The town of Newstead is governed by a five member board. Currently four councilpersons and a Supervisor make up the board. In New York State, our towns have been organized with an elective legislative body - Town Board. In the Town Board is placed the responsibility for making the present day decisions. Only in special instances is a vote of the residents of the town required. The councilpersons are elected for a four-year term; the Supervisor is elected in the Town of Newstead for a two year term.
The town is a second class town that limits the board to five members. Town justices use to be on the board, being replaced by councilpersons over the years ( the last being in 1978)
The town board, as a group, is the executive head of the town, there being no true executive in town government comparable with the status of a mayor of a city or village, or with the governor of the state. Thus, while the Supervisor presides at town board meetings and may be assigned certain powers of administration and supervision, the additional duties and responsibilities of supervisor are only those which result from that position's statutory role as town treasurer. Many state statues refer to supervisor as the " Chief executive officer".
The town board, as the executive body of the town, acts as a unit and must function as a body. An individual board member may not unilaterally act on behalf of the town board.
Since January 1, 1964, all towns have enjoyed constitutional home rule powers. Town board members need to be registered to vote , which requires residency, age and citizenship.
The town board meets for work session on the first and third Mondays of each month. The regular meetings are on the second and fourth Mondays. Works sessions usually start at 7:30 pm. Regular board meetings start at 8 pm, with a work session before that usually starts at 7:15 pm