The annual spring Town Meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., Monday, April 22, in the auditorium of the Groton-Dunstable Middle School. As a second night will almost certainly be required to complete the business, the plan is to resume the meeting the following evening at 7 p.m.
This is a departure from the past practice of meeting on consecutive Monday nights. This year's special election for the U.S. Senate has impacted the meeting schedule. The town clerk and his able staff play an integral role in the smooth operation of both Town Meeting and our elections. It would place an unacceptable burden on them to continue the April 22 meeting to the following Monday night, mere hours from the April 30 Senate primary and town elections.
At an appropriate time on April 22, I will accept a motion to adjourn to 7 p.m., April 23, in the Middle School auditorium. The space has been reserved for the second night and arrangements made for the sound system and other technological necessities.
By now, every household should have received a warrant for the Town Meeting in the mail. The 29 articles on the warrant, as determined by the Board of Selectmen, set the agenda for the meeting. It may not be changed now that voters have been warned of the upcoming meeting.
Across New England, Town Meeting is the legislative body that appropriates funds to operate local government and passes bylaws that govern behavior within the towns. Every registered Groton voter is eligible to participate as a citizen legislator. Unlike members of the U.S. Congress, voters at Town Meeting are not professional legislators. There is no expectation that a voter be well versed in the rules and procedure that govern the meeting. As moderator, my role is to assist voters in navigating the rules and participating.
My objective is to run a fair and efficient meeting that allows voters to listen to opposing viewpoints, absorb the information presented, advocate for or against, and reach a conclusion. As moderator, I take no position on warrant articles and endeavor to treat all sides fairly. If asked, I will assist either side of an issue with equal vigor and keep confidential the information shared with me.
As such, voters should be able to reach me prior to the meeting, and I invite them to do so if they have a question or if they are considering offering any amendments. I may be reached at 978-448-6421 or at email@example.com.
I encourage all voters to attend Town Meeting -- Groton's legislature -- and exercise their right to vote.