[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of North Reading 10-5-1970 by Art. 4, approved 12-4-1970. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Administration — See Ch. 5.
Notice of all Town Meetings shall be posted in seven (7) or more conspicuous places in Town at least fourteen (14) days prior to the time of holding such meetings. Notice of any Town Meeting shall be given by printing the date, time, and place of the meeting in a newspaper of local circulation at least once during each of two (2) consecutive weeks immediately prior to such meetings as set forth in Charter 2-4-4.
Editor's Note: Original Sec. 2.2, regarding adjourned sessions, which immediately followed this section, as amended 10-7-1974 OTM by Art. 4, approved 12-13-1974, and 5-2-1977 ATM by Art. 29, approved 8-30-1977, was deleted 11-6-1978 ATM by Art. 15.
No motion to dissolve the meeting shall be in order until every article in the warrant has been duly considered and acted upon.
[Amended 10-17-1977 OTM by Art. 10, approved 2-28-1978; 10-2-2000 OTM by Art. 14, approved 3-29-2001; 10-3-2011 by OTM by Art. 29. approved 10-24-2011]
A motion to adjourn the meeting to a time, date, and place certain shall not be made until action on the previous motion before the meeting has been made completed. This provision shall not apply to the omnibus articles of the June Town Meeting. Debate on a motion to adjourn shall be limited to three (3) minutes per speaker, and no speaker shall speak more than once, except by permission of the Moderator, and then only briefly to answer a question raised by another speaker.
[Amended 11-6-1978 ATM by Art. 14, approved 2-6-1979; 4-6-1998 ATM by Art. 21, approved 8-4-1998; 10-3-2011 by OTM by Art. 29. approved 10-24-2011; 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 33, approved 9-21-2018]
The Board of Registrars shall appoint tellers who shall permit only registered voters to enter upon the floor of the meeting place of any Town Meeting. Any number of registered voters present shall constitute a quorum sufficient for any session of an Annual Town Meeting. One hundred fifty (150) registered voters shall constitute a quorum sufficient to conduct business at any session of a Special Town Meeting.
Nonregistered voters or visitors may be admitted to a town meeting by a majority vote of the meeting. Such persons shall not be seated on the assembly floor, but in an area designated by the Moderator. Specifically named individuals may, by a majority vote of the Town Meeting, be seated with the officials and departments they serve.
[Amended 4-6-1981 ATM by Art. 3, approved 7-21-1981]
Nonregistered voters; exceptions.
Nonregistered voters serving the Town as an employee, consultant, or in some other official capacity may be allowed to address the meeting with permission of the Moderator.
Such persons shall not be allowed to make motions nor shall they be allowed to vote on any question before the meeting.
The Moderator shall require the seating of all persons within the confines of the auditorium, meeting hall, or such meeting place designated by the Select Board for the purpose of meeting and acting upon the articles set forth in the warrant of Town Meeting, regular or emergency, before any article may be acted upon.
[Amended 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 28, approved 9-21-2018]
This section shall not apply to any person specifically granted permission to stand by the Moderator.
No person shall address the Town Meeting or offer a motion or an amendment to any motion without prior recognition by the Moderator.
Any person requesting recognition by the Moderator shall stand at his place and wait for an indication by the Moderator that he has been recognized before addressing the meeting or offering a motion or an amendment to a motion. Upon recognition by the Moderator, the speaker shall first state his name and place of residence before addressing the meeting.
No person shall speak for more than five (5) minutes on any article or portion thereof nor more than once without first obtaining leave of the meeting, except to correct a mistake or answer a question.
When debate is closed by ordering the previous question or by vote to close debate at a specified time, the maker of the motion under consideration shall be allowed to speak three (3) minutes and may grant to any other voter a part or a whole of his time, or give his time to the meeting.
[Added 10-1-1990 OTM by Art. 8, approved 12-18-1990]
All motions and amendments to motions shall be made in writing and submitted to the Moderator before any action shall be taken on said motions or amendments to said motions.
The following motions may be excluded from the above provisions that they must be submitted in writing to the Moderator:
[Amended 10-8-1981 OTM by Art. 16, approved 3-2-1982]
When a question is before the meeting, the following motions shall take precedence in the order listed:
Fix the time to which to adjourn (when privileged under Robert's Rules).
Adjourn (when privileged under Robert's Rules).
Recess (when moved while a question is pending).
Raise a point of personal privilege.
Call for the orders of the day.
Lay on the table.
Move the question.
Limit or extend limits of debate.
Postpone to a time certain.
Commit or refer.
Of the above motions one through eight are not debatable, and motions nine through twelve are debatable.
[Amended 10-4-1971 OTM by Art. 12, approved 11-12-1971]
A motion for reconsideration of any article or portion thereof shall be considered by the Meeting but once. No article or portion thereof may be reconsidered, except at the session during which the original article, or portion thereof, is placed before the Meeting for action. No article or portion thereof, having once been disposed of by the Meeting, shall be reconsidered, except by an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) majority of those present and voting.
When a motion is readily susceptible of division it shall be divided and the vote upon each part taken separately, provided the Moderator deems best or seven (7) voters present so request.
[Amended 10-17-1977 OTM by Art. 12, approved 2-28-1978]
When only a majority vote is required the sense of the meeting shall be determined by a voice vote, and the Moderator shall declare the vote as it appears to him. Whenever a two-thirds vote is required by statute, such vote may be declared as such by the Moderator without a count and be recorded as such by the Clerk upon such declaration.
[Amended 4-4-2005 ATM by Art. 6, approved 7-19-2005]
If the Moderator is unable to decide the vote by the sound of the voices or if his decision is immediately questioned by seven (7) or more voters standing in their place for that purpose, the Moderator shall, without debate, determine the vote by ordering a standing vote.
Should twenty-five (25) voters stand in their place favoring the use of "yes" or "no" ballots, such a vote shall be taken. The Moderator shall appoint tellers to make and return the count.
[Amended 10-4-1971 OTM by Art. 10, approved 11-3-1971; amended 10-17-1977 OTM by Art. 11, approved 2-28-1978]
When a vote is to be taken by "yes" or "no" ballot in accordance with § 172-13, the door to the meeting shall be secured, the floor cleared of all nonregistered voters, and the Moderator shall appoint a teller to direct, row by row, each voter desiring to cast a vote to proceed to the station of the tellers. The voter shall there obtain a yes and no ballot and deposit that portion of the ballot corresponding to his vote in a receptacle labeled "Ballots." The unused portion shall be deposited in a receptacle labeled "Discards."
The Moderator shall implement a procedure to prevent duplicate voting. The tally of the ballots and discards shall be made by the tellers. The results of said tally shall be conveyed to the Moderator to be read to the Meeting.
The Moderator may, with an affirmative vote of a majority of those attending and voting at the Town Meeting, appoint an Assistant Moderator to assist him in the proper and orderly conduct of any Town Meeting, regular or emergency.
Such Assistant Moderator, if and when appointed, shall be deemed the Assistant Moderator only during the session in which he has been appointed.
The services of the Assistant Moderator may be ended at any time by declaration of the duly elected Moderator, or by a majority vote of the Town Meeting.
If a vacancy in the Office of Moderator occurs during any term, a Temporary Moderator shall be elected by the Town Meeting.
At any Town Meeting during which a Temporary Moderator is to be elected, the Town Clerk shall preside over the meeting until election of said Temporary Moderator is accomplished.
In the absence of the Town Clerk, a member of the Select Board shall preside over the meeting until the election of the Temporary Moderator.
[Amended 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 28, approved 9-21-2018]
Editor's Note: Original Sec. 2.18, Recording of Meetings, which immediately followed this subsection, was deleted 10-17-1977 OTM by Art. 13, approved 2-18-1978.
No person shall distribute or offer for sale any literature, goods, handbills, or other materials within 100 feet of the entrance of Town Meeting hall or halls without the consent of a majority vote of the Board of Registrars.
All articles to be inserted in the warrant of any regularly scheduled Town Meeting must be submitted to the Select Board in writing on or before the third Monday in March for the June session of Town Meeting and on or before the third Monday in August for the October session of Town Meeting.
[Amended 10-9-1986 OTM by Art. 8, approved 12-4-1986; 6-6-2011 ATM by Art. 29, approved 9-13-2011; 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 28, approved 9-21-2018]
All articles shall be signed by the person or persons presenting the article(s), the name of said person or persons to appear on the article in the warrant.
[Added 10-10-1991 OTM by Art. 14, approved 1-7-1992; amended 10-3-2011 OTM by Art. 29, approved 10-24-2011]
The warrant shall include an explanation of each article. The June Town Meeting budget/omnibus article shall include a detailed explanation of certain line items deemed appropriate by the Finance Committee.
The Select Board may, by an affirmative vote of at least three (3) members of said Board, omit any article from any Town Meeting warrant, regular or emergency, which the Board deems not to be in the best interests of the Town of North Reading.
[Amended 6-4-2018 ATM by Art. 28, approved 9-21-2018]
Such power as outlined above shall not apply to such articles submitted for inclusion on said warrants of any regular or emergency Town Meeting when petitioned for inclusion according to the General Laws of the Commonwealth.
The Town Administrator shall be responsible for the providing of all physical facilities required by the Town Meetings, regular or emergency.
Editor's Note: Original Sec. 2.22, Order of Articles for Town Meeting, which immediately followed this section and was added 10-5-1992 OTM by Art. 7, approved 1-6-1993, was deleted 4-16-1998 ATM by Art. 22, approved 8-4-1998.
[Added 4-2-2001 ATM by Art. 19, approved 7-30-2001]
The order of consideration of the articles on the warrant may be changed only by a four-fifth vote of the Town Meeting.