In this week between leaving my job at Wellesley and beginning my job at Mt. Holyoke, I noticed that Natick’s Annual Fall Town Meeting was starting on October 20. So I decided to go see what it was all about.
Unfortunately, this meeting was a little outside the ordinary, because it was the first time the town meeting was employing electronic voting via clickers. And of course, it was more than a bit tedious to watch this whole thing – technical glitches and all – happen through the first 90 minutes of the meeting.
My notes from the night:
- We are 22 minutes in and are still going over how to use the clickers.
- 8:06 and we just finished going over electronic voting.
- There are a LOT of white people in this room. Hardly representative of the town as a whole.
- Article 1: Rescinding authorized unissued debt. Amounts range from $8m to $500.
- Now we are arguing about the difference in numbers of votes between article 1a and article 1b.
- “Point of order” is definitely the phrase of the night.
- Article 2. Oh look, a town meeting member is leaving. It’s 9pm. I’m going to leave at the same time as him so I don’t look like a jerk.
What I learned about Town Meeting: it takes a LONG time. The guy I left with said it would go from 7:30-10pm or later Tuesdays and Thursdays for at least a month. So THAT rules out a lot of people who might otherwise want to be Town Meeting members. There are 180 members of Town Meeting, 18 from each precinct. The moderator was … forceful. He knows Roberts Rules of Order forward and backward and woe to you if you didn’t say the right thing when you stood up to say your clicker wasn’t working or something like that. He actually yelled at several people who used the wrong words. WTF.
So any ideas I may have harbored about wanting to run for a seat on Town Meeting (which to begin with were somewhere between “eww” and “GAG”) are definitely now out of my mind. I do thank folks who do serve though. They have waaaay more patience than I do.