Back to Advisory Committee Minutes
Hingham Town Hall
Present: Committee Members Seelen, Manning, Dwyer, Eldredge, Ellison, Farrell, Friedman, Johnson, Lauter, MacCune, Marwill, Mooradian, O’Meara
1. Call to order
Chair Jerry Seelen called the Advisory Committee meeting to order at 7:17 PM.
2. Approval of minutes for July 14, 2009
The Committee reviewed and approved amended minutes from the meeting on July 14th 2009.
3. Special Town Meeting Warrant Article Discussion
Amy Farrell spoke on the Advisory Committee Rules and stated that she disagreed with some other Committee members’ interpretations of Rule #8, in particular (see appended 2005 Advisory Committee Rules, pp. 3-6). Amy further stated her general belief that the Committee should strive to preserve an air of neutrality about issues coming before the Committee. Several members agreed with Amy’s comments. Other members suggested that AdCom membership intentionally represents a cross-section of opinions in the Town, and that bringing those varying viewpoints to bear on issues is constructive. There was general agreement that this issue needs further discussion and debate in order that the Committee can come to a consensus regarding either retaining the existing rules or modifying them. The newly-formed Rules Study Committee will assist the full Committee in reaching that consensus prior to the beginning of the budget season (see discussion under General Business, below).
As a follow-up from the previous meeting, the Chair informed the Committee that conversations with the Town Moderator indicated that the potential modification of the Article 1b language to include all Town naming authorities was outside the scope of the original warrant article.
After a lengthy discussion on the Special Town Meeting Warrant Article 1, the Committee took the following votes:
• 11 - 0 opposed to Part (b) of Article 1. [“(That) …(b) the School Committee be prohibited from naming any school building, property or facility, or any portion thereof, except with prior Town Meeting approval or in accordance with a naming policy hereafter adopted by Town Meeting.].
• 6 - 5 for No Action on Article 1. [That (a) consistent with the recommendation of the recently formed school naming committee, the newly constructed elementary school located off Eastgate Lane be named “East School” and the library wing of such newly constructed school be named for Dorothy H. Galo, and (b) the School Committee be prohibited from naming any school building, property or facility, or any portion thereof, except with prior Town Meeting approval or in accordance with a naming policy hereafter adopted by Town Meeting.] The following people asked to be recorded in opposition: Greg MacCune, Dave Ellison, Lizzie Eldredge, Laura Marwill and Irma Lauter.
• 10 – 1 to request a paper ballot at the Special Town meeting following the required first voice vote. The Chair will inform the Town Moderator prior to the Special Town Meeting.
• The Chair voted favorably to break a tie 6-6 vote to waive all current AdCom rules and allow members not present or recused to speak at the Special Town Meeting. Mary Jane O’Meara and Amy Farrell asked to be recorded in opposition.
4. General Business
The Chair announced the formation of a Rules Study Committee headed by Vice-Chair Jack Manning to benchmark rules for Advisory Committees in similar Towns and report back to the entire AdCom. Members of the Rules Study Committee along with Jack are: Laura Marwill, Karen Johnson, Lizzie Eldredge, and Mary Jane O’Meara.
The Chair informed the group that the Planning Department would be using less than $500 of the $20,875 budgeted for consulting expenses in connection with the Harbor Study Task Force.
Two Reserve Fund Transfers have been signed by the Chair:
• Bathing Beach Sand Replacement due to the recent storm for $1,231.97
• Additional Unemployment Claims for $1,200.00
The Chair reminded the Committee to abide by the open meeting requirements pertaining to emails.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:15 PM.
1. The Advisory Committee (the "Committee") will consider all articles in any Town Meeting warrant and will report to the Town Meeting, in print or otherwise, such recommendations on each article as it deems to be in the best interests of the Town. The Committee may consider any or all municipal questions for the purpose of making reports or recommendations to the Town and may issue recommendations on referenda and other matters on any ballot, other than the choices of individuals for Offices.
2. No person holding elective or appointive Town office, including membership on a Town board or committee, will be eligible to serve on the Committee. Any member of the Committee who is appointed or elected to Town office including membership on a Town board or committee, other than appointment of the Capital Outlay Committee by the Chair of the Advisory Committee, will cease to be a member of the Advisory Committee upon the election or appointment to such office, board or committee. Any member who moves away from the Town will, upon such removal, cease to be a member of the Committee. The Chair will report any such vacancy to the Moderator, who will fill the vacancy.
3. All members are expected to attend all regular and special meetings of the Committee and of the sub-committees of which they are members. If any member is absent from five consecutive meetings of the full Committee for any cause other than illness, the position may be deemed vacant and the Chair will report such vacancy to the Moderator, who will fill the vacancy. Any person chosen to fill a vacancy in the Committee will hold office for the unexpired term of the person succeeded.
4. The Committee will annually, at its first meeting after the Annual Town Meeting, or as soon thereafter as practicable, elect a Chair, a Vice-Chair and a Secretary, each of whom will, subject to the prior termination of his or her appointment or to his or her resignation, hold office until a successor is elected. The Chair, Vice-Chair or Secretary, in that order, will have the duty to call and preside at the organizational meeting. In the event that none of said officers is any longer a member of the Committee, the Moderator will designate a member to call and preside at the organizational meeting.
5. The Chair will appoint all sub-committees and will designate a chair of each sub-committee. The chair of each sub¬committee will be responsible to the full Committee for the prompt and full performance of the sub-committee's duties. As soon as practicable after the annual organization of the Committee and the making of new sub-committee assignments, each sub-committee will meet with the department, board or committee head concerned to familiarize itself fully with the organization and the function of the department, board or committee, its plans and requirements. Upon receipt of any request for an appropriation, transfer or other action, the sub-committee will at the earliest opportunity review the matter with the department, board or committee head concerned, secure such outside advice and make such independent investigation as it deems reasonably necessary, and thereupon report its recommendations to the full Committee with its reasons therefore.
6. Meetings of the Advisory Committee will be conducted as follows:
a) The meeting must be posted in accordance with the open Meeting Law. Meeting dates and times are fixed as needed by the Chair or, in the case of the Chair’s absence or illness, the vice chair, and are usually held at the Town Hall. At the appointed time and place, assuming a quorum is present, the Chair should call the meeting to order. Eight members shall constitute a quorum of the Committee for the transaction of business, but a lesser number may adjourn from time to time.
b) The Chair should strive to be fair in appearance as well as fact. The primary role of the chair is to ensure that all opinions are voiced, and that the meeting is conducted in an orderly manner. As a matter of custom, the Chair does not vote except to cause a tie (which means the motion fails) or to break a tie.
c) The Secretary or acting Secretary will maintain accurate records of the meeting, setting forth the date, time and place, members present and action taken at each meeting, including executive sessions. The minutes of the last meeting are usually not made available to the members until the evening of the meeting. The minutes should be read, and then accepted (or changed) by voting on a motion which is seconded.
d) Meeting agendas shall be arranged by the Chair or acting Chair, as the case may be. A motion to change the order of business is in order at the beginning of a meeting or after the completion of an item and before another item is taken up. When there is no more new business, or when the hour is late, the Chair should request a motion to adjourn which is acted upon as any other motion.
e) A motion is made by any member saying, "I move....." The seconding by another member indicates that the motion is worthy of consideration; it does not suggest approval of the motion. After a reasonable opportunity for discussion, the chair should ask, "Are you ready to vote?", and "All in favor say Aye", and "All opposed say Nay". If the Chair is in doubt as to the result of the voice vote or if any member requests, a vote by a show of hands should be taken.
f) The initial motion proposes an action (or no action) on a matter; it is the main motion. A proposal to change the main motion is made by a motion to amend (a primary amendment). The amendment will be voted on first, and then the main motion (as it may have been amended) will be voted on.
g) The member proposing a motion should be invited to speak first. The Chair next should recognize other members wishing to speak. Then Town officials and department heads present should be invited to speak (or ask questions), and finally citizens and press in attendance. All statements and questions should be relevant, impersonal and no longer than necessary.
h) All votes of the Committee will be by a simple majority of the members present and voting. No member may vote except in person. Any member voting on the side that does not prevail will, on request, be recorded as being opposed to the vote of the Committee. A member not present when a vote is taken may not thereafter be recorded in opposition to the vote except on a subsequent vote on the matter upon reconsideration thereof.
i) Reconsideration of a matter requires that a motion for reconsideration be made and seconded by members who voted on the side that prevailed on the last vote taken on the matter. The members present and voting must then pass the motion by a majority vote. If the last vote taken on the matter was a voice vote, a motion for reconsideration may be made and seconded by any member.
7. No member not duly recorded in opposition will publicly oppose the Committee's recommendation on any particular matter nor will the member speak in opposition thereto at Town Meeting, either as a member of the Committee or as an individual. A member duly recorded in opposition may, either personally or through another member similarly recorded, address the Town Meeting and give his or her reasons for such opposition. A member recorded in opposition may, at any time, have such record stricken.
8. Although the Committee may vote to request the insertion of an article in the warrant for an Annual or Special Town Meeting, no member of the Committee, unless acting as a member of the Capital Outlay Committee, will act as a sponsor of any other article.
9. A call for a ballot vote by the Committee at Town Meeting pursuant to Article III, Section 8, of the Bylaws of the Town will be made only by that member of the Committee designated to make such calls by a prior vote of the Committee authorizing and directing that such calls be made, or by the Chair if no member is so designated.
10. All meetings of the full Committee will be open to the public except when the Committee, on motion duly made and seconded, votes to go into executive session. Executive sessions will be held only on those matters which if made public might adversely affect the public security, the financial interest of the Town, or the reputation of any person. (M.G.L., c.39 s.23A) Any member who wishes to move for an executive session should discuss the matter with the Chair in advance. No member will disclose any information revealed in executive session, except the Chair may, at his or her discretion, provide a statement to the public after the executive session.
11. No person will address a public meeting of the Committee without leave of the Chair, and all persons will, at the request of the Chair, be silent. If, after warning from the Chair, a person persists in disorderly behavior, the Chair may order him or her to withdraw from the meeting and, if that person does not withdraw, may order a constable or any other person to remove the disorderly person and confine him or her in some convenient place until the meeting is adjourned. (M.G.L., c.39, s.23B)
12. Any background information, statistics, supporting data, etc. necessary for the Committee's consideration on articles in the warrant must be submitted to the Committee by the proponents at least a week before the scheduled hearing. Otherwise, discussion and subsequent vote may be delayed to a future date.
13. These rules will remain in effect from year to year and will not be rescinded, modified or amended except by majority vote of the Committee after a minimum of seven days' notice in writing of-the proposed revision, modification or amendment given to all committee members. The rules should be distributed at the first meeting, and reviewed for possible revision at the earliest opportunity.
14. Questions of procedure which cannot be resolved by referring to the rules above will be resolved by majority vote of the Committee.