funaiole recommended making decisions on the requests in-house to cut costs, and said limiting the number of requests would be unfair to those who wish to apply but miss the cutoff.

Selectmen voted to uphold its original policies, saying the board lacked the human-resources expertise to make objective decisions.

"We're really not HR people," said Selectmen Chairman Sue Lisio. "We're keeping that objectivity with a neutral party."

"I think we'd be delusional to think otherwise," added Selectman Robert Plamondon.

Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan dismissed an idea of assembling a personnel board to deal with reclassification requests as impractical and potentially unfair, as those on the board would be living and working with those applying for reclassification.

"If you want a truly objective personnel system, this is the way to go about it," he said.

The board also decided to reserve the right to limit the number of requests it will review to prevent the review process from getting out of hand.

"It's really more to let people know that this isn't going to be ongoing," Lisio said. "We're not going to review everyone every year."

"There needs to be something that caused a significant change that we can justify," she said.

The need for a reclassification policy was recognized after the Board of Health requested that the position of health administrator be classified at a higher level to better reflect the job description.

Selectmen voted to send the Board of Health's request to Human Resources Services, Inc. for further review.