Governance Committee Back to Work in New Year
Chair Sam Tyler called the Governance Committee (GC) to order at 7:04 PM on Monday evening (1.11.21), following its holiday break. He opened the remote meeting by with a reflection on current events and the intersection of these with the work of the Governance Committee:
“…we all watched first-hand on Wednesday how fragile democracy is at the highest level of government but there’s lessons there for both state and local government, and the five of us—we really need to make sure that as we view the governance of Holliston we need to be sure that what we’re recommending in By-Law changes will improve the ability of the town to meet the increasingly challenging demands facing town government but also better serve all the residents or as many residents as we can. Anyway, we’ve got to make sure that people understand that government work at the local level, even if it’s chaotic right now at the national level.”
The Committee approved minutes from its December 8 meeting and began its review of the draft it has collaboratively created of three By-Law Articles: the new budget-development Article, and changes to Article I (Town Meetings) and Article IV (Finance Committee). The group progressed through these three Articles, recommending and making changes in wording and suggesting the addition of documents to attach.
Interesting to note was the members’ grasp of and facility with the draft, and also their knowledge of similar By-Laws of towns listed on their “Comparable Towns”: GC Website Members posited possible and past scenarios in the Budget Development process to assure clarity in all revisions. Minor tweaks were made, and each change received consensus from the group. The GC also suggested a minor change to a related section of Article III (Select Board) so as to reflect current requirements.
Tyler encouraged the group continue with its comparable town research, focusing on the Capital Budget. “Consider this a work in progress,” Tyler advised. The group will then share out findings at subsequent meetings.
The GC is looking to the May 2021 Annual Town Meeting to present its recommendations. Prior to the submission of its recommendations, the GC will continue its work and begin to schedule a separate meeting with each of the following individuals/groups to review the details of the draft recommendations: the Town Administrator, the Select Board, the Finance Committee, the School Committee, the Collector-Treasurer, the Accountant, and the Principal Assessor. The group plans a public hearing to share its recommendations with residents. (No date has been selected presently for the public hearing.)
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM. The next remote meeting of the Governance Committee will be posted on its website.