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Leone responds to Christiana claims about members not running

John D. Leone, the incumbent moderator of Town Meeting, provided this statement in response to comments made by Greg Christiana in a YourArlington news summary about Candidates' Night. Similar comments were published in a candidate profile by Arlington Patch.

John D. Leone, 2022John D. Leone

I would like to take a moment to bring some clarity and context to the statements that my opponent has made. 

The statements made by Mr. Christiana in YourArlington.com and Patch.com stories are that, "The single most pressing issue facing Town Meeting is understanding the causes of the high rate of members not running for reelection this year,” and “We’re seeing an unusually high rate of attrition from Town Meeting; 45 members have decided not to run for reelection." 

Is this an unusually high rate?  No, it is not, and here is why.  The 45 members who chose not to run for reelection represents 26 percent of the open seats in the current 2022 election cycle. Nearly the same percentage as this year.

84 terms expire

An examination of the data that is readily available on the town’s website reveals that in a normal year, the terms expire for 84 Town Meeting seats (four seats in each of 21 precincts). This year, due to reprecincting, the terms for a total of 172 Town Meeting seats became open. The reason is simple: if the precinct boundaries change, all seats in that precinct become vacant and all members must run for reelection if they want to remain in Town Meeting. This applies to 11 of our 21 precincts.

The best matrix for comparison is 2012, the last time we reprecincted the town.  In 2012, 205 seats became open as 15 precincts had their boundaries changed. That year, 43 Town Meeting members choose not run for reelection, which represents 21 percent of the open seats in 2012 -- nearly the same percentage as this year.  

Another matrix is to compare our rate of returning members to that of our neighboring and similar towns. If we use the year 2019, the election prior to the pandemic when 17 percent of our open seats did not seek reelection, we are right in the mix, actually below the average of these towns.   

  • Belmont - 192 members total - 81.3 percent rerunning - 18.7 percent not returning;
  • Winchester - 67 seats open - 52 CFR/77.6 percent rerunning - 22.4 percent not returning; and
  • Brookline – 245 members total -199 CFR/81.2% rerunning - 19.8 percent not returning.

When you consider that we had 16 nights of Zoom Town Meeting, that wasn't very popular and had clunky mechanics of enabling speakers that slowed the process considerably, I think it's commendable that so many Town Meeting members, 74 percent, have chosen to get back on the ballot.

So arguably, a simple analysis of the available data demonstrates that we are actually in real good shape with returning Town Meeting members and well within the norm. Simply put, there is no “unusually high rate of attrition,” as alleged.


Feb. 12 to March 19, 2022: Moderator updates election statement


This statement, which includes opinion, was published Wednesday, March 30, 2022.

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