LETTER: Town Moderator Jonathan Eaton Invites Voters To Special Town Meeting On November 19, Has A Message For Residents

Below is a message from Wilmington Town Moderator Jonathan Eaton:

Greetings Neighbors:

It is my great honor and pleasure to invite you to attend our Special Town Meeting to be held on Saturday, November 19, 2022, at 9:00 AM at the Joanne M. Benton Auditorium at Wilmington High School. The doors will open at 7:30 AM, and we ask that you arrive prior to the start of the meeting to expedite the check-in process.  Many of the materials for the Special Town Meeting, including the Warrant, are available on the town’s website: https://www.wilmingtonma.gov/town-meeting/pages/special-town-meeting.

We are anticipating high turnout, and gymnasium is being made available as an overflow room.  There will be a video feed of the meeting in the gymnasium, but all microphones will remain in the auditorium.  If you are planning on speaking, please proceed to the microphone queues in the auditorium.

Wilmington’s Town Meetings are conducted in accordance with the Massachusetts General Laws, our Inhabitant By-laws, and traditional customs and practices that we have followed for many years, with guidance provided by the principles and rules of conduct in Town Meeting Time, a Handbook of Parliamentary Law, and Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised: 11th Edition.  A non-exhaustive list of items of procedure are summarized below:

  • An Article in the Warrant provides notice to the Town Meeting of a matter to be considered. The Article itself is not a specific proposal for action.  A motion is a proposal for action by the Town Meeting, and must be within the scope of the notice provided by an Article in the Warrant.
  • All main motions and proposed amendments involving the expenditure of money or amending any by-law must be in writing. All other motions and proposed amendments must also be in writing unless they are brief and simple as to be easily understood when stated orally. The Moderator may request that a motion be made in writing.
  • Before commencing discussion on a main motion, the Moderator will first call for the recommendation and report of the Finance Committee.
  • Registered voters wishing to speak should come to a microphone. When recognized by the Moderator, the voter should state his or her name and address before commencing.
  • All discussion must be relevant to a motion then before the Town Meeting. All speakers must address the Moderator; questions may be asked only through the Moderator. A registered voter who wishes to make a motion that is debatable must first make the motion and, after it is seconded, if required, the Moderator will recognize the maker of the motion to speak to it.
  • The Moderator will try to recognize residents in the order in which they come to the microphones.
  • Our Inhabitant By-laws prescribe that the maker of a main motion may speak for up to ten (10) minutes, and other residents may speak for up to five (5) minutes prior to the closing of debate without first obtaining leave of the Moderator. The maker of a main motion may yield any portion of his or her time to speak to another individual.
  • On a motion to amend, our Inhabitant By-laws prescribe that no individual may speak for more than five (5) minutes, and debate is limited to twenty (20) minutes total.
  • No individual may speak more than two times on the same motion except to correct a mistake or provide an explanation. No person should seek recognition to speak for a second time until others who have not yet spoken have had an opportunity to be recognized.
  • No question shall be subject to a motion for reconsideration more than once, and no vote passed at any meeting shall be reconsidered at an adjournment of the meeting. As has been local custom, no motion to reconsider may be made to be dilatory, or to manipulate parliamentary procedure.  Such determinations are to be made by the Moderator.

Any resident who has questions about Town Meeting procedures may contact me at moderator@wilmingtonma.gov.

Lastly, I want to extend my gratitude to the town employees who put in a significant amount of work coordinating the logistics of this meeting, the volunteers who work to ensure that the meeting is well-run, and you, the residents who dedicate the time to attending town meeting to make decisions to direct your town government.


Jonathan R. Eaton

Town Moderator

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