Town Meeting logo

UPDATED May 8: In a second victory in as many sessions on an animal-related issue, Article 16, prohibiting retail sales of pets, passed easily on Wednesday, May 1, at the third session of annual Town Meeting. The vote was 173 in favor, 42 opposed, two abstained. It applies to mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish; an unsuccessful amendment had sought to restrict it to mammals only. This followed Article 15, passed at the second session, banning sales of new fur (but not sale of leather, cowhide or sheepskin; and it does not ban sale of used-fur goods)

 "We have widespread support for this warrant," said supporter Laura Kiesel, who spoke on its behalf and who noted that there now are no retail outlets selling pets in Arlington. The passage does not affect purchases made from private breeders nor the bait shop in East Arlington. She was supported in that stance by resident Cary Thiel, introduced by Town Meeting member Paul Schlichtman of Precinct 9. "I ask you to be there for the animals tonight," Thiel said, saying that he has a professional background in animal welfare.

Backing the ultimately unsuccessful Voroglu amendment and also speaking briefly were two members from Precinct 15 -- BethAnn Friedman and Carl Wagner -- the former saying that the main article would go too far and the latter agreeing and asking that residents instead work for the overall health and safety of all animals.

Dissolution of inland wetland overlay district fails

Also a matter of some debate was Article 28, to delete the Inland Wetland Overlay District, this claimed by backers to be obsolete and redundant given the existence and mission of the more recently established Conservation Commission to enforce compliance with the state Wetlands Protecton Act.

"The Conservation Commisson has robust authority," said Arlington Redevelopment Board member Gene Benson, echoing the language of the annotated warrant and saying that this would not reduce wetlands protection. He noted that he is a former director of an association of "ConComs" throughout the commonwealth. It was the ARB who inserted Article 28 into the warrant.

Not everyone was in favor, for example, Chris Loreti (7). "I rise in opposition," he said, saying that greater protection is needed, should, for example, developers seek special permits. Others felt the same.

As a two-thirds vote was required, it failed, with the vote being 135 yes, 78 no, zero abstaining -- not eough for passage

Town clerk job to be appointed

As recommended by the Select Board, which inserted it into the warrant, and by general election, both last month, Article 20 passed, changing the key role of the town clerk from an elected to an appointed position. 

John Worden (8) had brought an amendment that would have restricted candidates to Arlingtonians. "It should be a resident of the town of Arlington," he said. "It should be one of the people in our town." Annie LaCourt (13) countered, saying that it was preferable to have a professional in this operational position, regardless of residency, who could be recruited from a broader pool of applicants than a town of some 46,000. 

The amendment was defeated, and the vote on the main motion was 173 yes, 38 no, five abstentions. This will authorize the Select Board to file a home-rule petition to the state seeking to amend the Town Manager Act of 1952.

Passing with little/no controversy

Articles 18, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 all passed swiftly. Article 45, the annual appropriation to the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District, attended by some 400 Arlington teens, occasioned some discussion/debate but also ultimately passed. The town's immediate prior representative to the Minuteman School Committee, A. Michael Ruderman, saying he was speaking as an individual, called the district and its relatively new building "a promise fulfilled," and Steve Moore (18) agreed.

Interim Superintendent-Director Kevin Mahoney said that graduates of the Lexington-based high-school campus historically succeed post-graduation, with up to 65 percent attending two- or four-year college, about 30 percent able to go right to work in the fields they were trained for and about 5 percent to the military. 

Resources/background about TM 

Local cable television station ACMi provides live coverage on cable (Comcast 22, RCN 614, Verizon 26) and streaming live at acmi.tv/govlive and also posted online on YouTube. The cable TV station also typically will rebroadcast each session multiple times.

The Town of Arlington has a link-heavy page specifically about Town Meeting. Among other things, it has a frequently updated link to the annotated warrant (a detailed and augmented list of the articles, most either submitted by a government official or advanced by a group of residents) and a "tracker" or or dashboard or specialized spreadsheet that is supposed to be kept up in real time.

There are guidelines and forms; downloadable templates for those for amending the original motion and for substituting an alternate version to the original motion; historical records of previous Town Meetings; and ways to see emails, updates and announcements.

Watch ACMi video of session:

Town Meeting 2024's main link on the Town of Arlington website 

YourArlington  summary of 2024 Town Meeting information


This news summary by YourArlington Editor Judith Pfeffer was published Monday afternoon May 6, 2024. It was updated May 8, to ACMi video window.