The Town of Thomaston has a Selectman-Town Meeting form of government, which is the traditional governmental organization of New England towns. The legislative power of the Town is vested in a Board of Selectmen and the Town meeting.
The present-day duties of the selectmen include responsibility for town road building and maintenance, administration of the town's social service program, and keeping the financial records for the Town. The selectmen must approve all expenditures from the town treasurer except those for schools, and they designate depositories for town funds. The board of selectmen has an overall view of the town government's problems and concerns with the ability to convene town meetings and seek legislative action. The First Selectman is clearly the chief executive who serves as coordinator of all the activities of the town government.
There are also a number of elected boards and commissions which are responsible for administering certain functions. Boards of finance originated with the need for a town agency which would consider the financial aspects of the town government as a whole rather than from the point of view of any particular office or department. It is the board of selectmens responsibility to prepare a budget in conjunction with the various town departments. Evaluating those requests, compiling the total budget, and presenting it to the annual budget town meeting is the responsibility of the board of finance.
The board of finance is responsible for setting up the town's accounting system and for preparing the annual town report. The board of finance must approve additional appropriations needed by any town department after the budget has been adopted. Appropriations in excess of $20,000 must be approved by vote of a Town meeting. The board also must approve transfer of any unexpended balance from one appropriation to another within the general town budget and appropriations may not be used for any other purpose without board approval, however these latter provisions do not apply to the board of education portion of the budget. The legal level of control (the level at which expenditures may not legally exceed appropriations) is at the department level.