Information contributed by Town Meeting member Joel Winett.
SYNOPSIS OF TOWN COUNSEL’S ADVISORY CONCERNING THE VACANCY IN THE POSITION OF FRAMINGHAM TOWN MODERATOR
, the question has been asked, “What is the process for filling the
vacancy or otherwise selecting a temporary moderator for upcoming special
town meetings?” The Town Moderator, of course, is the person who oversees
the conduct of our representative town meetings.
Town Counsel has provided the Board of Selectmen with an answer to this
question and as well as to some related questions, which are summarized
First, there are two methods for ‘permanently’ filling a vacancy in the
position of Town Moderator.
1. The Selectmen may call a special municipal election and the registered
voters of the Town would elect a Moderator to serve the remainder of the
term of office. Because of the financial cost of holding a special town
election and in consideration of some of the alternatives available, the
Selectmen decided not to fill the vacancy in this manner.
2. Similarly the Selectmen could vote to appoint a Moderator who would serve
until the next regular Town election next spring. The Selectmen decided not
to pursue this option given options available to the Town Meeting itself to
select a Temporary Moderator.
Secondly, if the vacancy is not filled in either of the above methods, a
Temporary Moderator must be elected at the commencement of each town meeting that occurs during the time the vacancy continues. The Town Clerk is
empowered to open the town meeting in the absence of the moderator and calls
for nominations for a temporary moderator from the floor. The Temporary
Moderator serves for the duration of that meeting and the process would be
repeated at subsequent town meetings until a new Moderator is elected at the
Town Counsel has concluded that because the Temporary Moderator is elected
solely for the length of a single session of a town meeting, that the
Temporary Moderator is NOT empowered to make committee appointments normally made by the Moderator.
Town Counsel has also concluded that if a Town Meeting Member is elected to
the position of Temporary Moderator that that member would NOT have to
resign his or her seat as a Town Meeting Member because the role is only
temporary and not ongoing.