6 Comments

  1. Steve Halford
    Steve Halford September 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm | | Reply

    I could not have said it better! We have noticed some serious flaws in town operations because of minimal input which results in a lot of complaints, faulty proceedures and just plain bad decisions. Sad to say, some towns members enjoy town meeting because their agenda is voted in with them well knowing that if the town participated, they would not get their wishes. Example: The town of Tinmouth voted $20,000.00 (out of the road paving budget) to cut brush along the road way and $2000.00 to count dead trees along the road. When this started to happen, the residents of Tinmouth were appalled but it was voted in at town meeting.

    Steve and Kathy Halford

  2. Dick Heilman
    Dick Heilman September 18, 2014 at 11:30 pm | | Reply

    It is hard to disagree with this wonderfully put together commentary.
    Alas, a ready solution does not spring to mind.
    And if Vermont cannot take its strong tradition of governance by Town Meeting from its small town, agricultural beginnings (likely overrated by its wistful 20th and 21st century admirers) and make some something like it work for its presently overcommitted voters who can?
    I suspect that Mr Dier’s analysis of who really gets to decide local issues may be the best that we can look forward to and that the challenge will be to encourage the folks that really do have the time and inclination to attend town meeting to take it all as seriously as their forebears are credited with doing.
    Encouraging year round attendance at select board meetings, and insistence on free and open discussion at them would be a good place to start in making town meeting a more productive enterprise.

  3. robby porter
    robby porter September 19, 2014 at 9:36 am | | Reply

    Hey Hilton,
    Nice job, well read too.

  4. Josh Larkin
    Josh Larkin September 23, 2014 at 7:43 am | | Reply

    So true and so good. Thanks, Hilton.

  5. Ruth Kassel
    Ruth Kassel September 24, 2014 at 9:15 am | | Reply

    Well stated age old problem. And no one’s found a solution yet, except to “vote the bums (your representatives) out”
    at the next election. Alas: people feel they don’t understand the issues (because they couldn’t get to public meetings)
    don’t bother to vote, and the “bums” stay in office.
    A famous quote; there is no worse system of government, except for all the others.

  6. Bruce S. Post
    Bruce S. Post June 16, 2015 at 11:01 am | | Reply

    I live and was a Selectboard member in Essex Town, which still deliberates and passes its large budget on the floor at Town Meeting. Imagine. It is held in a hall than can fit roughly 600 people. Yet, there are more than 15,000 voters on our checklist. Any moves to change are almost automatically resisted by the Selectboard, in the Town, or the Trustees, in the Village of Essex Junction. In a very real way, Town Meeting in Essex is a barrier to participation. It reinforces what I call “the dictatorship of the Selectboard” and, in a very real sense, the dominance of our long-time Town Manager, who does not relish public power over his desires.

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