UPDATED May 27: The 2022 Arlington Town Meeting has completed seven sessions virtually from 8 to 11 p.m. Mondays and Wednesday, after starting April 25.
Among the articles at the annual meeting are those addressing zoning, leaf blowers, single-use plastic and a civilian police advisory board.
The public can view the meeting via ACMi cablecast on its government channels (RCN, 614 or 15; Comcast,. 22; or Verizon, 26), or by watching the live stream at acmi.tv/govlive/.
Paul Schlichtman (9) keeps track of how members vote on each article >>
Town Meeting progress dashboard
To track the progress of Town Meeting, plus what’s coming next as far as articles and their amendments and substitute motions, visit the Town Meeting Progress Dashboard at arlingtonma.gov/
Town Meeting Time for procedural reference
Feb. 20, 2022: Among 13 citizens articles: leaf blowers, self-serve gas, overnight parking, diversity
I want to address two issues as we head into this Memorial Day weekend: communication among Town Meeting Members via private messaging platforms like Slack, and the inelegant close of Wednesday night's meeting.
First, concerns have been raised about the communication among Town Meeting Members via private messaging platforms like Slack. One particular Slack channel has a sizable number of TMMs who have joined. Such communications via privately administered platforms are not an official part of Town Meeting and are not public records. However, speakers at Town Meeting deserve the attention of Town Meeting Members. When Town Meeting is in session, the focus of those in attendance should be on the public deliberation and not side conversations. I caution TMMs to be thoughtful about what they communicate via such platforms. Anything you share in these communication channels may be published out of context without your permission by someone else, as recently happened. Your words reflect not just on you individually, but on the institution of Town Meeting. I've also heard from TMMs who believe they've been excluded, perhaps unintentionally. For those administering private communication channels intended to be available to all TMMs, you might consider checking the latest public TMM contact list as additions have been made, especially for TMMs appointed after the election:
In general, a guiding principle we should all follow is to try to emulate what we do when meeting in person at Town Hall as much as possible.
Second, the close of Town Meeting on Wednesday night was messy. As Moderator I'm responsible for deciding all questions of order at Town Meeting, so the inelegant sequence of procedures near the close of the meeting is solely my responsibility. I apologize for the confusion. I've reviewed the video of that portion of the meeting to assess the decision points that I could have made differently. I want to highlight three particular decision points, and how I intend to prevent the kind of confusion we had Wednesday night from being repeated.
(1) When I rejected the motion from the floor to amend the main motion of Article 37, I suggested that there are other procedural options the speaker might pursue, but I would not take the meeting's time to enumerate all of them. While I stand by my decision to reject the amendment from the floor in this case, and it would certainly take too long to enumerate all the procedural options available to the speaker, there are two options in particular that are the most obvious to consider under the circumstances. And in hindsight, there would be little cost to the meeting, and significant potential upside, for me to offer speakers, especially newer TMMs, these two options in cases where more time might best serve the meeting. The options are: (a) the article can be laid on the table by a two-thirds vote (to be removed from the table some time later by majority vote); or (b) the article can be postponed to a time certain by majority vote (e.g. "I move that consideration of this matter be postponed until after Article X has been disposed of"). Going forward, I will offer these options to speakers when I find it helpful to do so.
(2) There was a question about whether someone could make a motion from a point of order. It's certainly unconventional, but as the movant pointed out during the meeting, I had recognized the speaker and recognized their motion. In order to set appropriate expectations and to preserve order, I want to be clear that going forward I will not recognize motions from points of order.
(3) I asked for raised hands in Zoom for objections to the motion to lay Article 37 on the table. This was following the precedent of the other times we lay articles on the table (typically Article 3 for receiving reports of committees each session, but also several articles ahead of Article 55 and the financial articles). Clearly the vote was more contentious in this case, and was a poor use of raised hands for deciding the ultimate fate of the motion. Going forward, when the number of raised hands in Zoom, relative to the number of TMMs in attendance, nears or exceeds the threshold for the quantum of vote, I will fall back to an officially tallied vote in the voting portal. (This does not apply to straw polls for terminating debate, which must meet a higher bar already established.)
Moderator letter (May 21) about residency
I'm writing to give an update on three matters: (1) the residency questions surrounding the proponent of Article 17; (2) notices of reconsideration in general and specifically in regard to Article 62 (appropriations from the Community Preservation Fund); and (3) a reminder about the 48-hour rule regarding subsidiary motions.
Questions arose near the end of Wednesday night's meeting about whether the proponent of Article 17 (self service gas-station pumps) is a resident of Arlington. I apologize for contributing to the confusion at the meeting by wrongly assuming that the proponent's residency in Arlington had been established by the Town Clerk. After the meeting, I consulted with the Town Clerk and Town Counsel who collectively explained that the article's coordinating petitioner listed an Arlington business address on the petition, and the petition has a sufficient number of verified signatures of registered voters residing in Arlington. In response to the residency questions raised at Wednesday night's meeting, there is no legal or technical requirement for the coordinating petitioner to be an Arlington resident. Therefore the approval of the petition for inclusion in the warrant appears to be in order.
Also at Wednesday night's meeting, multiple notices of reconsideration were given for Article 62 (appropriations from the Community Preservation Fund), in addition to notices of reconsideration given for other articles previously: Articles 8, 16, and several financial articles. First, please note the distinction between giving notice of reconsideration, which can be done only by someone voting on the prevailing side of a vote before adjourning the meeting at which the initial vote was taken, and moving to reconsider, which can be done only by someone who previously gave notice of reconsideration, in order to give "further reflection, renewed attention, and more careful deliberation" to a previously considered action (Town Meeting Time, Chapter 5 §31). Note that while Town Meeting Time cites a majority vote for motions to reconsider, our Town Bylaws take precedence, requiring a two-thirds vote for reconsideration, and disallowing repeated reconsideration of the same vote (Title I Article 1 Section 10 item E). Given the limited time in which we can deliberate articles, and the constraint that Annual Town Meeting cannot be dissolved until all articles are disposed of, I will entertain motions to reconsider only after we have disposed of all 77 articles in the warrant. This will help ensure that every article in the warrant has time to be heard, while allowing for a small number of articles to be reconsidered if time permits. I ask that those seeking to move reconsideration consult with me in advance.
Added to annotated warrant May 25
Article 38 – Amendment by Jo Babiarz, Precinct 15
Article 38 – Letter from resident Katherine Einstein and Maxwell Palmer, Precinct 2
Article 38 – Letter from Jennifer Susse, Precinct 3
Article 38 – Letter from Elizabeth Pyle, Precinct 8
Article 38 – Letter from Xavid Pretzer, Precinct 17
Article 38 – Letter from resident Stephen Harrington shared by Joseph Kerble, Precinct 13
Article 38 – Letter from resident James Fleming shared by Len Diggins, Precinct 3
Article 38 – Letter from resident Don Seltzer shared by John Leone, Precinct 8
Added to annotated warrant May 23
Article 17 – Statement by Deanna Graham, Precinct 16
Article 38 – Letter by Steve McKenna, resident, shared by Laura Fuller, Precinct 11
Article 38 – Letter by Jordan Weinstein, Precinct 21
Article 50 – Q&A by Adam Auster, Precinct 3
Added to annotated warrant May 15
Article 51 - Presentation by Timur Yontar, Chair Capital Planning Committee
Article 62 - Community Preservation Act Committee Report
Added to annotated warrant May 14
Article 17 Substitute Motion by Eugene Benson, Precinct 10
Article 32 Substitute Motion by Mark Rosenthal, Precinct 14
Article 38 Amendment by Sanjay Newton, Precinct 10
Article 38 Presentation by Mary Ellen Aronow, Precinct 8
Article 39 Amendment by John Worden, Precinct 8
Article 65 Video by the ARB
Special Town Meeting – May 11:
The Annotated Warrant for the STM contains vote language, comments and links to the reports.
Complete reports are also posted on the Town Meeting page.
ARB Report to Special Town Meeting (STM Articles 2, 3, 4)
Finance Committee Report to Special Town Meeting (STM Articles 5, 6)
Added to annotated warrant May 11
Article 19 FAQ by Paul Schlichtman, Precinct 9
Article 20 FAQ by Paul Schlichtman, Precinct 9
Added to annotated warrant May 9
Article 16: Moderator summary of main motion and 5 amendments
Article 16: Diggins Amendment
Article 16: Letter from Josh Lobel, Precinct 8
Article 38: Presentation by Mary Ellen Aronow, Precinct 8
Added to annotated warrant May 5
Note: We will take up Article 55 – Minuteman Appropriation on Monday, May 9.
Article 24 – Supplemental Report of the Select Board
Article 24 – Report of the Finance Committee regarding the article
Article 38 – updated FAQ (as of 4.29.22) by Annie LaCourt, Precinct 13, and Laura Wiener, Precinct 8
Article 55 – Minuteman FY23 Budget Presentation to Arlington Town Meeting
Added to annotated warrant May 4
Article 38: Amendment by Lee Poage, Precinct 13, was withdrawn
Article 74: video presentation by Linda Hanson, proponent
Added to annotated warrant May 1
Article 11 (domestic partners): Letter opposing the article by Susan Stamps, Precinct 3, and Nora Mann, Precinct 20
Added to annotated warrant, April 29
Article 12 (plastic): Amendment by Josephine Babiarz, Precinct 15
Article 16 (leaf blowers): Amendment by Beth Ann Friedman, Precinct 15; amendment by Michael Jacoby Brown, Precinct 17
Article 18 (rodenticides ): Video presentation and FAQ, Elaine Crowder, Precinct 19 (also relevant to Article 77)
Added to annotated warrant, April 27
Article 7: Presentation by Young Arlington Collaborative
Article 8: Revised amendment by Sarah McKinnon, Precinct 20
Article 16: Amendment Goodwin 1 by Adam Auster, Precinct 3
Amendment Goodwin 2 by Adam Auster, Precinct 3
Presentation by Quiet Healthy Arlington: Video presentation by Michael Jacoby Brown, Precinct 17
Article 19: Substitute Motion by Paul Schlichtman, Precinct 9
Article 20: Substitute Motion by Paul Schlichtman, Precinct 9
Article 38: Amendment by Lee Poage, Precinct 13
FAQ dated 4/24 by Annie LaCourt, Precinct 13, and Laura Wiener, Precinct 8
Additional information by Annie LaCourt, Precinct 13
Presentation by Carl Wagner, Precinct 15
Added to annotated warrant, April 26
Article 10: Presentation by the Arlington Tree Committee
Article 11:Amendment by Christopher Moore, Precinct 14
Article 12: Amendment by Carl Wagner, Precinct 15: Video presentation, Zero Waste Arlington
This announcement was published Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, and updated May 27, 2022.