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Town Meeting Procedures Review Committee to Be Appointed

Please find pasted below a resolution that was unanimously adopted by the Board of Selectmen last evening, with the concurrence of the Town Moderator.  The resolution establishes a temporary advisory committee to the selectmen and Town Moderator to review, evaluate and make recommendations on proposals on procedures and logistics which may make Town Meeting more efficient, effective and user-friendly.
 
As you can see, it is anticipated that the temporary advisory committee will be appointed by February 1st so it can conduct at least two public forums during the month of February.  The committee is expected to file preliminary findings and recommendations by April 26th, especially concerning an articles submitted for the 2010 Annual Town Meeting Warrant on this subject.  A final report will be presented by June 2nd so recommended changes may be considered at a Special Town Meeting in the fall of 2010 and implemented by the 2011 Annual Town Meeting.
 
Please publicize the creation of this committee so interested individuals may volunteer to serve as one of the four voters appointed to serve on the committee.  Citizens are requested to submit a letter of interest that includes a biographical sketch to the Selectmen’s Office in Town Building or by email to the Board of Selectmen through the Town Administrator at fturkington@wayland.ma.us and to the Town Moderator at pgossels@socialaw.com not later than Wednesday, January 27.  The selectmen and Town Moderator each will select two citizens from among the pool of interested citizens.
 
Thanks,
Fred Turkington
Town Adminstrator
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Resolution Establishing a Temporary Advisory Committee to the Town Moderator and Board of Selectmen on Town Meeting Procedures
 
MOTION:
RESOLVED, that the Board of Selectmen, in collaboration with the Town Moderator, establish a temporary advisory committee to be known as the Town Meeting Procedures Review Committee.
The committee shall be comprised of seven (7) members, including the Town Moderator, one (1) member of the Board of Selectmen, one (1) member of the Finance Committee; two (2) voters appointed by the Moderator; and two (2) voters appointed by the Board of Selectmen.  The Moderator shall serve as chair of the committee.
 
The purpose of the committee shall be to consider proposals and advise the Town Moderator, the Board of Selectmen, the Finance Committee, and the Town Administrator on procedures and logistics which may make Town Meeting more efficient, effective and user-friendly.
 
The committee shall file a preliminary report its activities and provide recommendations on articles regarding Town Meeting not later than April 26, 2010 and file a final report by June 2, 2010 unless this date is so extended by vote of the Board of Selectmen.
 
PURPOSE:
The committee is being formed at the suggestion of and with the concurrence of the Town Moderator to review, evaluate and recommend changes to the Town Meeting process that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of voter discussion, collaboration and decision-making, ensure the accuracy of voting counts, minimize voting times, increase voter participation and facilitate a voting process that is inclusive of all registered Wayland voters.  These suggestions can be generally categorized into several groupings, not limited to:
  1. proposals that attempt to modify the Moderator’s Rules or amend Town By-Laws that govern the conduct of Town Meeting, such as electronic voting, restricting the right of 7 voters to challenge the declaration of vote by the Moderator to voice or standing votes, limiting the time for debating an article, or restricting a motion to move the question;
  2. suggestions for logistical changes, such as improved sound system, changing the layout of the assembly, appointment and training of tellers, better defined sections to separate groups of voters, or restricting movement during voting;
  3. proposals to change the form of Town Meeting, such as establishing a representative town meeting; or,
  4. ideas suggested to improve participation in the decision-making component of Town Meeting, such as scheduling Sunday sessions, use of the Australian ballot for certain articles, or dividing town meeting into separate sessions to debate articles followed by an election to vote on the articles.
It is the intent of the Board of Selectmen to make available the following resource materials to the members of the temporary advisory committee:  recommendations of the 2005 Town Meeting Study Committee; the response prepared by the Town Moderator to those recommendations; a summary of those recommendations implemented and those not implemented; and a list of proposals submitted to the Board of Selectmen since the conclusion of the fall 2009 Special Town Meeting. 
It is the expectation of the Board of Selectmen and the Town Moderator that the committee will convene and hold at least two public forums to gather additional suggestions and proposals by February 26, 2010, with the goal of presenting a preliminary report and recommendations at a meeting of the Board of Selectmen on April 26, 2010, especially on any proposals that are inserted as articles in the Annual Town Meeting Warrant for discussion beginning May 10, 2010.  The committee should submit a final report by June 2, 2010 so that recommendations may be discussed and any items requiring Town Meeting articles considered at any Special Town Meeting called in the fall of 2010.

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