Selectman pushing to change panel’s name to gender-neutral ‘select board’

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Foxborough Selectman James DeVellis said it was a question posed to him by a woman at the senior center in April that first gave him the idea.

“She asked if I had a daughter, and when I said ‘yes,’ she simply asked how she would feel being called a select-man,” DeVillis said by e-mail.

Inspired by the question, DeVellis plans to propose that the town change the name of the Board of Selectmen to the Select Board, removing all reference to gender. DeVellis said he plans to kick off the effort by discussing it with his board at an upcoming meeting, most likely on June 25.

If his proposal is adopted, Foxborough would join a small but growing number of Massachusetts towns that have renamed their executive body the “select board.” An informal search of municipal websites found about 19 of the state’s 301 towns now use that name, most in the western part of the state.

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