Town of Dedham, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Dedham as Ch. 2 of the 1996 By-laws; amended 11-18-2013 STM by Art. 16. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Records and reports — See Ch. 78.
The Annual Town Meeting for the election of Town Officers shall be held on the second Saturday in April in each year.
All business of the Annual Town Meeting, except the election of such officers and the determination of such matters as are required by law to be elected or determined by ballot, shall be considered at an adjournment of such meeting, referred to in these by-laws as the business session of the Annual Town Meeting, which shall be held on the third Monday in May.
The polls shall be opened at 7:00 a.m. and shall remain open until 8:00 p.m., except as otherwise provided in the warrant for such meeting.
[Added 11-14-2014 ATM by Art. 15[1]]
In addition to the individuals and bodies listed in Section 2-9(a) of the Charter, articles for Town Meeting may be submitted by the Town Manager or a department head.
[1]
Editor's Note: This article was adopted as § 85-3A, but was renumbered, with the permission of the Town, to maintain the organization of the Code.
Whenever a special Town meeting is to be called the Board of Selectmen shall give notice of such intention by such means as it shall establish by vote or by rule and shall consider for inclusion on the warrant for such special Town meeting the subject matter of all petitions which are received at its office on or before the close of regular office hours on the second business day following such publication; provided, however, that whenever a special Town meeting is called by petition in accordance with the General Laws the warrant therefor shall include all subjects the insertion of which shall be requested by said petition; provided, further, that the warrant for any special Town meeting shall include all subjects the insertion of which shall be requested in writing by 100 voters.
The warrant for all Town Meetings shall be directed to any appointed constable of the Town, and notice of every Town Meeting shall be given by posting attested copies of the warrant therefor in one or more public places in each district in the Town not less than 14 days before the day fixed for such meeting, and by publishing the same at least once in a newspaper having a general circulation in the Town, the last publication to be not less than 14 days before the day fixed for such meeting.
[Amended 11-17-2014 ATM by Art. 18]
At least 14 days before the day fixed in the warrant for the business session of the Annual Town Meeting or the day fixed in the warrant for any Special Town Meeting, the Finance and Warrant Committee shall cause to be sent by mail to every Town Meeting representative at his or her place of residence, a copy of the report of the Committee on articles to be acted upon at the business session of an Annual Town Meeting or at such Special Town Meeting, and shall make other printed copies of the report available to the residents of the Town in the Town Hall, in the libraries, at all Town Meetings or by mail if so requested. The report of the Committee shall include such information relating to collective bargaining for Town employees as the Committee deems advisable and shall include copies in full of all collective bargaining agreements whose implementation depends upon or involves any action by the Town Meeting, whether by appropriation, amendment of the Personnel Wage and Salary Plan By-Law or any Schedule therefor or otherwise.
[Amended 11-17-2014 ATM by Art. 18]
In addition to posting and publishing as hereinabove provided, notice of the time and place fixed in the warrant for the business session of every Annual Town Meeting and of the time and place fixed in the warrant for every Special Town Meeting shall be sent by the Town Clerk to every Town Representative by mail at least 14 days before the day fixed for such meeting. Written notice of Special Town Meetings shall be given by the Selectmen to the Chairman of the Finance and Warrant Committee immediately upon drawing the warrant therefor.
As soon as practicable after the adjournment of any Town Meeting on a vote to adjourn to another day, the Town Clerk shall cause a brief statement of the day and hour to which the adjournment was voted to be posted in the Town Office building and in one or more public places in each district in the Town.
The Town Clerk shall arrange for the creation of a permanent, verbatim record of the proceedings of each Town Meeting, in such form as he or she may deem appropriate.
One Hundred and Seventy Representatives shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any Town meeting, provided, however, that a lesser number may organize temporarily and may from time to time adjourn the same. This section shall not apply to such parts of meetings as are devoted exclusively to the election of Town Officers or the determination of such matters as are required by law to be determined by ballot.
Articles of the warrant shall be acted upon in the order in which they appear unless otherwise determined by vote of the meeting.
[Amended 11-17-2014 ATM by Art. 18]
A. 
The recommendation on any article of the warrant made by the Finance and Warrant Committee will have the standing of the original motion on the article, unless the article would adopt or amend a zoning by-law, in which case the Planning Board’s recommendation shall be the original motion. Substitute motions for and motions to amend any recommendation in the Finance and Warrant Committee's report shall be in writing unless otherwise directed by the Moderator. The Moderator may require any other motion to be reduced to writing. Unless otherwise voted by the Town Meeting body, substitute motions shall be published to all members of the Town Meeting body present to act on said substitute motion.
[Amended 5-18-2015 ATM by Art. 29]
B. 
At any Town Meeting the Moderator may, and at any Annual Town Meeting shall, read the numbers of the articles, and under any budget article the number of each item, requiring any Town Representative who wishes to discuss, amend or offer a substitute motion on any article or item to ask when the number is read that the article or item be passed, and the Moderator upon passage of an enabling vote adopting the Finance and Warrant Committee's recommendation on all of the articles and items not so reserved and not reserved by the Moderator, shall declare such articles and items to have been adopted. The Moderator shall reserve all articles and items on which a vote of more than a simple majority of the members present and voting is required by statute.
If 10 Town Representatives so request, any motion which is divisible shall be divided and the question shall be put separately upon each part thereof.
When a question is before the meeting, the following motions namely: to adjourn to another time or place or both; to lay on the table; to limit debate; for the previous question; to postpone to a time certain; to commit, re-commit or refer; to amend; to postpone indefinitely; shall be received and shall have precedence in the foregoing order; and the first four shall be decided without debate.
On proposed amendments involving sums of money, the larger or largest amount shall be put to the question first, and an affirmative vote thereon shall be a negative vote on a smaller amount.
[Amended 5-16-2016 ATM by Art. 30]
Any Town Representative or other speaker who speaks on any motion at a Town Meeting in which the speaker or a member of the speaker's immediate family has a financial interest shall first disclose such interest to the Meeting. For the purposes of this section the term "immediate family" shall mean the speaker's spouse, and their parents, children, brothers and sisters. The term "financial interest" shall mean any financial interest, whether large or small, positive or negative, provided that the interest is reasonably foreseeable or direct as compared to remote and speculative.
When a question is put, the sense of the meeting shall be determined by the voices of the Town Representatives present at the Meeting, and the Moderator shall declare the vote as it appears to him. If the Moderator is unable to decide the vote by the sound of the voices or if his decision is immediately questioned by seven or more Town Representatives rising in their places for the purpose, the Moderator shall then request all persons in the house to be seated and the question shall be distinctly stated, and those voting in the affirmative and negative respectively shall rise and stand in their places until they are counted by the Moderator or Tellers.
If 15 or more Town Representatives request a roll call vote on any question, a vote on such question shall be taken by a roll call of all Town Representatives present at the meeting.
Upon any article or item the body on motion or the Moderator may direct that no person shall speak more than once on any question to the exclusion of any other person who may desire to speak thereon.
Upon any article or item the body on motion or the Moderator may direct that no person shall speak for more than 10 minutes on any question, unless his time shall be extended by a vote of the body.
Except as provided in §§ 85-19 and 85-20, a motion for the previous question or any other motion to terminate or limit debate shall require a vote of at least 2/3 of the Town Representatives present and voting for adoption.
Any voter or taxpayer of the Town who is not a Town Representative shall be entitled to speak at any Town Meeting subject to the same terms as are applicable to Town Representatives, but a voter or taxpayer who is not a Town Representative shall not be recognized when any Town Representative seeks to be recognized except by leave of the body granted upon the request of a Town Representative. A person who is not a voter or taxpayer of the Town may be permitted to speak by leave of the body granted upon the request of a Town Representative.
No vote of the meeting shall be reconsidered unless so decided (a) on a motion made within one hour after passage of the vote to which such motion relates, by vote of at least a majority of the Town Representatives present and voting; or (b) on a motion made more than one hour after passage of the vote to which such motion relates, by vote of at least 2/3 of the Town Representatives present and voting. When a motion for reconsideration is decided, that decision shall not be reconsidered, and no question shall be reconsidered more than once, unless such reconsideration is voted by at least 3/4 of the Town Representatives present and voting; nor shall any vote be reconsidered on a motion to adjourn, to lay on the table or for the previous question.
No motion for reconsideration shall be in order at an adjourned meeting on a matter decided at the previous session of the same meeting except by a vote of 2/3 of the Town Representatives present and voting.
All committees shall report as directed by the Town. If no report is made to the meeting at which the committee was directed to report, the committee shall be discharged, unless the Town grants an extension of time.
No motion, the effect of which would be to dissolve the meeting, shall be in order until every article in the warrant therefor has been duly considered and acted upon but this shall not preclude the postponement of consideration of any article to an adjournment of the meeting at a stated time and place.
[Amended 11-17-2014 ATM by Art. 18]
Any grant or appropriation of a sum of money exceeding $500 shall be reported to the Town Meeting either by the Finance and Warrant Committee, the Town Manager, the School Committee, or other Town Officers or by some committee specially appointed for the purpose pursuant to a vote of the Town.
All Town Meetings shall be opened with a salute to the flag of the United States of America.
[Amended 11-17-2014 ATM by Art. 18]
The Town Meeting shall not vote upon any action to implement a collective bargaining agreement which has not been included in the report of the Finance and Warrant Committee in accordance with the requirements of § 85-6 of this chapter, unless at least 14 days prior to the vote all Town Meeting Members have been otherwise furnished a copy of the agreement and of the recommendation of the Finance and Warrant Committee or of any Town officer, board, department or committee responsible therefor as to action by the Town Meeting. This provision may be waived in any instance by a vote of at least 2/3 of the Town Meeting Members present and voting.
[Amended 11-17-2014 ATM by Art. 18]
The Town Meeting shall not vote to accept a section of an act of the General Court or a section of the General Laws the full text of which has not been included in the report of the Finance and Warrant Committee, unless at least 14 days prior to the vote all Town Representatives shall have been otherwise furnished a copy of the act or section and of the recommendation of each standing committee to which the proposal has been referred as to action by the Town Meeting. This provision may be waived in any instance by a vote of at least 2/3 of the Town Representatives present and voting.
A. 
There shall be a standing committee on by-laws, appointed by the Moderator. The committee shall consist of no fewer than five voters of the Town, one of whom shall be an attorney; provided, however, that a majority of the committee shall be Town representatives. The term of each member shall end upon the dissolution of the third Annual Town Meeting after appointment, except for an appointment to fill a vacancy for an unexpired term; provided, however, that initially members shall serve staggered terms so as to cause as close to an equal number of expirations each year as possible; provided, further, that each member shall serve until a qualified successor is appointed. A member may be reappointed to successive terms. The committee shall choose its own officers and shall serve without pay.
[Amended 11-21-2018 ATM by Art. 19]
B. 
In accordance with section 2-9(c) of the Dedham Home Rule Charter, all articles amending the by-laws of the Town except those which relate to the Personnel, Wage and Salary Administration Plan, the compensation and benefits for employees, planning, zoning, subdivision control and any other matters relating to land use, shall before enactment be referred by the Board of Selectmen to the committee on by-laws for its report and recommendation.
[Amended 11-17-2014 ATM by Art. 18]
C. 
The committee may, with the concurrence of the Board of Selectmen, also serve as the by-law review committee for purposes of section 7-2 of the Dedham Home Rule Charter.
[Amended 11-17-2014 ATM by Art. 18]
When a two-thirds vote of Town Meeting is required by statute, the Moderator shall make a public declaration of the vote and a count need not be taken. If a vote, so declared, is immediately questioned by seven or more Town Representatives, the Moderator shall certify it by calling for a standing vote.