At their July meeting, the Board of Selectmen took several steps to improve the transparency of your local government. Our goals are to give you the information and ability to make decisions and advocate for how your community is operated.
First, the Board of Selectmen will be holding “office hours” on the third Monday of each month starting in August. Office hours will begin at 5pm, one of the Selectmen will be available to take any comments or answer any questions you may have. The office hours will be at the Martel Conference Room located at Town Hall, 350 Main Street. We welcome your input! If those hours are not convenient, as always, you can bring your concerns to the Town Administrator’s Office during any Town Hall business hours.
Second, the Board of Selectmen adopted a new policy regarding minutes of town boards and committees. We would like to provide information from board and committees meetings to residents in a timely fashion so that residents may better participate in future meetings. With this in mind, minutes will be available on the Town’s website within two weeks of the meeting. Due to the quick turnaround time, many of these minutes will still be in draft form as they have not been formally approved by the board or committee. Additionally, these minutes will remain available online for three years.
Third, by the end of the calendar year, meetings of the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Board of Health will be recorded and made available on the Town’s cable access channel and YouTube page. We are currently in process of upgrading the Board of Selectmen room to better accommodate presentations and recordings of these meetings. This will include monitors for viewing presentations for both the sitting board/committee as well as the public. Additionally, new software will be able to directly embed the presentation slides into the recording of the meeting for better viewing.
Fourth, calendars have been correlated so that beginning next calendar year, the regularly-scheduled meetings of the above boards and committees will not overlap. We realize that some members of the public may want to attend two meetings happening at the same time. These meetings will also be on a more standardized schedule with the flexibility to accommodate emergencies and holidays.
Fifth, the Selectmen approved a new appointment policy for those interested in serving on boards and committees. The policy (as well as the other Selectmen policies) are available online at. There are several goals of the policy. First, to ensure that the Town has quality candidates for filling board/committee vacancies. Second, to make sure that those interested in serving on a committee are aware of the opportunity and have the ability be recognized when a seat opening is available. Third, that a fair and impartial process is in place for appointing candidates. We are grateful for the many volunteers that serve on our boards and committees. Your service is fundamental to the operations of our Town. We encourage others to join with us as your time and commitments allow.
Sixth, informational packets regarding items coming before the Board of Selectmen will be available on the Selectmen’s page of the Town’s website. These will typically be available on the Friday before a Monday Selectmen’s meeting. Also, the Town Administrator’s report given to the Selectmen with updates on priority projects and issues will be available on the Town’s website shortly after the Selectmen’s meeting.
We hope these changes will improve your ability to obtain information and participate in your local government. Citizen input greatly improves our ability to make Webster a better place to live and work.