I read with interest the article about Moderator Carmin Reiss and her effort to review Town Meeting procedures. I applaud her desire to streamline the process, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy for those who say they are too busy to attend a one- or two-night meeting once a year that is scheduled well in advance. Ms. Reiss is right that electronic participation options do not work, but if we can put most financial items on the Consent Calendar after careful review by the Select Board and Finance Committee, then I hope we can focus discussion around major Town projects and important initiatives such as MBTA zoning.
There IS a place for Zoom in Town Government. I worry that Town Committees are made up of a small — and older — group of dedicated citizens. It is hard for many people to make an evening meeting twice a month. At the Concord Housing Foundation, we have found that Zoom meetings work quite well for a group of a dozen or less. If scheduled at lunch time, members who work outside Concord need only eat lunch at their desk to attend. Parents at home can attend before their children come home from school, or even when younger children are taking a nap. If scheduled in the evening, Zoom meetings permit participants to spend more time with their children after work. It is better to have a member excuse him or herself for a few minutes to supervise homework than not to participate in town government at all.