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Town of Westwood, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Westwood as Arts. 2 and 3 of the General Bylaws. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Annual Town Meeting for the election of officers and for the balloting on all matters which are to be determined by official ballot shall be held on the day provided in the Town Charter. The polls shall open at 7:00 a.m. and shall remain open until 8:00 p.m.
[Amended 5-6-2013 ATM by Art. 18; 5-5-2014 ATM by Art. 28]
All business, except the election of officers and determination of such matters as by law are required or permitted to be upon the ballot, shall be considered at an adjournment thereof, as provided in the Town Charter. There shall also be a second business session Annual Town Meeting held on the second Monday in November unless said day shall fall on a state holiday in which case the meeting shall be held on the next business day, which meeting shall be an "Annual Town Meeting" for purposes of the General Laws; provided, however, that the Board of Selectmen may, at its discretion, cancel said Fall Annual Town Meeting, no later than September 15 in any year, so long as no more than 10 petitioned articles have been submitted for inclusion on the warrant of said Fall Annual Town Meeting, as set forth in the Charter, Section 2-6-1. Business sessions shall be called for 7:30 p.m.
[Amended 5-6-2013 ATM by Art. 18]
Every Town Meeting shall be called by a warrant, directed by the Board of Selectmen to a constable or other duly appointed person, which shall be served by posting attested copies thereof online and in four public places equally distributed among the four precincts, and at least seven days before the time stated in the warrant for holding an Annual Town Meeting or at least 14 days before the time stated in the warrant for holding a Special Town Meeting.
[Amended 1977 ATM by Art. 43; 5-6-2013 ATM by Art. 18]
The Finance and Warrant Commission shall distribute at least 30 days prior to the business session a summary of each article contained in the warrant of the Annual Town Meeting to the listed residence of each voter of the Town. A copy of the complete warrant shall be included in the Finance and Warrant Commission report for the Annual Town Meeting and shall also be distributed to the listed residence of each voter of the Town prior to such annual Meeting. Prior to each Special Town Meeting, the Finance and Warrant Commission shall distribute a summary of each article contained in the warrant for said meeting to the listed residence of each voter of the Town. The summaries and reports required hereunder shall be posted on the Town's website and copies made available at the Town Clerk's office; provided, however, that while it is the intent of this bylaw that every effort shall be made to distribute and post the summaries and reports as set forth herein, failure to do so shall not invalidate the action of the Town Meeting to which they relate.
The constable or person who serves a warrant for a Town Meeting shall, immediately after making service thereof, deliver to the Town Clerk the original warrant, with his return endorsed thereon stating fully the manner in which he served the same.
No business shall come before the meeting without an article for that purpose being inserted in the warrant, which shall set forth the subject matter to be considered and acted upon at such meeting. The name of the principal sponsor shall appear with all articles, to be printed following said article in the warrant, and, in the case of a petition article, shall include the address of the first petitioner.
[Amended 5-6-2013 ATM by Art. 18]
As provided by law (MGL c. 39, § 10), 200 registered voters may petition the Selectmen to call a Special Town Meeting, 100 registered voters may insert an article in the warrant for any Special Town Meeting, and 10 registered voters may insert an article in the warrant for an Annual Town Meeting.
[Added 5-6-2013 ATM by Art. 18]
A. 
Any five voters of the Town may submit to the Board of Selectmen or the Finance and Warrant Commission, not less than 30 days prior to the closing of the warrant, a proposed warrant article and shall designate a "lead petitioner" for the purposes of this section.
B. 
The Board of Selectmen or the Finance and Warrant Commission shall include the proposed article on an agenda at a regular or special meeting for discussion and provide the lead petitioner with nonbinding guidance no later than seven days prior to the close of the warrant.
C. 
Failure to submit an article under this section shall not prevent the filing of a petition under § 138-7; provided, however, that any guidance provided to the petitioners under this section shall not be binding on the Finance and Warrant Commission or Board of Selectmen in the event that a petition is submitted under § 138-7.
[Amended 5-6-2013 ATM by Art. 18]
Copies of all articles submitted for insertion in the warrant for any Annual or Special Town Meeting shall be forwarded forthwith by the Selectmen to the Finance and Warrant Commission for its consideration.
Copies of the vote adjourning any Town Meeting, except the stated adjournment of the Annual Town Meeting, shall be posted by the Town Clerk in at least two public places as soon as practicable after the adjournment. The notice shall include a brief statement of the business remaining to be acted upon.
Immediately after the call to order, the warrant for the Town Meeting shall be read by the Moderator, unless the meeting votes that the reading of the articles in the warrant be dispensed with.
No person whose name does not appear upon the list of registered voters shall be admitted to the hall where a Town Meeting is being held, except with the permission of the Moderator. The Moderator shall determine the bounds of the hall.
The number of registered voters necessary to constitute a quorum at any Town Meeting held for the transaction of municipal business shall be 175, but a smaller number may adjourn any meeting to a stated time and place. The determination and announcement of a quorum present by the Moderator shall be conclusive upon the question of fact, unless determination be doubted, in which case a count shall be taken and recorded.
The Moderator shall preside at the meeting and shall preserve order and decorum. The Moderator may appoint a voter to perform the duties of Moderator while he addresses the meeting, or in case he is called away from the meeting.
The Moderator may speak to points of order in preference to other voters and he shall decide all such questions. Every question of order with the decision thereon shall be entered by the Clerk in his records of the meeting.
A. 
Majority vote. Unless otherwise provided by law or bylaw, all motions shall require a majority vote of the voters present and voting. A motion may be withdrawn by the mover if no objection is made.
B. 
Resolutions. Resolutions shall be presented in writing to the Moderator and entertained at his discretion.
C. 
Order of business. All articles in the warrant shall be taken up in order of their arrangement unless otherwise decided by a two-thirds vote of those present and voting. No motion to lay on the table shall be entertained at any time by the Moderator.
D. 
Motions under the article; negative and affirmative motions.
(1) 
The recommendation of the Finance and Warrant Commission shall be the first motion under an article of the warrant and shall be considered the main motion.
[Amended 5-6-2013ATM by Art. 18]
(2) 
A motion for indefinite postponement shall be equivalent to a motion that no action be taken under the article and such motion may not be amended.
(3) 
If the vote of the Town shall defeat the motion of indefinite postponement, favorable action on the subject matter of the article shall require a motion to that effect.
(4) 
Any motion shall be reduced to writing if the Moderator so requests.
E. 
Permitted reports. No reports of committees shall be in order unless made under an article in the warrant which indicates the subject to be reported upon, or the report of the Finance and Warrant Commission on an article indicates the subject to be reported upon.
[Amended 5-6-2013 ATM by Art. 18]
F. 
Motion to dissolve. No motion, the effect of which would be to dissolve the meeting, shall be in order until the subject matter of every article in the warrant for such meeting has been finally disposed of, but this shall not preclude an adjournment of the meeting to another time and place.
[Amended 2001 ATM by Art. 24]
A motion to reconsider an article may only occur on the same night the article was voted and shall require a two-thirds vote of those present and voting and shall not be made again.
A. 
Every person desiring to speak shall rise, respectfully address the Chair and wait until he is recognized by the Moderator, and shall stand while speaking unless the Moderator directs otherwise. He shall confine himself to the question under consideration and avoid personalities.
B. 
No person shall address the meeting without first being recognized by the Moderator, and all persons shall, at the request of the Moderator, be silent. When two or more persons shall rise to speak at the same time, the Moderator shall name the one entitled to speak.
C. 
Without first obtaining leave of the meeting, no person shall speak more than twice on any question except to correct a mistake or misstatement, or to make an explanation, and no person shall speak more than 10 minutes at any one time without being again recognized by the Moderator.
D. 
Limiting debate. Any motion to move the question or otherwise limit debate shall require a two-thirds vote of those present and voting.
E. 
Any person who is employed as an attorney to speak on any matter under discussion at a Town Meeting shall disclose the fact of his employment before speaking thereon.
F. 
Voice vote. When a question is put, even if the motion requires a two-thirds affirmative vote to carry, the sense of the meeting shall be determined by the voices of the voters, and the Moderator shall first announce the vote as it appears to him by the sound, unless otherwise provided by general law.
[Amended 2001 ATM by Art. 25]
G. 
Standing, electronic, or written vote. If the Moderator is unable to decide by the sound of the voices, or if his announcement of the vote is thereupon doubted by seven or more voters raising their hands for that purpose, the Moderator shall without debate determine the vote by ordering a standing vote, and he may appoint tellers to make and return the count, or he may order a vote by electronic voting or secret written ballot.
[Amended 5-6-2019 ATM by Art. 17]
H. 
Secret ballot. An electronic vote or written ballot, to be taken by a "yes" and "no" secret ballot, and in such manner as the Moderator shall determine, may be ordered on any motion by a majority of voters present and voting.
[Amended 5-6-2019 ATM by Art. 17]
I. 
Dividing the question. If a motion is susceptible of division, it shall be divided and the vote on each part taken separately if a majority of those present and voting so vote, or if the Moderator, in his discretion, so rules.
In the conduct of all Town Meetings not prescribed by law or by these bylaws, the Moderator shall be guided by the rules of practice contained in Johnson, Trustman and Wadsworth, Town Meeting Time, A Handbook of Parliamentary Law, Little, Brown and Company.