State law, notably Chapter 415 of the Acts of 1987, sets a mandatory retirement age of 65 for police officers, firefighters and correction officers. The only exception is for a city or town to seek a home-rule petition from the Legislature and governor to get around it, usually for very specific terms. Only a handful of municipalities have done so.

Small towns with limited public safety resources have pursued home-rule petitions to give them flexibility and more time to replace key personnel.

But the measure has drawn criticism in other communities as a potential health and safety risk that is more about favoritism than local needs.

MORE: http://www.telegram.com/article/20140520/NEWS/305209805/1116