Does Dartmouth’s Daytime Town Meeting Exclude Young People?
For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, Dartmouth Town Meeting members will meet in person next week. So far, masks are not required to participate in the annual Spring Town Meeting.
I've been a Dartmouth resident for more than two years now, but I confess I have not been to a town meeting since I was a young news reporter just breaking into the business more than 40 years ago. A lot of things have changed since then.
The annual Spring Town Meeting begins at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7, in the auditorium at Dartmouth Middle School.
My boss asked what I thought about town meetings during daytime hours when many town residents are either at work or school. In his view, young people are left out of the process because they have to work or attend classes.
To be honest, I hadn't really thought about it. In fact, I didn't know town meetings were held during the daytime. When I covered them, they were at night. Sometimes it took several nights to complete the town's business.
My boss was under the impression that anyone could participate in town meetings. That may be true in some communities, but in Dartmouth, voters select Town Meeting Members from each of the town's nine precincts.
WBSM's Brian Thomas was elected to serve during the annual spring election.
I don't have an issue with daytime town meetings since I did not seek to participate. I recall that 40 years ago, some town meeting members had difficulty with child care at night. Perhaps with children in school, it is easier to participate during daylight hours.
Some town meeting members will use work vacation days in order to participate in the Spring Town Meeting next week. Other members who are retired or don't work won't have an issue.
DartmouthWeekToday.com reports there are a number of important issues facing town meeting members next Tuesday.