Moderator

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TOWN MEETING PROCEDURES

1. INTRODUCTION OF DIGNITARIES AND NEW TOWN OFFICIALS (if any):

2. MOMENT OF SILENCE IN REMEMBERANCE OF:
List those who have served the Town and passed away since the most recent town meeting.

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

A. Nights scheduled: (list available dates)
B. Hope to be able to recess for night at 10:30 PM depending on start time.
Will not take up new business after 10:15 unless it will save an extra night.
C. Conflict articles: (substitute will be elected in accordance with charter. List of any articles for which recusal is required.)
D. Large Type Warrants available.

4. QUORUM:  Registered voters number (____);  Quorum is (___), 6% of registered voters.  Registrars count is (_____)

5. If an ANNUAL and simultaneous SPECIAL TOWN  MEETING  are called for the same time, the following order will be followed:

A. Call Annual Town Meeting to order;
B. Recess the Annual Town Meeting "until conclusion of Special Town Meeting";
C. Call Special Town Meeting to order;
D. Conduct Special Town Meeting;
E. Dissolve the Special Town Meeting
F. Resume the Annual Town Meeting

 

5. PROCEDURAL NOTES & REMINDERS:

A. Please turn off all cell phone ringers; If you must use your phone, please do so in the lobby.  Texting during the meeting is discouraged, as it may be distracting to other voters and takes your attention away from the ongoing debate.

B. A summary of procedural rules has been prepared in accordance with the Charter and is in the warrant. In doing so an attempt has been made to balance two competing objectives: to be as complete as possible; and to be as concise as possible so that the summary will be a useful reference at town meeting. As a result, some of the less commonly occurring exceptions to the general rules have been omitted. If you are in doubt on a specific point you should consult the primary sources of authority: the Massachusetts General Laws; the Wellfleet Charter; the Wellfleet General Bylaws, and Town Meeting Time.

C. A reminder about the scope of permissible action under the last article. It is only for the extremely limited purpose of taking "non-final" actions, examples of which are the creation of study committees and requests to town boards to bring matters before future town meetings.  Policy statements, "sense of the meeting" or "sense of the Town of Wellfleet" type resolutions are not appropriate since the taking of such an action without inclusion of the subject matter in the warrant infringes the right of absentees to be informed of the nature of business to be transacted at the meeting.

D. Please keep your voter identification tag. Without the tag you will not be able to obtain a ballot for any votes taken by secret ballot and the Chair may not recognize you to speak. On standing counts the tellers are instructed to count voter cards; an arm raised without the card will not be counted.

E. To be recognized you must call "Mr. Moderator" when the floor is free. You must be at a microphone unless physical conditions make this difficult for you, in which case raise your hand which will make you more visible to the Chair.

F. If the Chair has not recognized you by name you must state your name at the beginning of your remarks. You may not speak without being recognized except to raise a point of order or point of personal privilege.

G. A POINT OF ORDER is a challenge to the legality of the proceedings. It must be made at the time of the infraction to which the point of order relates. You may interrupt a speaker to raise a point of order. You rise, and, without being recognized, state "Point of Order Mr. Moderator". The chair will ask you to state your point of order and will then rule on it. The ruling of the Chair is final. Points of order fall into the following general categories:

(a) Is the speaker entitled to the floor? (That is has he been properly recognized, exceeded his time limit, spoken too many times etc.?);
(b) Are the speaker's remarks relevant to the issue and within the bounds of decorum; and
(c) Is the motion proposed proper? (That is within the scope of the article, properly made and seconded, and consistent with any pending motions?)

H. A POINT OF PERSONAL PRIVILEGE is a means to bring matters of immediate importance to the attention of the Chair such as fire, inability to hear the speaker, announcement of a Police Officer, etc. To raise a point of personal privilege rise and state "Point of Personal Privilege, Mr. Moderator, I cannot hear the speaker." etc.

I. MOTIONS, including all amendments must be in writing (Wellfleet Bylaws, II,2) and legible. The Moderator may make exceptions for very simple motions. Motions and amendments must be within the scope of the Article, as contained in the Warrant; i.e., they must be within the bounds of actions that an absentee voter might reasonably have expected to occur from a reading of the Warrant Article.  The Moderator has the sole judgment on whether a motion is within the scope of the Article.

J. ENDING DEBATE: The PREVIOUS QUESTION is the method used to terminate all debate and vote immediately on the pending motion. The motion is "I move the previous question". It may not interrupt the speaker and may only be made after you have been recognized. It may not be made by a speaker at the end of your remarks.  It is not debatable and requires a 2/3 vote. Shouts of "Question" from the audience will be ignored by the Chair.  Bear in mind it may be necessary to take a count to establish whether the motion passes; this may be more time consuming than allowing one or two more speakers.

K. RECONSIDERATION: A motion to reconsider must be made on the same night as the vote for which reconsideration is sought, after some intervening business (such as calling the next article), and within one hour of the vote to be reconsidered (Wellfleet Charter, 2-7-9).  It may only be made once.  It may be made by anyone regardless of how they voted on the earlier motion.  Action on the motion to reconsider can be deferred to a later time.  A motion to reconsider will only be allowed if there is new information that was not available at the time of the original debate.  A motion to reconsider will be ruled out of order if, in the judgment of the Moderator, it is simply an attempt at "another bite at the apple".

L. DEBATE: You must speak to the issues. You may not make personal remarks about others or impugn their motives.  All questions must be addressed through the Moderator.  You may not address another voter or town official directly.  If you ask a question, you do not lose the floor, but the time required to answer is considered part of your speaking time.  Except for the petitioner and certain town officials you may only speak twice to a motion. Time limits on speakers are generally set as a Rule of the Meeting at the beginning of each meeting. 

M. VOTING: Voting is normally by voice vote.   Votes requiring a 2/3 majority may be taken by voice vote and declared by the Moderator, unless questioned by one or more voters, in which case a standing count must be taken (Wellfleet Bylaws, II,8).  Any voter may request that a standing count be taken if the declaration of a voice vote is doubted.  To require voting by secret ballot, a motion to "vote by secret ballot" must be made and requires a majority vote.

N. Motions to Table are discouraged. These motions are not debatable. They are generally inappropriate in a Town Meeting setting because, unlike a motion to indefinitely postpone, they can effectively kill an article without debate. The Chair has the power to decline to accept a motion to table if apparently made for such a purpose. The only exception to the general rule is a motion to table until a specified time. Such a motion might be made to delay action on an article until an essential person (e. g. architect etc.) can be present, etc.

O. SLIDE PRESENTATIONS:  Slide presentation may be used by presenters subject to certain requirements.  Click here for the guidelines for slide presentations.

 

6. SPECIFIC CHARTER PROVISIONS :

A. Motion to reconsider discussed previously (K.);
B. Advance, postpone or otherwise take an article out of order requires a 2/3 vote;
C. Substitute moderators are to be elected rather than appointed; and
D. Under Section 2-7-3 of the Charter, articles lacking the recommendation of the appropriate board require a 2/3 vote to be acted upon. Note the the Moderator  regards a deadlock on the part of the appropriate board as the equivalent of a negative recommendation, thereby fulfilling the requirements of the Charter.

 

Staff Contacts

Name Title Phone
Town Moderator Moderator (ATE 2018)
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