Town Meeting Information Guide

Town Meeting Information Guide

Official Complete Town Meeting Information on E-Code 

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Town Meeting Held?

Town meeting is held 2x per year, once in November and once in April.  The official determination is as listed below.

Sec. 2-9 Procedures

(a)    Time of Meeting [Amended 11-17-2008 STM by Art. 15]

 

The Town Meeting shall meet at least twice each calendar year. The annual town meeting shall be held within thirty (30) days of the first Monday in April, said date to be determined by the Board of Selectmen, or on such date as may from time to time be fixed in the by-laws of the Town, shall be deemed to be the Annual Town Meeting of the Town and is expected to be primarily concerned with the determination of matters involving the expenditure and commitment of Town funds, including, but not limited to, the adoption of an annual operating budget for all Town agencies, and for the purpose of electing officers and for the determination of all other matters to be decided by ballot of the voters.

 

A regular Town Meeting shall be held within thirty (30) days of the first Monday in November, said date to be set by the Board Selectmen, or on such date as may from time to time be fixed in the by-laws of the Town, shall be deemed to be the Annual Financial Meeting of the Town and is expected to be primarily concerned with hearing an annual financial report of each Town office, multiple member body, or department. Each Town office, multiple member body and department shall prepare and present a financial report describing its significant budget expenditures for the prior year. Such financial report shall also be included in the Annual Budget, as set forth in Section 2-9.

(b)   Special Town Meeting. Special Town Meetings shall be held at the call of the Board of Selectmen at such times as it may deem appropriate and whenever a special meeting is requested by the voters in accordance with procedures made available by the laws of the Commonwealth.

(c)    Meetings of Town Boards, Committees, and Commissions. No multiple member body of the Town shall schedule a meeting to be held during the time the Town Meeting is in session for the transaction of business.

(d)   Presentation and Recommendation of Warrant Articles. Presentation of, and recommendation on, Warrant Articles at Town Meeting shall be performed in the following order:

(1)   Presentation by the sponsor of the article;

(2)   Recommendation (and discussion, if any) of the appropriate Town officer, multiple member body, or department affected by the article, as assigned by the Town Administrator;

(3)   Recommendation of the Finance Committee, with the exception of articles that do not relate to Town budgets, appropriations of money, transfers of money, expenditures of money, borrowing of money, or revenues.

 

All warrant articles shall be assigned and referred by the Town Administrator to the appropriate Town officer, multiple member body, or department, provided that such office, body or department is permanent and has been established by the provisions of this Charter, by bylaw or by the laws of the Commonwealth. The appropriate Town officer, multiple member body, or department shall hear the article and report its recommendation to the Town Meeting, a copy of which recommendation shall have been forwarded in writing to the Town Administrator at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the Annual Town Meeting or the Annual Financial Meeting, and at least ten (10) days prior to a Special Town Meeting, or within such time as may be otherwise prescribed by by-law.

 

Additionally, all such articles containing an appropriation of monies shall also be referred to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee shall also hear the article and present its recommendation to the Town Meeting, a copy of which shall have been forwarded in writing to the Town Administrator at least ten (10) days prior to Town Meeting.

 

The Town Administrator shall cause the recommendations submitted by the various town boards and departments on all warrant articles to compiled and printed at least five (5) days prior to Town Meeting. A copy of the recommendations shall be made available to the public.

(e)    Secret Ballots. If a motion is made and seconded to conduct a secret ballot on any main motion under an article, and such motion for a secret ballot is supported by ten percent (10%) of those voting, then the vote on such main motion shall be taken by secret ballot. The vote on the motion for a secret ballot shall be conducted by secret ballot.

(f)    Participation in Debate. The Moderator shall first recognize the proponent of the main motion under each article in the warrant unless the maker of any other motion offers a procedural motion for the previous question. The Moderator shall recognize any non-voter or minor, provided the Town Meeting so authorizes and unless otherwise provided by this Charter.

(g)    Parliamentary Procedure. The Town Meeting shall be conducted pursuant to Roberts Rules of Order, and such other rules as may be provided by this charter, by by-law, or by other vote of Town Meeting.

(1)   Reconsideration. A motion to reconsider any vote must be made before the final adjournment of the meeting at which the vote was passed, and may only be made at an adjourned session of such meeting. Such motion to reconsider shall be made at an adjourned session provided the mover has given notice of his intention to make such motion by written notice to the Town Clerk within twenty-four (24) hours after the adjournment of the session of the meeting at which the vote was passed. There shall be no reconsideration of a vote during the session of the meeting at which the vote was passed. 

How are Town Meeting Warrant Items determined?

ec. 2-7 Warrant Articles

(a)    Initiation. Except procedural matters, all subjects to be acted upon by Town Meeting shall be placed on warrants issued by the Board of Selectmen. The Board of Selectmen shall receive all petitions which are addressed to it and which request the submission of a particular subject matter to the Town Meeting and which are filed by:

(1)   any elected Town officer including a member of a multiple member body;

(2)   any appointed multiple member body acting by a majority of its members;

(3)   any ten (10) voters for a regular Town Meeting and by one hundred (100) voters for a special Town Meeting; and,

(4)   any other person, persons or Town agency as may be authorized by by-law. All such requests for the inclusion of subjects shall be in writing, but they shall not be required to conform to any particular style or form, except that each request for a particular subject shall be submitted as a separate petition.

(b)   Referral. Within five (5) days of receipt of any proposed warrant article the Board of Selectmen shall cause a copy of the proposal to be mailed to the residence of the Chairperson of the Finance Committee, a copy to be posted on the Town bulletin board and shall cause such other distribution to be made of each such proposal as may be required by by-law.

 

The Selectmen shall also cause a copy of any proposed warrant article to be sent to the Town Administrator, who shall, within five (5) days thereafter, determine and assign the warrant article to the appropriate Town officer, board or department, who shall be responsible for submitting a recommendation to Town Meeting.

(c)    Inclusion on Warrant. The Board of Selectmen shall include on the warrant for a regular Town Meeting the subject matter of all petitions which have been received by it sixty (60) or more days prior to the date fixed by by-law for the Town Meeting to convene. Whenever a special Town Meeting is to be called, the Board of Selectmen shall give notice by publication in a local newspaper of such intention and shall include in the warrant for such special Town Meeting the subject matter of all petitions which are received at its office on or before five o'clock in the afternoon of the fifth business day following such publication. Publication and distribution of the warrant shall be as determined by by-law. 

All registered voters in the Town of Wakefield may attend Town Meeting along with permitted guests allowed by the Town Moderator.