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LIVE BLOG: Framingham Town Meeting Night 11 (Final Night)

Town Meeting concluded for the spring Tuesday night, May 21 after 11 sessions.

Town Meeting members made their way through more than a half dozen articles Tuesday night, including approving Article 27, a zoning bylaw change to preserve open space in Framingham.

Tonight, Town Meeting members are hopeful they will complete the warrant, as they begin discussion on Article 33. Night 11 of Town Meeting is scheduled to begin tonight at 7:30 in Nevins Hall inside the Memorial Building or when a quorum is reached. 
Framingham Patch will be live blogging tonight. Please excuse the typos as the live blog is in progress, I will fix after the meeting adjourns.

***

7:43 p.m. There is finally a quorum

Town Manager Bob Halpin speaking -- social worker position discussed last week for Framingham Health Department.
Tragically, a 9th grader chose to take her life at Framingham High school last week. There is a GoFundMe -- held with funeral arrangements.

Moderator -- no flash photography in the hall.

Test question -- electronic
Do you have plans for Memorial Day weekend?
56-18-17 -- vote

***
7:50 p.m.
Town Meetinh has completed articles 1-32 and articles 43 & 44.
Start with article 33

ARTICLE 33 
Kevin Crotty making the motion -- Widening and lay out of Edmands Road

Town Engineer William Sedwitz speaking -- traffic calming project -- reduce traffic speed and improve safety On Edmands Road between Winch and Grove.

Committee reports

Michael Bower -- Vice chair selectmen speaking -- 5-0 in favor
There is an easement.

Planning Board Vice Chair - Christine Long speaking -- reviewed the proposed layout -- voted 3-0-1 in favor.

Town Meeting no discussion
2/3rd vote needed to pass

Hand vote -- unanimous

***
7:54 p.m. ARTICLE 34 
Crotty making the motion --Danforth Green drainage easement

Town Engineer Sedwitz speaking -- Danforth Green abuts the birch road project. - stormwater management meet all regulations
at town's request, applicant design a more costly and better suited drainage and stormwater system. No cost to acquire the easement. Request your support.

Committee Reports

Planning Board VC Long speaking -- This is the best thing for the town and it protects the Birrch wells -- 5-0-0 in favor. This was a cooperative effort.

Bower - speaking on behalf of Selectmen -- 3-0-0 in favor.

Town Meeting member discussion
8 p.m.
Audrey Hall - TMM3 -- speaking
does the town lose all rights to the land if it grants the easement?

Point of order -- Richard Baritz - TMM17 -- I thought you called for committee reports?

Peter Mello -- Town Counsel tonight - new with Petrini & Associates - speaking -- Tells Town Meeting members it is the most engaged and Knowledgable in the Commonwealth

Mello -- Easement is a legal instrument -- means depends on its terms -- I have not seen the terms of this one -- refer to that certificate.

Hall-- folo up question -- curious in the future with an easement - can this property be altered or significant without town's approval once the easement is granted?

Mello speaking -- terms of the easement will govern the legal arrangement. Owner of the property has legal right to give rights to easement holders -- it is a broad question -- each instance is different.

Halpin -- It is an easement for drainage purposes. Change design they would need to come back to the Town.

Herb Chasan - TMM4 -- speaking -- after much research into this issue -- added protection for the Birch Road Wells -- legal agreement - allows the PUD install and maintain a drainage system. Applicant voluntarily entered into this agreement - applicant is Danforth Green.

Trying to get the drainage away from the Birch Road wells -urge passage of this article.

Motion -
Moderator calls for a hand vote - passed unanimously

8:05 p.m. ARTICLE 35 -- 
Ted Anthony speaking & making the motion

Motion -- discuss 36 and 36 together but voted differently
Hand vote made and passed unanimously

Article 35 - amend bylaws -- Town Manager prepare and submit annually a warrant article for the fall Town Meeting to present an assessment of the budgetary needs of the town for the fiscal year,

Moderator -- Town Counsel says words "and consent" has to come out

Point of Order -- 

Mello - town counsel -- "and consent" renders the motion of the article a resolution.

Moderator -- I will accept that without those two words.

Point of information -- Gerry Bloomfield -- TMM1 - more information from Town Counsel on decision

Mello -- Levy taxes set by Massacusetts General Laws - Selectmen has certain authority under state law to set the tax rate.

Anthony - the intent is not to require the Town Manager must follow what Town Meeting votes on these articles.

Consent - is an agreement towards a course of action - says Anthony

Anthony -- Ask that you allow me to make the presentation.

Moderator -- I will not accept the motion with those 2 words in it.

Point of information -- Karl Rookey - TMM14 -- curious about proceeding on this article? When did moderator know the words would not be accepted?

Anthony -- have appeared before all the committees? Like to know that answer too?

Nothing in response any issue about language in this article - surprised by position you are taking madam moderator.

Point of information -- Audrey Hall - TMM3 -- "advise and consent" in this wording - it is directed at Town Meeting.

Point of information -- William laBarge - TMM16 -- requesting "advice and consent" - i don't see that is ordering someone to do it.

Moderator -- asking Town Counsel advice again ...

8:15 p.m.

Mello -- opinion does not change based on comments by Town Meeting members

Point of information - Dan Gittleson - TMM14 -- we are the elected body of this town - someone prepares this - goes through all the steps - want question - when did we know that this was out of order? presenter informed why were not we informed?

Moderator -- Today I was advised -- town counsel ruled this out of order.

Moderator - I don't want to be the bad guy here. You want to vote on it - if it passes it will go before the Attorney General.

Moderator -- I will conceded this point - not worth arguing over.

ARTICLE 36 -- Chief Financial officer shall also present an assessment of the budgetary needs of the town for the next fiscal year

Anthony - TMM1 - citizen's petition -- speaking/making presentation
why submitted?
What does it do?
When get to the budget in the spring - it is a rubber stamp.
Fincom - not able to make adjustment to budgets - a few years ago.

Originally, this was intended to be submitted at fall Town Meeting in 2013. I think it is pretty straight forward. In the fall, Town Manager submit article -- make presentation -- tell us what the condition of the town is.

only difference -- now they will also tell us - what they expect the increase in the town's levy will be ...

This article does not proclude the Town Manager from submitting what he wants to submit in the spring. Does not tie the hands of the Town Manager or the CFO.

8:22 p.m. all of us would be on the record via vote via the increase on the tax levy should be. 

give advice and consent to administration on what we feel what the town can afford - does not proclude the town a manager from what he wants to submit in the spring.

There is a minority at Town Meeting always vote 0 and a minority always vote 2.5% or more. Majority of us make a judgement in the best interest of the town. Town Meeting is the government body that votes on the budget.

Vote in October makes sense -- as bylaw states all town departments must submit budget wishlists in November.

Excellent this year Town Manager decided 1.25% is sufficient. But no idea what will happen in the future ... any reduction under 2.5% also means that amount if unused and can be used in future years.

8:25 p.m.

Address items  that will be discussed -- not enough information - too soon to make a decision - CF) makes the fall projections and she is very good at it, says Anthony.

have the time approved a budget here in Framingham and not know what state aid we would get.

these articles would cause too much debate at Town Meeting -- I don't understand this argument -- biggest thing we do is approve the amount of taxes -- democracy can be messy --don't see how this can be a negative. we can always police ourselves. We know when we have heard enough.

wording of the article -- "advice and consent" in the dictionary -- opinion to what could and should be done -- giving an opinion to a course of action to the Town Manager.

Point of Information by TMM Morehead -- how long on the presentation?

Moderator - giving him longer time as he is presenting on 2 articles

Anthony -- effort will be made to bring this into a non-binding resolution -- I will not allow my resolutions to be a non-binding - if defeating the point - point is for Town Meeting to have some say in the budget and is on the record on what the increase in the tax levy should be.
25 of you signed this to be on the warrant.
Non binding does not equal what I want the intent to me.

I would like these votes to be electronically recorded 

Moderator -- agrees to have it electronically recorded.

Mello - town counsel -- legal opinion does not change -- consent has legal obligations -IMO -- this wording is contrary to statutory requirements.

Committee reports
8:32 p.m.

Karl Rookey - chair of the government study committee -- speaking
significant debate on this topic
article might further curb levy increase and return budgetary to Town Meeting.
Ultimately voted for favorable action on Article 35 - 4-3-0 vote
Article 36- favorable 5-2-0 vote

Ways & means chair Audrey Hall - TMM3 speaking -- 
first & foremost - sponsor did a great job on presentation and support the overall objectives of the citizen's petitions and hold Town Meeting members accountable on the budget.

Standing Committee believes TM should have another option -- motion as a resolution -- believe choose as a bylaw or pass as a resolution

Resolutions - not legally binding
Standing Committee on Ways & Means supports the objectives of Articles 35 & 36 --give you option of resolution or bylaw
Vote 8-2-0 in favor of resolution

8:40 p.m. 

Steinberg -- speaking for the Finance Committee - TMM14 -- VChair -- met with the sponsor -- after hearing the initial presentation -- supportive of the goals -- Town Meeting have a say much earlier in the process. Concerns about bylaws may cause. 

Committee felt the resolution better than a sunset provision on the bylaw
FinCom voted 5-0--0 in favor of ways & means resolution

Town Meeting discussion begins at 8:42 p.m.

Ned Price - TMM17 -- I support the articles as is. Do not support the resolution. Town Meeting be given an option to express its will.
I have a possible way to resolve this -- amendment motion

Propose an amendment -- "hopefully friendly"

8:45 p.m. cross out words "and consent" and add at "such a budget shall be presented at Town Meeting" we want to get to vote on what we want.

Point of Information -- Ted Anthony - TMM1 speaking -- I would consider that a friendly amemdment

Moderator -- have a main motion, an amendment and a resolution on article 35 & 36

William LaBarge -- TMM16 -- speaking -- question - legal advice on the last clause of the proposed amendment - is that legal?

Mello - speaking -- I need to see it to make a ruling.

8:48 p.m.

Mello -- initially I don't see a problem with the proposed wording.

LaBarge -- I will support the amendment and the resolution

Motion Ottivani - to move the question

Moderator - refuses to accept motion to move question.

Dick Weader -- TMM4  -- speaking -- motion to refer back 35

Norma Shulman - TMM5 -- speaking -- sometime in the spring don't even know what the state funds would be like - we would be spinning our wheels - what portion will come out of the tax levy

Making this a bylaw is not appropriate - resolution is a reasonable approach to try something out.

We can always advise the Town Manager and the Selectmen on our wishes -- tax levy 

I rise to support the refer back or the resolution.

Question -- motion to refer back 35 -- is there one for 36?

Mel Washaw - TMM7 - I rise in opposition to both the original motions and the amendment by Ned Price and the amendments by resolutions.

I am appauled that there has been minimum support for this motion. I think this is a preamble for city government.
I think we are going to argue about the school budget.
Want to put town meeting on record for either be on record for taxes or against taxes.

8:58 p.m.

It is a simplistic idea -- Warshaw -- we an't do it in the fall
We are going to argue about it a day or 2 or 3 - Town meeting takes too long as it is.

This is all directed to the Town Manager - and not the School Committee that has 60% of the budget - this is not going to work - I would oppose it.

If this passes - the fall Town Meeting is going to be a disaster.

Point of personal privledge -- Anthony - TMM1 -- I have never supported city government and I resent that comment

Moderator -- Please take your seat Mr. Anthony 

Paulsen -- move the question - 2/3rd vote needed
6 still wish to speak

hand vote -- chair is in doubt -- electronic vote now on moving the question

VOTE -- 63-45-5 -- IT FAILS
9:04 p.m. Discussion continuing

Denise Moorehead - TMM6 -- rise in opposition to the article.
We have no idea of what this will mean - in added staff time
it should be studied 
This is the kind of thing we should not decide tonight
I don't think tonight's presentation were sufficient

Peter Pleshaw -- TMM11 -- speaking -- I rise in support of both of these articles.

Editor's Note: I needed a break. Missed his statement.

9:10 p.m.
Kevin Crotty -- Let's do it once - let's see what happens - let's do this and see how it works - in favor.

TMM Cooper - motion - move question
5 still wish to speak
2/3rd vote needed
hand vote
Motion moved

Moderator -- first motion to refer back.

Point of information - Anthony
Moderator - needs to ask Town Counsel

Question - if article not referred back - there is a resolution and main motion -- what is taken first?

Mello -- take main motion first and then resolution

Article 25 vote to refer back. Moderator first tries a hand vote. Unsure on vote and now and elecronic vote will be taken.

Point of order -- Maureen Dunne - TMM9 -- resolution vote?
Moderator - refer back, amendment, article 35 and then resolution vote.

Vote to refer back - electronic vote -- 45-69-1 - motion FAILS

9:18 p.m.
Article 35 - Price amendment - vote -- 
electronic vote on this ...

Jeff Cox -- TMM14 - Point of personal priviledge - thank you and your work as Town Moderator.

Moderator: I am enjoying it and trying to do better job every time

70-39-5 VOTE on Price amendment

9:21 p.m.
Point of order - Joel Winett -- Should be silence while we are voting - no point of order or point of personal priviledge

Moderator -- I don't have an issue with that

Vote on the main motion for Article 35  -- electronically

VOTE -- 57-50-4 PASSED

Large clapping by Town Meeting

Moderator -- no show of emotion please

Moderator -- needed majority vote -- it PASSED - Article 35

***

9:24 p.m.
Article 36 - 
VOTE -- electronic vote -- 

Moderator -- Town Meeting members says someone is texting Town Meeting members and telling them how to vote. Town Meeting members have to make up your own mind. You should abstain instead of vote someone else's choice.

65-45-3 - Article 36 - passed.

*****
Resolution votes
Point of information -- Harold Gellar -- Town Meeting has already approved both articles - the resolution would be useless.

Point of order - TMM7 --- we don't  know what attorney general will say - should still vote on the resolution - no matter what.

Moderator -- I can rule the resolution out of order.

Point of order -- appeal decision of the moderator -- Winett -- made a good point - the 5 vote win is not a strong vote.

***
Point of order -- Hall - chair of ways & means -- I understand your opinion - in the event that this not get accepted -- I do feel a vote on the resolution and the numbers of that vote.

Winett called for an electronic vote.
Moderator says she decided on if an electronic vote is needed.

Now an electronic vote on the resolution 35 & 36 together
9:30 p.m.
Electronic vote -- 36-62-10 -- it failed.

****

9:32 p.m. 
Article 37 - Crotty motion
Sponsor Board of Assessors

No presentation -- sponsor chief assessors speaking -- reason amend - gives board flexibility to meet with the public - change meeting hours

Committee reports - none
Hand vote - passed -- 2 hands in opposition - passed

9:35 p.m.

ARTICLE 38 - Crotty making the motion --add Veterans Council

TMM14 - Jeff Cox -- chair of the Veterans Council -- unanimously -- allows us to meet with federal partners who meet during the day - flexibility of meeting time.

Selectman Bower -- speaking -- 4-0- to support

No discussion
hand vote - passed -- 1 opposed - PASSED

****
9:37 p.m.
Article 39 -- Joel Winett speaking and making the motion
Moderator tells Winett his 5 minutes are running

Publication of the warrant -- posted at Town Hall and Town Libraries and on the Town website 7 days before the date of annual town meeting and at least 14 days before of a special town meeting

Vote -- hand vote -- 
moderator says unanimous
four votes against

***
9:51 p.m.
Article 40 -- Attendance of Town Meeting members
amend the bylaws to change when Town Meeting members can be removed:
1% to 25% attendance required at Town Meeting
25% - 38 TMM from 15 precints attended less than 5 session

15 out of the 18 precincts

9:55 p.m.

Winett-- lets have productive town meetings

Committee reports

Karl Rookey - share of the government study committee - speaking -- 
 -- 4-2-1 in favor.

Town Meeting member discussion

TMM14 - Jeff Cox speaking -- it is in order -- make motion to refer back to sponsor this article.

vote to explain -- Framingham very rules -- more rules -- our Town Meeting goes longer than any other Town Meeting in the Commonwealth

I actually really believe there are reason why people can not attend Town Meeting. More rules makes it more difficult. Put more barriers up for representative town meeting - than less - not looking at a full room right now.

It is a burden to our employees to come night after night -- we have not changed a lot that has come before us. Do we need spend 11-12-13 session -- is there any way we can shorten this.

beg the rules committee to do this -- refer back to sponsor -- need less rules in this town. Let the member vote them out.

Kevin Gaitlin -- I vote to support this article - TMM1

25% is a low threshold

I think we should support this article.

Kathi McCarthy - TMM10 -- speaking -- I rise to support this and the other articles from the rules committtee.

It is representative Town Meeting - we are elected - we agree and we swear and we take this duty seriously -- many of us -- take this as a priviledge.

10:07 p.m.

Yael - I think it is undemocratic ... what happens if someone had a heart attack or gave birth and misses sessions - not fair.

Move the question --
6 wish to speak
2/3rd vote - hand vote -- moderator in doubt

10:10 p.m.
Electronic vote -- 70-30-0 - passed
question moved

Motion refer back to sponsor - hand vote - failed

Electronic vote -- Article 40 
Majority vote needed
52-48-3 -- IT passed.

***
ARTICLE 41 -- 
bylaws -- attendance of board/committee chairs and department heads at Town Meeting

Require Chair of each board committee
Head of department
Town Counsel
shall attend of all session of Town Meeting

department heads do not attend all sessions

Committee reports
 7-0-0 -- Karl Rookey

Voted - hand vote -- 15 hands in opposition.

TMM Phil Ottaviani - doubts the vote and questions the moderator.
Moderator - doesn't accept.

More than 8 people stand to question the count by mdoerator.

Moderator -- refuses to consider that her count was wrong

Article 42 -- bylaw change -- election of a Town Meeting members
Presently Town Meeting members can be elected by just one vote the Rules committee wants to change it to 2 votes but also debated 5 votes.

5 votes needed 4-3 vote
2 votes 4-2 votes

1 vote should not be enough to get elected.
25 signatures needed to get on the ballot

10:20 p.m.

Karl Rookey -- chair of the study committee speaking -- not all seats are filled and not all members are attending Town Meeting
Committee recommend raising the need for 5 votes 

Motion -- 5 votes needed to be elected

Chasan -- report -- community services standing committee -- not to support this article. We have some excellent Town Meeting members elected by just one vote and that is a big deal. So very difficult to find people to serve and they should get a chance with just one vote. Let's not make it harder to become a tome meeting member
0-6-2

10:23 p.m.
William Labarge - TMM16 speaking -- 10 years I was asked to go run for Town Meeting - I was elected by one vote -- I rise to oppose all motions to raise the minimum
what is broken with this.

We all have to decide what we believe what is right in this town.

Ed Kross - Tmm12 - I rise to support the number by the rules committee to 2 votes needed.

Judy Grove - Tmm15 -- I rise in opposition -- very different situations in different sessions of town .. we don't d a good job of recruiting people.

I had to replace 7 people -- in my precinct 15 -- other precincts there is competitions for Town Meeting. Many people didn't come -- last year we had 4 people who never showed up - no phone numbers -- We expect our precinct to get stronger. -- Opposed to article 42.

Lloyd Kaye -- TMM10 -- I stand to oppose this article. This is not a level playing field. 2 precincts - more than 2,800 registered voters - # of precinct have less than 1,500 precinct and one with a 1,000

1 man or woman - 1 vote.

Betty Muto -- Move the question
5 still wish to speak
2/3rd vote needed
hand vote -- passed

VOTE first on the amendment to raise it to 5 votes needed to get elected to Town meeting.

10:31 p.m.

VOTE -- hand vote -- FAILED

Main motion -- 2 votes needed to be elected - hand vote -- Fails.

Motion to adjourn and dissolve Town Meeting at 10:32 p.m.
Town Meeting is now concluded.


William LaBarge May 22, 2014 at 10:17 AM
For Article 42, the main motion did FAIL. You may want to replay the video to verify. The vote was taken 3 hours 12 minutes into that video. To find the video, go to the Town website, then click on GOVERNMENT tab, then on pull down menu, slide to MEETING, then on that sub-menu, select VIDEO BROADCAST and on that menu, select LAST SESSION OF TOWN MEETING... then the Real-Player should come up to play it. William LaBarge, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 16 Chair

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