- What rules govern Town Meeting?
In Carver, the Moderator guides his actions by the parliamentary handbook used by most Massachusetts Moderators known as “Town Meeting Time” and the Massachusetts General Laws which are supplemented by “Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.”
- Who may speak at Town Meeting?
All of the town's registered voters, residents and taxpayers may speak on any article in the warrant. Persons who are not voters, residents or taxpayers of the town may address the Town Meeting only with the consent of a majority of those present. If you wish to speak, stand up, move to any available microphone and wait for the moderator to acknowledge you. When the Moderator acknowledges you, state your name and address. Speak about the topic being discussed. Don't speak about a previous topic (unless there is a motion to rescind or reconsider). Make your comments through the moderator, not directly to the Town Meeting.
- Conduct of Speakers
Every person when about to speak shall rise, respectfully address the Moderator and wait until recognized by the Moderator, and in speaking shall address all comments to the Moderator, shall confine him/herself to the question under consideration and avoid personal attacks, inappropriate language, or uncivil conduct of any type. The Moderator may cut off any speaker who fails to adhere to this code of conduct. 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.
- Equal Opportunity for Debate
Unless otherwise approved by the Moderator,< >no person shall speak more than twice on any motion except to correct a mistake or misstatement, or to answer a question, or to raise a Point of Order (unless the maker of the motion is answering relevant questions);no person shall speak more than five minutes the first time they speak on any article and more than three minutes the second or subsequent time they speak on that article;no person may yield their speaking time to another person; andexcept to answer a question or to raise a Point of Order, no person shall speak for a second time on any motion until all persons wishing to speak for a first time on that motion have been recognized.Speaking by Non-Voters
Unless approved by the Moderator, non-voters shall not address Town Meeting except as follows:
- A full-time employee who is a Department Head or who is the designated spokesman of a Department Head may address the Town Meeting prior to any action on any article which has been sponsored by or directly affects his/her department notwithstanding his or her domicile or citizenship.
- A consultant or other expert retained by a department, board, commission, committee or elected official may address the Town Meeting prior to any action on any article related to the service performed by said consultant or other expert notwithstanding his/her domicile or citizenship.
- Any appointed commission, board or committee member, may address the Town Meeting prior to any action on any article which has been sponsored by or directly affects his/her commission, board or committee, notwithstanding his/her domicile or citizenship.
- Limiting Debate
Any motion to move the question or cut off debate shall require a two-thirds vote and is not debatable or amendable. Acceptance of this motion is in the sole discretion of the Moderator, except the Moderator may refuse to accept a motion to move the question or cut off debate
- when made by a speaker after said speaker has made any remarks concerning the merits of the question then pending or
- if the Moderator deems the motion to be premature.
- Voting Procedures at Town Meeting
When a two-thirds (2/3) vote of town meeting is required by statute, the Moderator shall make public declaration of the vote and a count need not be taken. The Moderator will count the vote any time it appears that a voice vote is too close to call. If any vote declared is immediately questioned by seven (7) or more voters, the Moderator shall verify it by polling the voters.
The Finance Committee shall provide the Town Clerk all main motions in writing, or electronically, 24 hours before any Annual or Special Town Meeting, excepting only motions that are still under review or pending advice from Town Counsel. All other motions, including, but not limited to, Motions to Amend a previous Motion, shall be submitted in writing, unless otherwise allowed by the Moderator. A motion may be withdrawn by the mover. No motion to dissolve a Town Meeting shall be in order until every article in the Warrant has been duly acted upon at the meeting.
- Motions to Reconsider
At any Annual or Special Town Meeting or adjournment thereof, a motion to reconsider any article on the Warrant may be made only once and must be made within two articles and at the same session on which the article was voted.