HARVARD - Due to the blizzard conditions predicted, Harvard's Town Caucus scheduled for Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Harvard Town Hall has been postponed. Town Clerk Janet Vellante confirmed the postponement on Friday afternoon.
Originally, it was hoped that Harvard town counsel would be able to obtain a court order granting the town relief to continue the caucus warrant due to the emergency weather situation. However, Vellante said that the attorney was unable to get to the Worcester County Superior courthouse before it closed on Friday. The courts were all ordered closed as of noontime on Friday due to the weather.
"There is no provision in the law to change the date," said Vellante.
"The only options are to either get a court order to change the date or to open the caucus and adjourn it to a date and time specific," said Vellante. Vellante will now execute on the later course of action.
"I will be going to the Town Hall Saturday evening, opening the caucus and immediately adjourning it to another day," said Vellante.
At least at this point in time, only essential vehicles are permitted on the roadways during the State of Emergency declared by Governor Deval Patrick. Non-emergency personnel are to be off the roadways as of 4 p.m. today (Friday). It's not immediately known how long the State of Emergency will be in effect.
So, Vellante will have a special ride - a Harvard DPW truck - to make the trek to Town Hall. Vellante said Bragan arranged the lift for her and her husband Gabe Vellante, who is the town's Building Inspector. Vellante said one other registered voter must accompany her to bear witness to the continuation of the caucus. Vellante said she also believes the DPW plow driver assigned to transport her is also a Harvard voter for a second witness to the event.
Generally, the caucus lasts all of ten minutes, yet attracts town politicos by the dozens. The opportunity is ceremonial in part because candidates for town wide office may pick up nomination papers at the Clerk's Office during regular office hours before the Caucus is convened.
But with dozens crowded in the room, neighbors generally sign one another's papers and hand them back in to Vellante that same evening, securing themselves a place on the warrant. Candidates also have 10 added days to turn in their completed nomination papers or if they did not attend the caucus itself.
With the Town Caucus rescheduled until Saturday, March 2 at 7 p.m., the nomination paper deadline will likewise follow ten days later - March 12 at 5 p.
The selectmen voted on Tuesday night to make the Harvard Annual Town Election co-incide with the state primary to replace former Senator John Kerry on Tuesday, April 30.
Follow Mary Arata at twitter.com/maryearata.