Selectboard logo, May 20, 2019

UPDATED: In an administrative matter aiming to balance the board's time and opportunities for the public to speak, the Select Board has discussed limiting its meetings’ open forums to 30 minutes, with remaining participants given the opportunity to speak at the end of the meeting. 

The forum is often held just before Traffic Rules and Orders/Other Business on a Monday-night agenda.

“I want a predictable time when we can expect to have everything done, so it would help to have the open forum limited to 30 minutes,” said board Chair Len Diggins during discussion at the Aug. 22 meeting. This allows 10 people to speak; each speaker is allotted three minutes.

“This way, people can leave, and the rest of us stay until the end of the meeting. However, if there are more people in the queue, we could take the remainder after New Business [the (final agenda item] and before we adjourn,” added Diggins.

Board member Diane Mahon concurred. “This sounds good, and has been done in the past. It lets us be respectful of town business that needs to be done, and we can stop the open forum if there’s a lot of people.”

Asked to clarify Sept. 4, Diggins wrote: "This is an administrative matter. It's completely up to the chair to determine how open forum is managed, but I wanted to run the idea by my colleagues to see how they felt about it.

"The practice will go into effect at the next meeting. In most meetings, it's unlikely to have any effect.

"Also, 30 minutes won't be a hard limit. To a large extent, adherence to the time limit will depend on the nature of the items on the agenda and how long we anticipate that they will take. "

Watch the entire meeting on ACMi:

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This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022. Bob Sprague contributed.

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