With 121 members opposed and six in favor, Town Meeting voted against reducing its size from 192 to 144 members, from 24 to 18 in each of the town’s eight precincts.
By a similar vote – 113 against and 15 in favor, the body also rejected a motion to increase the number of write-in signatures required to be elected to that body.
“(N)ot enough residents of the community (are) interested in being Town Meeting members to sustain a Town Meeting of 192 members,” the warrant article states, based on a number of figures, including seats available each year from 2007 to 2012 and the number of names on the ballot, as well as write-ins.
Instead of reducing the size of Town Meeting, several members, including Robert Connors in Precinct 4, suggested that members should encourage other residents to run for Town Meeting seats.
The last few years are not enough time to see a trend in Town Meeting membership, said member Will Finch from Precinct 8.
Reducing the number of members would limit discourse, said John Halsey in Precinct 1; he said he was new to the body.
The town’s representative Town Meeting is a step away from the democracy of an open Town Meeting, said Angela Binda from Precinct 5.
Jeff Parenti has provided what should be eye opening statistics through his latest post on his Billerica oriented website: http://cantgettherefromhere.wordpress.com
In addition to the information provided via the Reading Patch and Jeff’s website, Reading also lists only the names and addresses of their Town Meeting Representatives and omits e-mail addresses and telephone numbers for precinct representatives from their contact information.
In that vein, here is an update on my attempt to get such information from our Town Clerk.
I just sent a follow-up e-mail to the Secretary of State to the original request for assistance sent May 29, 2012 in how to obtain e-mail and phone information from the Town Clerk’s office for Billerica. I’ll let you know if or when I receive a reply as well as its content.
My next option is to send a copy of that e-mail to news outlets and to request assistance from the Institute for Justice in making what should be public domain information available via the courts. Again, as each milestone is reached, I will keep you appraised of any progress toward this goal.
Until then, best to all of you for your support.