Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Your presence is requested

I was looking over TM’s attendance record thus far. There are 242 Town Meeting members – 228 regular and 14 ex officio. We have met four times, over the course of three weeks. And . . .

128 members have been to all four session. (52.9%)
66 members have been to three sessions. (27.3%)
17 members have been to only two sessions. (7.0%)
15 members have been to only one session. (6.2%)
16 members haven’t been to any sessions yet. (6.6%)

Wow! I am shocked and really disappointed by those numbers. Where are these people? If attending is inconvenient or impractical for them, then why are they on Town Meeting at all? Do people care about this? If so, what can we do about it?

5 comments:

Clare Bertrand said...

I'm very concerned about this too! As an elected representative, I feel an obligation to participate. Despite my husband getting very sick and in fact being hospitalized, I have worked at getting childcare and making sure I show up at all the meetings. I say this, not to draw attention to myself, but rather to highlight the importance that I believe should be placed on regular attendance. Thanks for sharing this info, Clare

Larry Orloff said...

I suspect that some individuals who ran for Representative have a special interest, such as ensuring funding for schools, and will attend when the articles they are concerned about come up for discussion and vote.

What can be done about it? Last year the LWV published attendance records of candidates for TM in the Amherst Bulletin. I don't know why that wasn't done this year. I hope that the LWV will resume that practice. - Larry

Baer Tierkel said...

Mr. Orloff brought up an interesting point, that possibly parents with kids in school who ran for Town Meeting with a natural focus on schools may only be showing up for schools-oriented votes. Knowing our parent community fairly well, I'm pretty sure that is not the case. Most parents in TM that I speak with are focused on the whole well-being of our town (just as folks in our town who do not have kids in the schools still support good schools).

I went to the town website (you don't have to wait for LVW!) and looked at the TM attendance and calculated it for the parents with kids in schools I know if who serve vs. TM as a whole:
TM Whole attendance: 78%
Parent TM members attendance: 86%

Here are the parents of kids in the schools I know of in TM:

Precinct 1
Alisa Brewer 4/4
Dan Kramer 3/4
Arnie Alper 4/4
David Gillham 3/4

Precinct 2
Arnie Alper 3/4
Jenny Fabrizi 4/4
Stephanie Gelfan 4/4
Carol Sharick 4/4
Dorwenda Bynum-Lewis 3/4
Steve Dunn 2/4
Janet Lansberry 4/4
James Mead 1/4
Kim Mead 1/4
Patty O'Brien 0/4
Tom Flittie 3/4
Andy Churchill 4/4

Precinct 4
Patty Blauner 4/4
Peter Blier 3/4
Mike Giles 3/4
David Levenstein 1/4
Margot O'Connor 3/4
Baer Tierkel 4/4
Kate Troast 3/4

Precinct 5
Rich Alcorn 3/4
Larry Kelley 4/4
Jim Oldham 3/4
Nina Wishengrad 4/4

Precinct 6
Jim Brissette 4/4
Gloria Chang-Wade 4/4
Ralph Hill 4/4
Mary Kersell 4/4
Rob Spence 4/4

Prencinct 7
Carol Gray 4/4
Chris Hoffmann 4/4
Ernest Dalkas 4/4
Rich Morse 4/4
Irv Rhodes 3/4

Precinct 8
Clare Bertrand 4/4
Paul Bobrowski 4/4
Fred Moseley 3/4
Zina Tillona 4/4

Precinct 9
Sarah Auerbach 4/4
Kathy Ford 3/4
Taryn Laraja 4/4
July Rueschmeyer 4/4
Molly Whalen 4/4

Precinct 10
Grace Greicci 4/4
Phil Jackson 4/4
Keith Ulrigh 4/4
Marcie Sclove 4/4

You don't have to wait for the LVW, attendance records for this TM (and all TMs) can be found here:

http://www.amherstma.gov/departments/Town_Clerk/town_meeting/warrantsandresults/050106_Attendance_by_Precinct.pdf

arnie alper said...

Regarding the listing of "parents of kids in the schools" I would like to clarify:

I admit to being a parent of kids in the schools.
I admit to being at all 4 Town Meeting sessions held so far this spring.
I admit to being a member of Town Meeting representing Precinct 2.
Wishing to avoid the appearance of impropriety, I deny also representing Precinct 1.

Thanks, Arnie ;-)

Baer Tierkel said...

Hi Arnie

Sorry about that! You are definately 4/4 (and from what it looks like 23/25 for a 92% record)!