2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Info

Discussions about upcoming warrant arcticles or anything else related to Town Meeting.

Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby ELLE on Wed May 04, 2011 5:49 am

That's the downside of town meeting. People have other obligations and can't always clear their entire night. I left early to help my son with homework. That's just the way it is, don't read more into it than is there.
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby bferrari on Wed May 04, 2011 10:57 am

Nope, although certainly people have other commitments... if they were in a rush they would have let it go. But none of them had ever been to a meeting before, then they promptly left after their issue, that's all they cared about. Being there, it was obvious.
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby bobr on Wed May 04, 2011 11:19 am

Hello:

I am grateful for the freedom.
I can attend town meeting or not.
I can get up and speak or not.
I can arrive on time or not.
I can leave before it is over or not.
I don't have to answer to anyone except myself.

I learned an important lesson from organizing river cleanups on the Shawsheen for 25 years -
You work with whoever shows up.

Congratulations to everyone who attended any part of town meeting.

Bob Rauseo
Trying to be there when it matters.
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby swamper on Wed May 04, 2011 11:24 am

A couple of people leaving here and there is understandable...."mass exoduses" after a particular issue is voted on IMO, is not. We'll see how it plays out tonight. But I would agree that the freedom of individual choice is PRICELESS in striving to keep our OPEN TOWN MEETING GOVERNMENT intact.
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby bferrari on Wed May 04, 2011 1:38 pm

You work with whoever shows up.


Words to live by....
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby melli_fera on Wed May 04, 2011 4:12 pm

bferrari wrote:They left because they don't really understand what's going on. They left because they voted on (an ammendment, the ammendment passed) and they think, "oh we're done, let's get the heck out of here..."


That is exactly it! Would it be within the guidelines for the Moderator to explain that a particular issue is a 2-part vote (amendement and adoption)?

I hope that as time goes on, more people start to understand just how much power they have in town meeting, and how to use it. We all have conflicts from time to time and can't be there, or can't stay, but I fear that for the majority of people, they are just not engaged. You can't barricade people in there, and you can't see what people do on a paper ballot either, but I would hope that voters think that all matters brought to them are important enough to be considered.

With great power comes great responsibility...
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby swamper on Wed May 04, 2011 4:41 pm

Well stated....here's hoping Keith is the catalyst to infusing more education and understanding of the process along with a shot of passion.
There's still hope. :wink:
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby melli_fera on Wed May 04, 2011 11:43 pm

I've been scouring the Mass General Laws and the Mass. Constitution for information on what vote is required to pass a home rule petition. FYI, for those not at Town Meeting, it was questioned whether a 2/3 vote or a majority vote was required to permit the B.O.S. to submit a home rule petition to allow us to shift the sewer debt. Anyone out there actually FIND this info?

Oh, and in my search, I found that a Charter Committee is supposed to be voted into position by the voters at a town election... unless i'm interpreting it incorrectly...
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby sean_czarniecki on Thu May 05, 2011 6:45 am

Great job last night, Keith!

Suggestion for future explanations - People still don't fully understand the Indefinite Postponement motion vs. voting on the motion to approve an article. The explanation of Indefinite Postponement (IP) doesn't quite tell the voters (who aren't familiar with it) that you may not want to indefinitely postpone, but may just wish to defeat the article under the vote on the motion to approve. For example, while I stood up on the vote on the IP, I was saying out loud "this is a tough one." I wanted to defeat the article, but was also willing to let it get to the "normal" vote. A gentlemen who stood up near me thought that all was lost when he saw the numbers weren't there on IP. I explained to him why there was still a chance - some people may not have wanted the IP result. Sure enough, there was a difference of around 50 votes in the next vote. Those are the things that make Town Meeting exciting to me.... :)

In addition, to everyone else arguing for or against an article, I can only recommend that you ask/consider/explain "What happens if we do not approve this article?" Any time you see me get up to ask a question, it is always to have someone answer this question for everyone (I usually know the answer, but can tell that others don't). Nobody likes change and I often hear people arguing against an article without knowing what could/will happen if it isn't approved. Sometimes, maintaining status quo can be worse than the change. This doesn't just apply to local politics/articles....

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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby LMNOP on Thu May 05, 2011 8:31 am

melli_fera wrote:I've been scouring the Mass General Laws and the Mass. Constitution for information on what vote is required to pass a home rule petition. FYI, for those not at Town Meeting, it was questioned whether a 2/3 vote or a majority vote was required to permit the B.O.S. to submit a home rule petition to allow us to shift the sewer debt. Anyone out there actually FIND this info?

Oh, and in my search, I found that a Charter Committee is supposed to be voted into position by the voters at a town election... unless i'm interpreting it incorrectly...


Please do not give any credence to Sullivan's dog and pony show last night. Town officials did their homework and knew that a majority vote was needed for that article. That was Sullivan's way of campaigning and trying to get support for his run at selectman next year. Thanks god the voters got it right this year and his incompetence was on display last night for the voters to see firsthand.

A charter commission is elected by the voters and they have the authority to change the charter because they are elected. A charter committee is appointed and they give their review/recommendation to the board that appointed them. The board can act on the committee's findings any way they see fit. If they decide to adopt the changes brought forth by by the committee then it goes to Town Meeting and the voters ultimately get to make the final decision.
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby krauseo on Thu May 05, 2011 11:08 am

First, I want to thank the voters of Tewksbury for their efforts Monday and Wednesday. I thought people were passionate but polite, and above all they were productive.

Second, I want to thank those who, after the meetings each night, via e-mail, or via postings here or elsewhere, took the time to extend a kindness to me. It is much appreciated. I knew I loved Town Meeting, and I was pretty sure I would love being Moderator, but now I am completely certain of it. I have found where I belong, after about a 12-year search on an often bumpy road.

Third, I appreciate the suggestions that people have sent me over the last couple of days. I implemented some of them yesterday and will do my best to implement others in future meetings where appropriate.

Sean, your suggestions re: explaning the Indefinite Postponement vote and the "what happens if we vote No" scenario are both excellent. I thought the Town Manager did a good job of explaining all the possibilities involved with the sewer debt vote, and I will do my best to elicit those kinds of details from officials when it seems necessary.

Melissa, regarding the majority vs. 2/3 discussion. By default, all votes in a Town Meeting require a majority vote for passage, and the required vote for passage is greater than a majority only if defined in law. Some articles that by law require a 2/3 vote are zoning by-law changes, borrowing, and transfers of money into or out of a stabilization fund. Home Rule petitions that request changes to the town charter also require a 2/3 vote, but the Home Rule petition last night, which did not involve the town charter, required only a majority vote. All town officials involved concurred in this. As I did this week, I will always let the voters know what the required vote for passage is on every article, and, if it is greater than a majority, the reason for that requirement.

Thank you all again.
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby melli_fera on Thu May 05, 2011 12:20 pm

Thanks for your explanation, Keith. Who knew it would be so hard to weed through the MGL??!?!? I was hoping to find/read it for myself, in my desire to be an "informed" voter, but I trust that the majority vote stands (after reading some other town's warrants seeking home rule petition).

Again, I want to thank you for your direction of the Town Meeting. I've only attended a few in my 7 or so years as a resident, and, it may be a sign of me trading my youthful oblivion for responsible maturity :wink: , I felt very well informed, empowered, and less frustrated in the proceedings than I have in the past - much of it due to your direction.

I am wondering (though this may be a question for the Town Clerk), is it possible to have the counters serve as ushers of some sort? Or perhaps the police who are on detail? I know at least a handful of people entered into the hall without obtaining ribbons and were seated in the voters area. Some were made aware and went outside to check in, and some were made aware and just didn't vote. I would like to see a little more "control" on who enters the hall and where they are seated (voters vs. guests). Is this something the counters and/or the police detail can help with? Just to say, "oops, sir, I'm sorry, do you have a ribbon? Red ribbons are for visitors, the visitors' section is on the far left of the bleachers."
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby Clorox on Thu May 05, 2011 2:14 pm

Agreed on the ushers- I thought people had to be seated during the vote and I also thought the doors had to be closed for that time (no exiting or entering) which we have seen in the past. Just could be tightened up some. Most everything was clear and easy to hear and well explained. The details should have that information or get the counters to instruct the detail officers. There were voters sitting in VISITOR section as well yet there were open seats on the floor. Maybe encourage everyone to scooch to the middle to open empty seats on the floor. Good job Keith. Good job Mr. Montouri in exercising patience with all the different kinds of questions from the sublime to the ridiculous.
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby tess on Thu May 05, 2011 6:46 pm

I think it was very unprofessional hanging over the new town clerks shoulder when she was counting the votes for and against the various votes.
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Re: 2011 Annual and Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Inf

Postby Tewksbury2001 on Thu May 05, 2011 8:18 pm

I think the town officers and elected officials all did very well. Perfect in fact. They were informed, poised, professional and respectful. I can't say the same thing about some of the residents that spoke though. I was embarrased for many of them. Their tone, accusations, pointing to the camera, types of comments etc was at times unprofessional and often non relevant to the question at hand. Obviously they are entitled to say what they want, but at least it should be on point and professional and not yelling at a town official on some matter that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. I give the town officials credit for the way they handled it. Well done.
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