ABOUT TOWN: Can Stoughton's Town Meeting Be Improved?
Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPROVING TOWN MEETING: A meeting was held in the Yaitanes Room in Town Hall on June 28, chaired by Selectmen Cynthia Walsh and Bob O'Regan, on policies and procedures Selectmen may take on improving Town Meeting.
There has been much discussion about the length of Stoughton's Town Meeting's after it went nine sessions this year and went 10 sessions in 2011.
O'Regan said he really just wanted to meet with Walsh and discuss the parameters of the subcommittee, and that's why he posted the meeting. The two selectmen are the only members of the Town Meeting Subcommittee.
They propose to collect information about the reason for the large number of warrant article and slow process of Town Meeting, and recommend improvements by a deadline of September 1, 2012.
They also intend to identify deficiencies in how information is presented to town meeting; draft guidelines for submission of proposed articles by Department Heads; and recommend procedures for improving presentation of information on petitioned articles.
Several people were allowed to speak at the meeting. When the length of the meetings was being discussed and how there is a feeling Town Meeting takes too long, School Committee member and Pct. 2 Vice Chair George Dolinsky said, "This is really a maximum of only 30 hours a year for serving on Town Meeting. When you run for the position, you know the amount of time it takes. There's a commitment in time for all volunteer activities."
O'Regan said he was worried "that Town Meeting is a dreadful experience. We lose them [new representatives]. That's a very high cost to the town. That's the future. I'd like to make town meeting a more positive experience."
Town Moderator Howard Hansen said that the Executive Authority is the Town Manager and not the Board of Selectmen. He said, "Selectmen try to appease everyone when they shouldn't, resulting in too many articles on the warrant."
Faces In The Crowd included Board of Assessor Stan Zoll, Town Meeting member Cindy Pazyra, School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural, Town Meeting member Dr. Roberta Camacho, Barbara and John Anzivino of the Fincom and Board of Selectmen, respectively; Former FinCom Chair Holly Boykin, Fincom Member Patricia Colburn, and of course, our own Stoughton Patch editor Jeffrey Pickette.
Want to speak on this issue? There will be a public hearing on Thursday, July 19 at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall on the third floor of the Town Hall.
For more information, click here.
TIME CHANGE: Ahavath Torah Congregation's Hausman Memorial Lecture Series presents an evening with retired Lieutenant General William G. "Jerry" Boykin for “A General’s Perspective: US/Israeli Relations – The Ties That Bind."
It takes place Wednesday July 11 at the Ahavath Torah Congregation, 1179 Central Street in Stoughton.
A special Meet and Greet event with Lt. General Boykin of Black Hawk Down Fame, will begin at 5:30 p.m., with admission at $100 per person. General admission will begin at 7 p.m. at $20 per person.
For more information, click here.