Local Governance in the News

The Community Engagement Team (CET) in my town of Cambridge was featured on the front page of the local newspaper the News & Citizen on 9/28/17:

Cambridge looks to boost turnout for town meeting

CET Chair Tyler Machia was quoted extensively. More information about the CET, including links to agendas, minutes, etc., can be found in my previous blog post here.

The CET is doing good work. The members of this committee (I am one) are working on several improvements for town meeting in March 2018, including childcare, the number and placement of microphones, and information for citizens, among other things.

Another aspect of the CET’s work is improving how to present and vote on issues (“articles”) at town meeting. We have consulted several sources for advice in this regard, including the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and an attorney with experience in this area, James Barlow.

Coincidentally, Attorney James Barlow was mentioned in an article in VT Digger on 9/29/17 about governance changes being considered in the town of Bennington:

Bennington considers local tax and government restructure

Bennington hired Mr. Barlow as a consultant to help them evaluate options for changing their local governance. There is a photo of Mr. Barlow at the link. The article includes discussion of the various ways that towns handle local governance: select board, town administrator, town manager, and – for larger towns and cities – mayors of various types. Bennington is larger than Cambridge,* and local governance there will therefore look different. But it is interesting to know the full landscape of local governance options that are used by municipalities in Vermont.

*In the 2010 Census, the population of Cambridge was 3,659 while Bennington’s population was 15,764 – nearly the size of the cities of Rutland (16,495) and South Burlington (17,904).

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