Town Meeting is both an event and an entity. As an event, it is a gathering of all registered voters in Town. As an entity it is the legislative body of the Town of Wenham.
Open Town Meeting is the oldest form of government dating back to the mid 1600’s. It is a gathering of all registered voters with the purpose of giving every registered voter a voice in all matters concerning the governing of our town. It is the most direct form of government that can be found. Every vote matters and counts. However, attendance is required to have this voice.
Every town in the Commonwealth must have at least one meeting, called the Annual Town Meeting; our by-law requires we hold ours on the first Saturday in April.
Nowadays, with our “uber” busy lives, making time to attend these open town meetings is difficult, but the importance has not wavered. The ability to raise a concern, vote on a new bylaw or even repeal one is a huge benefit to living in a small town such as Wenham. This “ability to have a say in your town’s policies” should be treasured and not wasted.
State law requires a Town Moderator to “preside and regulate the proceedings, decide all questions of order, and make public declarations of all votes” in an open town meeting.
Citizens Guide to Town Meeting has a lot of important information for residents who live in a community that governs by Town Meeting.
The pamphlet of Open Town Meeting in Wenham is also helpful for residents.