Town Meeting has been postponed once again.
In a recently released statement, Town Moderator Sheila Doherty announced that the meeting, which has already been postponed once, will be postponed again from July 22 to Aug. 22. She added she’s likely to postpone it again into September.
Doherty is solely responsible for deciding when Town Meeting should be held, but she is required to discuss potential postponements with the Select Board, the director of the town’s Board of Health and with the town’s public safety departments.
In the last Select Board meeting, Doherty mentioned postponing Town Meeting to September for safety reasons.
“Given the ability of a rapid spread of the virus, the difficulty of containment, and the risk to vulnerable populations inherent in public gatherings, I have come to the conclusion that delaying the annual Town Meeting is in the best interest of the Town of Andover and its citizens,” Doherty wrote.
In the June 22 Select Board meeting, Doherty said that special legislation enacted after Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency resulting from the pandemic gives her the right to delay Town Meeting if the warrant hasn’t been signed or processed yet.
Doherty added that she can postpone Town Meeting in 30-day increments continually until 30 days after the emergency declaration has been lifted by the governor.
However, in her June 25 release she said, “Mass General Laws Chapter 39, Section 10A, does not give me the authority to continue the Annual Town Meeting for longer than 30 days from the posted date of July 22, 2020, but I do have the authority to issue further continuances, if appropriate.”
She added, “I hereby notice all of the likelihood of extending this declaration again on August 22, 2020 to a date on or about September 12, 2020.”