Resident Calls for Change After Warrant Articles Rejected
The Board of Selectmen sided with the advice of town counsel over the method of four articles submitted by Ralph Tyler.
"I see where this decision is going. This is why we need change in this town."
And with those words, Sudbury resident Ralph Tyler walked out of Town Hall Tuesday night during the Board of Selectmen's meeting, convinced his attempt to add four warrant articles for Annual Town Meeting would not go through.
The Board granted Tyler time to argue why his method of submitting four articles together with the required number of signatures should be allowed.
Both Chairman Larry O'Brien and Selectman John Drobinski said they did not feel comfortable going against the advice of Town Counsel Paul Kenny.
"My initial concern is as John said, I would be far stretched to give it serious thought," O'Brien said. " You’ve been at Town Meeting as long as I have, you've been active bringing articles forward, including the senior tax relief. The time-line for the articles submitted ... you thought you could submit four articles in one sheet, counsel said it's not possible."
Tyler argued an amendment in 1990 deleted the requirement of needing articles submitted separately, and gave the Town of Andover as an example of another town that uses the method.
"You have a timely filed petition with the proper number of registered voters, all who signed are registered voters," Tyler said. "You have a timely filed petition, and it simply says with 10 (signatures) you have to accept it.
"Don’t hide behind town counsel. His advice is wrong. If that’s the way you want to go I can live with it. I think it's a poor way to proceed. They are worthwhile articles."
Drobinski said the articles themselves were not the problem.
"I don’t have a problem with the articles," Drobinski said, without going into the specifics of the articles.
"Use your good sense," Tyler answered back. "If you are not motivated by not liking them, then you should do it. This (decision) came from somewhere, but I think there is something more behind it."
Vice Chairman Bob Haarde said he read the email exchange between Tyler and Kenny, but did not have an answer to the problem.
"I'm not sure what the amicable thing to do is," he said.
Tyler said if the articles are not approved then he and those who signed the petitions would be "deprived of our rights under the constitution of the state."
"I think it's stupid to make this decision," he said.
After Tyler walked out, Haarde asked O'Brien if there were any other recourse.
"He had three days to get the signatures," O'Brien said. "If it's constructed properly and it has the signatures, we'll accept them. It seems to be a process people can work through. For whatever reason, this is the year he wanted to pick an (argument).
O'Brien asked Town Manager Maureen Valente to ask the Town of Andover for some "insider information" on how it works there.