Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 30, 2013

Town Meeting should be preserved


I would suggest that open Town Meeting achieves voter representation in a much more effective way, as evidenced by the last two nights of this year’s meeting. Constituents from many special interest groups were represented, yet each voter could speak on his or her own behalf.

There are of course ways we could change how we conduct our open Town Meeting. Perhaps budget items should be discussed in a spring meeting and zoning items discussed in a fall meeting. Or we might draw article numbers from a hat, so that voters have to be at the meeting to be present for their pet article. I have suggested to the selectmen and School Committee that we shut down all other activities on town meeting nights so that we aren’t creating a conflict for citizens with other activities in town. More than 30 years ago, the voters decided to end Saturday meetings and elected to go to weeknight meetings. Perhaps that could be revisited.

Yes, we could improve. But end open Town Meeting? Take away the one place in government where any citizen in this town can make a difference? I don’t think that should be encouraged on any level.

Madame editor, how can open discourse and individual choice possibly be holding this community back?

Sheila M. Doherty

Town Moderator

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