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Sudbury Selectmen Mapping Out Plans for First-Ever Town Forum

Forum will be held at Town Hall on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. to discuss goals voted on by the Board.

From left, Selectmen Len Simon, Larry O'Brien, John Drobinski, Chuck Woodard and Bob Haarde are preparing for Sudbury's first-ever Town Forum. Patch file photo
From left, Selectmen Len Simon, Larry O'Brien, John Drobinski, Chuck Woodard and Bob Haarde are preparing for Sudbury's first-ever Town Forum. Patch file photo

When Chuck Woodard was running for one of the two new seats on Sudbury's Board of Selectman last year, he said he felt being transparent was necessary for the good of the town.

On Jan. 23, he and the rest of the Board will have the chance to show how transparent it can be when Sudbury holds its first-ever Town Forum at Town Hall.

"I think it’s gonna be a very good thing for this town," Woodward said. "For transparency, this is good. The Selectmen hours (that started last year), public comment section (during our meetings) is good. I'm not sure what else we can do. But we need to talk to each other."

The Town Forum is a result of Article 41 that passed during last year's Town Meeting, which was spearheaded by former selectman candidate Dan DePompei. The article states Sudbury will hold an open, public meeting for constructive engagement.

"I think basically the change from three to five selectmen has, for a number of different reasons, created some new transparency and new initiatives for transparency," said DePompei, who credited Woodard for his efforts. "The three selectmen had a chance to do this earlier and chose not to by a majority vote."

Woodard said he hopes residents will take an active role in the Forum.

"It's not a presentation to the audience," Woodard said. "We hope it's a conversation with questions and comments." 

The forum, designed after Lincoln's annual "State of the Town" meeting, will allow discussion of the Selectmen's goals for the year. Each goal will be presented by one selectman over a three- to five-minute period.

"I'm hopeful we get questions from the audience," Woodard said. 

The Selectmen will rotate as moderators during the Forum, which is slated for 2 ½ hours. The rotation will be:

Moderator John Drobinski:

  • Police Station- Larry O'Brien;
  • Capital funding- Chuck Woodard;
  • Sewer related goals- Bob Haarde;

Moderator Larry O'Brien:

  • Rail trail- Len Simon;
  • Melone property- Chuck Woodard;
  • Town counsel selection- John Drobinski;

Moderator Chuck Woodard:

  • Fairbanks- Bob Haarde;
  • Minuteman- Len Simon;
  • Mass Central line rail trail- Len Simon or Bob Haarde;

Moderator Bob Haarde:

  • Health Trust & OPEB – Larry O'Brien;
  • CSX- Len Simon;

Moderator Len Simon:

  • Davis Field- Bob Haarde;
  • LS IMA- Chuck Woodard.
Residents can submit questions by email, either in advance or during the Forum, sending them to townforum@sudbury.ma.us. Residents should include the topic in the subject line. The Forum will start at 7 p.m.

"The real test is what happens and how it’s managed when it takes place," DePompei said. "Now it depends on whether we can all act like adults and ask the tough questions and get the answers in an open forum."

For more information, visit the town's website at www.sudbury.ma.us.

"The more opportunity people have to speak up, the healthier it will be all around," Woodard said. "People can (voice) concerns and be heard ... that’s a good thing."

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