Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Select Board Meeting 2007-09-10

Note to self: do not criticize colleagues as preface to a motion, no matter how innocuous the motion, if you expect a second rather than dead silence.

Yes, I knew that already. Yes, this Select Board is not motion-driven; we talk about agenda items and often no vote at all is taken, unlike some bodies that can't even discuss an item until a motion has been made (e.g., Town Meeting). If anything, the tradition at Select Board seems to be "don't make a motion til you're sure how the vote is going to go, and then someone who is voting with you -- or who is just tired of the discussion -- may second it."

There's something to be said for less formal rules. It's one reason so many people love Amherst, for one. Still, sometimes rules simplify things and take the "charge" out of a situation. That's why we're working on a two or three page "guide for people walking in the door to the Select Board meeting" -- so people know what to expect. "Transparency" is turning into a loaded word around local politics; it used to be my favorite theme, until I realized it was being used in the sense of, "if I don't like the outcome, it must not have been a transparent process."