Greg Christiana

Town Moderator Greg Christiana has provided an update about the upcoming annual Town Meeting, the first to take place in person at Town Hall since 2019. 

"Most elements of the meeting will remain familiar and consistent with practices from past years, while some elements will be new or modified," he wrote in an April 6 email to meeting members.

3 seating areas

"To address the concerns of participants with elevated health risks related to Covid-19 exposure during this transition back to an in-person Town Meeting ...," his email notes three seating spaces:

  • The floor of the Town Hall auditorium (this is where participants have traditionally convened for Town Meeting);
  • The center balcony in the Town Hall auditorium (the wings of the balcony will continue to be open to the public); and
  • One additional room ("satellite room") for participants with heightened concerns about their risks from exposure to Covid.

"In the satellite room," he wrote, "I request that masks be worn at all times, including while speaking; participants who are uncomfortable with this request are free to participate from the Town Hall auditorium. The satellite room will be selected based on demand and sized for social distancing, in or near Town Hall, subject to availability of meeting spaces.

"In compliance with Massachusetts General Law Chapter 39 Section 10, a bidirectional audio system will connect the spaces so that all participants who are recognized to speak can be heard through microphones and speaker systems."

Christiana plans to appoint a deputy moderator to maintain order in the satellite room, as permitted by MGL Chapter 39 Section 14. The elected assistant moderator plans to continue to serve in the traditional role of running the meeting in the event that Christiana is unable to serve as moderator.

ACMi video cameras, displays

Additionally, video cameras and displays managed by ACMi will allow bidirectional visibility across spaces.

Electronic handsets for voting will be used, but with additional functionality enabled to allow participants to request to speak via handsets. The handsets' request-to-speak functionality aims to ensure that speaking requests are recorded equitably, regardless of where participants are seated, Christiana said.

More information is to be shared in the coming days with details and instructions.

Town Meeting members should receive an electronic form by email asking about seating preferences, with the understanding that preferences are not guaranteed. Responses are due by Friday, April 14, with seating assignments expected to be shared the following week.

If no email is received, members are advised to contact the town clerk at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Town Hall auditorium can accommodate all participants and is considered the default location for participants who do not provide an explicit seating preference. While participants are free to sit in any seat within their assigned space, it may not be possible to change one's assigned space due to logistical constraints.

The form asks members for the correct pronunciation of their names; their preferred titles (Ms., Mr., Dr., etc); and their pronouns so as to know how they wish to be addressed at the meeting; responses to the form are optional.

New-member orientation

Those new to Town Meeting may expect to receive a separate communication about an orientation session for new members. This session will offer an opportunity to ask questions as well as to run through example scenarios so as to provide famililarity with Town Meeting procedures.

"To the newly elected Town Meeting members," Christiana wrote, "I offer congratulations and gratitude for stepping up to this civic responsibility. To everyone else, thank you for continuing to serve in this important role for our town."


Jordan Weinstein, Precinct 21 Town Meeting member, had some questions earlier >>

Feb. 14, 2023: Moderator tells why hybrid spring meeting is not possible

 


This news announcement was published Thursday, April 6, 2023, based on an email from Town Moderator Greg Christiana.