Conroy: Town Must Vote for Selectmen Increase at Next Annual Town Election

State Rep. Tom Conroy announces committee’s revision to and approval of Sudbury’s petition to increase Board of Selectmen from 3 to 5 members.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following was submitted by State Rep. Tom Conroy.)

Yesterday, the Joint Committee on Election Laws amended and approved H.4471, “An Act Amending Chapter 131 of the Acts of 1994 to Increase Board of Selectmen Membership in the Town of Sudbury.”  The Committee vote approving the revised bill occurred two days after the November 27 hearing on the bill, at which several Sudbury residents testified, many for and many against the bill. 

The revised bill requires a ballot vote in Sudbury on whether to increase the board of selectmen from three members to five at the next regular annual town election, which will occur in March 2013. According to the revised bill, if a majority of voters favor the increase, an election for two additional selectmen must occur no later than the subsequent annual town election, which will occur in March 2014.  The language of the bill allows for a special election during 2013, initiated either by citizen petition with the requisite number of signatures, or by vote of the selectmen. 

The new bill, H4528, provides all of Sudbury citizens with an opportunity to vote yea or nay on the idea of increasing the board of selectmen from three to five members, which was an appeal made at the hearing on November 27.  Over the course of the next four months, the residents of Sudbury and town officials will have considerable time to research, deliberate, and debate the merits of the idea of expanding the board. 

The bill also provides an immediate opportunity for Sudbury’s selectmen to commit to scheduling a special election during 2013, and thereby put the acrimony of the past several months behind them and the town.  In so doing, the selectmen could demonstrate a statesmanlike acknowledgement of the will of many people in town to move forward sooner rather than later, while preserving the legacy of their considerable good work over the past several years on behalf of all residents of Sudbury. 

With this approval by the Joint Committee on Election Laws, the bill continues to progress swiftly through the legislative process.  It is likely that H4528 will be referred to the House Steering and Policy Committee, then hopefully move directly to the House calendar, so that the bill can be approved by the House in the next two weeks, and the Senate immediately thereafter.  The end of the legislative session is December 31. 



Kirsten Vandijk December 01, 2012 at 01:19 PM
While I certainly don't agree with his/her aggressive voice, I do agree that the results from the hearing and the amendment made is both fair and better serving our citizens. I do not believe that the voting population at the Special Town Meeting was representative of the entire population of registered voters of Sudbury. I believe the "Lavendergate" group that arrived late and filled the upper hall is responsible for the vote passing by a 2/3 majority. This filling the halls tactic has worked to get new schools built in the past. I worry that this tactic is becoming overused and making the Town Meeting an unpredictable and ineffective tool for progress. We will see a move from 3-5 but it should be done in a respectful, thoroughly vetted way. Special Town Meeting was not that way.
SkimThreePercent December 01, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Nothing to be confused about. It's called politics. Both sides get to play. Let's get the petition started today. Where do I sign? The chances that O'Brien will do this on this own are slim and none. Also vote against both question now pending. Hit them where it hurts. Be the flash mob that Gutch made us out to be.
siobhan hullinger December 01, 2012 at 01:22 PM
How does a ballot vote coincide with this definition: vet verb Definition: examine something or someone carefully to make certain that they are acceptable or suitable Synonyms: scrutinize, examine, inspect Antonyms: Tips: Vet is used to denote carefully examining someone or something to make sure they are acceptable and trustworthy. For a memory trick, imagine a vet (short for veterinarian) vetting (inspecting, examining) a dog to make sure it is healthy and without fleas or rabies. This same idea applies to vetting people to make sure they are who they say they are and are trustworthy. Usage Examples: The bank thoroughly vets all loan applicants before issuing a loan. (examines, investigates) The anchorman neglected to vet his sources and ended up running a bogus story that tarnished the image of the entire network. (inspect, scrutinize) It is imperative that reporters vet all of their sources before running a story, especially one that is high-profile. (inspect, scrutinize) The documents used in the news report were not properly vetted, and we later learned that the documents were false. (inspected, scrutinized)
Kirsten Vandijk December 01, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I am saying, Siobhan, that I was wrong to support the article as written. Kirsten Roopenian was right. Special Town Meeting was not the machine for this process. The constraints of time and attendance as well as other underlying issues made it flawed. As for emails and the like before elections--is that no different than the Lavendergate/One Sudbury private group that not everyone is welcome to?
siobhan hullinger December 01, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Then you would support a recall vote of the Nixon roof, a ballot vote for all and any CPA disbursements and any articles that were voted on at the special town meeting and the special election next week to be null and void and only be acted upon by a regular town ballot and town meeting. That appears to be what you are saying. I would support that since it is an across the board application instead of a pick and choose of what is valid.
SkimThreePercent December 01, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I would caution "against feeding the troll". Internet rule numero-uno. Rule #2 "beware of sock-puppets".
Mike Hullinger December 01, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I think it is important to note that despite the extensive debate on this article at Town Meeting, and despite the article being approved by an overhwehlming margin, our Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, ignoring the legitimate vote of our citizens, spoke out against this matter at the Joint Committee hearing. This sets an ulgy precedent for parties disatisfied with a vote at Town Meeting to seek injunctive relief to prevent the matter from being implemented until there is a Town Wide Vote. The fact that Mr. Conroy did not speak in favor of the overwhelming majorty vote on this matter by the Towns official legilsative body, speaks volumns. The Special Act that created our current form of Town Government, that was passed at a Town Meeting with only around 350 people, allows us to change the duties and powers of the Board of Selectment by a simple vote at Town Meeting. No townwide ballot required. This article made no changes to the duties and powers of the Board of Selectmen, at all, only a simple increase in the number. It is ironic that Chairman O'Brien chooses to speak on the side of the minority vote at Town Meeting to give them a voice at the Joint Committee Hearing, but is against giving a voice to people with differing views on the Board of Selectmen by expanding the number of Selectmen. Why?
Kirsten Vandijk December 01, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Mike and Siobhan, The scrutiny of not only the article but the process behind it's passing found it lacking and an amendment was needed. If indeed this article is sound enough to pass at Special Town Meeting with all of the constraints imposed, then it will surely pass in March. The vetting process exposed a less than above the board and dare I say ethical process that led to the passing of the article at special town meeting. This is what may be contributing to the amendment and therefore it is not applicable to all other articles of the past. If you wish me to clarify I will but it would not be in the best interest of the OneSudbury movement.
Blitzen December 01, 2012 at 02:14 PM
@ Kirsten- you seem to have a huge problem with One Sudbury. Is it because you were removed, for your aggressive tone? Or because you dominated every discussion with your make believe nonsense? But by all means clarify! I need a good laugh-
siobhan hullinger December 01, 2012 at 02:14 PM
You are naive to think that the amendment was anything more than playing politics to both sides. As I said earlier - if all the other articles at the special town meeting and any and all articles only passed at town meeting are sound then they should go to a ballot vote as well. In particular - any articles at the special town meeting have no value - you cannot pick and choose by saying one article was less than above board and the hall was stacked for that one article yet all the others that were voted on by "the stacked hall" stand. It's hypocritical to make that statement - which is what you are saying.
Sudbury Citizen December 01, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Kirsten Vandijk, you don't speak the truth. You promised us you would leave the patch forever. You claimed to start your own facebook page. Please go back to that or run your flower business. We don't want you to read your crap. Good bye.
Sudbury Citizen December 01, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Everybody put Kirsten Vanijk on delete. She claimed to leave this site for good and now she clogs the site agaim. Put her on ignore.
Sudbury Citizen December 01, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Blitzen, NO, we don't want to hear her garbage. She set her own site up, let her talk all she wants their.
Sudbury Citizen December 01, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Kirsten, you spend more time on the comments than running your business. Why would anyone do business with you when your " passion " is commenting on blogs than flowers.
siobhan hullinger December 01, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I'd like some clarification of what was less than ethical or above board in the submission or vetting of the 3-5 article from Kirsten. The article followed the letter of the law....period. Please reference any and all laws, charter violations and any other state, federal and local statutes, processes, by laws or what have you. I would be interested to see those instead of just a repeat of what rumor, innuendo or conversational manipulation and forwarding. Please show me the fact.
Sudbury Citizen December 01, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Every member of OneSudbury should boycott Passion Flower.
Mike Hullinger December 01, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Kirsten, As I underestand the process, the law and bylaws were followed. Town Counsel opined at Town Meeting the article was properly submitted. The Town Moderator entertained all proposed amendments and debate on those amendmendments. The questioned was called, following Town Meeting procedures. The words of the article were clear and unambigous. So I don't understand what was less than above board or less than ethical about the legal process that was followed and complied with. If such was the case, why wasn't it brought up before the legislative body of the Town during the debate period, or why didn't the BOS address such concerns before approving the article for inclusion in the warrant for Town Meeting? By comparison, signficant and material budget changes are brought into Town Meeting providing no time for scrutiny by the Town's legislature, and somehow this is considered above board? I'm sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree. The rules were followed. Our legislative body of the Town debated it at length. Our BOS Chairman spoke against it at Town Meeting. The article was approved by "an overwhelming majority." Despite this decision by the Town Meeting, our BOS Chairman testified against it and our State Rep did not speak in favor of it. Entrenched power is protecting something, and it is not "tradition." The people spoke, they were ignored.
siobhan hullinger December 01, 2012 at 03:09 PM
It so urks me when people profess to be seekers of truth and yet do not provide any substantive back up to criticism. If the 3-5 was less anything less than by the book this would NOT have 1) passed BOS for submission on the warrant 2) not supported by town counsel as following the law 3) not been valid at town meeting 4) Chair O'Brien would have pointed that out 5) not been submitted by Tom Conroy 6) not passed through committee at state level 7) not been granted a hearing by the election commission 8) not been passed by the election commission Please let's be honest folks. Do your own research,Kirsten. Report back with facts - not the opinion of yet another divisive, less than above board, insider.
Blitzen December 01, 2012 at 03:12 PM
As usual Siobhan- Well said!!!
Sudbury Citizen December 01, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Sudbury, we all should do business with Frugal Flower. They love Sudbury and respect the citizens of this town unlike another flower shop in town.
Concerned Sudbury Parent December 01, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with everyone's comments supporting the legitimacy of the special town meeting vote and the lack of fairness of the committee rulling. However, this is water-under-the bridge. Any debate is purely academic at this point. Let's focus our energies on bringing a special election to resolve this matter once and for all.
Kirsten Vandijk December 01, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Very well.
Alison December 01, 2012 at 04:35 PM
This is just plain nasty and immature and is consistent with the level of discourse we have all come to expect from "Sudbury Citizen" and Robert Stein and, unfortunately, too many others. Agreeing with you certainly doesn't define who loves and respects Sudbury and I have no doubt that Kirsten Vandijk does both. I hope she will continue to express her opinions on the Patch and that people will continue to do business in her shop. It is really a gem that we are lucky to have in town.
siobhan hullinger December 01, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Agree Alison - She is quite talented in her craft. Quality work and quality products - no question we are lucky to have such a small business. Plan to use her talents for my holiday table.
Karoles December 01, 2012 at 05:55 PM
The town has a chance to move forward. Please cease in the horrible name calling on this posting area. I find that those making these comments to be very inappropriate and irrational. This is not a sign of any type of leadership we need.
Eric Poch December 01, 2012 at 08:21 PM
All this mud slinging and false bravado will do nothing to further this cause. If you've got facts to contribute, do so. A question - ask it. Everything else serves only to call into question the motivations behind the movement - by perception or reality, no matter. If you're frustrated or angry save it and channel the energy into something productive.
sudburycitizentoo December 02, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Let's just say Blitzen should go back to the north Pole and find out for herself! HA!
Annette December 02, 2012 at 01:48 AM
@ sudburycitizentoo- call your Dr and get on some meds- you need them desperatly!
sudburycitizentoo December 03, 2012 at 01:02 PM
the red pill or the blue pill? hmmmmmmm
kyle mccarthy December 03, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Either pill has to be better than whatever you are taking (or not taking) now.


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