Questions about eCode360? Municipal users Join us daily between 12pm and 1pm EDT to get answers and other tips!
Town of Wakefield, MA
Middlesex County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The legislative powers of the Town shall continue to be exercised by a Town Meeting open to all voters.
All sessions of the Town Meeting shall be presided over by a Town Moderator, elected as provided in Section 3-3. The Town Moderator shall regulate the proceedings, decide all questions of order, and make public declarations of all votes. The Town Moderator shall perform such other functions as may be authorized by the laws of the Commonwealth, by this charter, by by-law or by other vote of Town Meeting.
The Town Clerk, or the designee of the Town Clerk, shall serve as the Clerk of the Town Meeting. The Clerk shall give notice of all Town Meetings and adjourned sessions thereof, record their proceedings, and perform such additional duties as may be provided by law of the Commonwealth, by this charter, by by-law or by other vote of Town Meeting.
The Town Meeting shall be vested with all the legislative powers of the Town, except as otherwise provided by the laws of the Commonwealth or this charter. The Town Meeting shall provide for the exercise of all powers of the Town and for performance of all duties and obligations imposed upon the Town.
The Town Meeting may adopt or enact by-laws, rules, regulations, and other orders as presented by the Town Council, including adoption of the annual Town budget, not inconsistent with this charter, governing its own proceedings, Town functions, and all matters bearing on the exercise of its powers and duties.
(a) 
In General. Subject to the provisions of this charter and such by-laws or other Town Meeting votes regarding committees as may be provided, the Moderator shall appoint for fixed terms the members of such committees of the Town Meeting, special or standing, as may from time to time be established. In addition to such specific powers, duties and responsibilities as may be provided to a committee by the by-law or vote establishing it, each such committee when acting within the scope of its authority shall have a right to examine the pertinent records of any Town agency and to consult with, at reasonable times, any Town officer, employee or agent.
(b) 
Finance Committee. There shall be a fifteen-member Finance Committee, the members of which shall be appointed to three-year terms by a Finance Committee Selection Committee consisting of the Moderator, the Chairperson of the Town Council, and the Chairperson of the Finance Committee, so arranged that the terms of as nearly an equal number of members as is possible shall expire each year. Periodically as appointments to the Finance Committee near expiration, and as soon as practicable after the occurrence of a vacancy in the Finance Committee, the Moderator shall call a meeting of the Finance Committee Selection Committee for the purpose of appointing successor members by giving written notice thereof to the Chairperson of the Town Council and the Chairperson of the Finance Committee and by posting notice in compliance with the Open Meeting Law, provided that if the Moderator fails to conduct such a meeting by the date that is 30 days prior to the expiration of any member's term, or within 14 days after the occurrence of a vacancy, then either of the other members of the Finance Committee Selection Committee may in the same manner call such a meeting. The subject matter of all proposals regarding Town budgets, appropriations of money, transfers of money, expenditures of money, borrowing of money, or revenues, to be submitted to a Town Meeting by warrant article or articles, shall be referred to the Finance Committee by the Town Council at the earliest practicable time following their receipt by the Town Council. The Finance Committee shall report its recommendations on every such article contained in a Town Meeting warrant, in writing, together with a brief statement of the reasons for each such recommendation. Before preparing its recommendations the Finance Committee shall hold one or more public hearings to permit public discussion on the subject matter of all such articles contained in the warrant. Any other conditions of appointment or service as may be deemed necessary or desirable shall be established by this charter or by by-law.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 31]
Every Town Meeting shall be called by a warrant issued by the Town Council which shall state the time and place at which the meeting is to convene and, by separate articles, the subject matter to be acted upon. Except as otherwise set forth by this charter, the publication of the warrant for every Town Meeting shall be in accordance with a Town by-law governing such matters.
(a) 
Initiation. Except procedural matters, all subjects to be acted upon by Town Meeting shall be placed on warrants issued by the Town Council. The Town Council shall receive all petitions which are addressed to it and which request the submission of a particular subject matter to the Town Meeting and which are filed by:
(1) 
any elected Town officer including a member of a multiple member body;
(2) 
any appointed multiple member body acting by a majority of its members;
(3) 
any ten (10) voters for a regular Town Meeting and by one hundred (100) voters for a special Town Meeting; and,
(4) 
any other person, persons or Town agency as may be authorized by by-law. All such requests for the inclusion of subjects shall be in writing, but they shall not be required to conform to any particular style or form, except that each request for a particular subject shall be submitted as a separate petition.
(b) 
Referral. Within five days of receipt of any proposed warrant article the Town Council shall cause copies of the proposal to be mailed or emailed to the Chairperson of the Finance Committee and to be posted on the Town bulletin board, and shall cause such other distribution to be made of each such proposal as may be required by by-law.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 32]
The Town Council shall also cause a copy of any proposed warrant article to be sent to the Town Administrator, who shall, within five (5) days thereafter, determine and assign the warrant article to the appropriate Town officer, board or department, who shall be responsible for submitting a recommendation to Town Meeting.
(c) 
Inclusion on Warrant. The Town Council shall include on the warrant for a regular Town Meeting the subject matter of all petitions which have been received by it sixty (60) or more days prior to the date fixed by by-law for the Town Meeting to convene. Whenever a special Town Meeting is to be called, the Town Council shall give notice by publication in a local newspaper of such intention and shall include in the warrant for such special Town Meeting the subject matter of all petitions which are received at its office on or before five o'clock in the afternoon of the fifth business day following such publication. Publication and distribution of the warrant shall be as determined by by-law.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 38]
Every Town officer, the chairperson of each multiple member body, the head of each department and the head of each division within the said departments shall attend all sessions of the Town Meeting for the purpose of providing the Town Meeting with information pertinent to matters appearing in the warrant.
In the event any Town officer, chairperson of a multiple member body, department head or division head is to be absent due to illness or other reasonable cause, such person shall designate a deputy to attend to represent the office, multiple member body, department or division. If any person designated to attend the Town Meeting under this section is not a voter, such person shall, notwithstanding, have a right to address the meeting for the purpose of compliance with this section.
(a) 
Time of Meeting
[Amended 11-17-2008 RTM by Art. 15]
The Town Meeting shall meet at least twice each calendar year. The annual town meeting shall be held within thirty (30) days of the first Monday in April, said date to be determined by the Town Council, or on such date as may from time to time be fixed in the by-laws of the Town, shall be deemed to be the Annual Town Meeting of the Town and is expected to be primarily concerned with the determination of matters involving the expenditure and commitment of Town funds, including, but not limited to, the adoption of an annual operating budget for all Town agencies, and for the purpose of electing officers and for the determination of all other matters to be decided by ballot of the voters.
A regular Town Meeting shall be held within thirty (30) days of the first Monday in November, said date to be set by the Board Town Council, or on such date as may from time to time be fixed in the by-laws of the Town, shall be deemed to be the Annual Financial Meeting of the Town and is expected to be primarily concerned with hearing an annual financial report of each Town office, multiple member body, or department. Each Town office, multiple member body and department shall prepare and present a financial report describing its significant budget expenditures for the prior year. Such financial report shall also be included in the Annual Budget, as set forth in Section 2-9.
(b) 
Special Town Meeting. Special Town Meetings shall be held at the call of the Town Council at such times as it may deem appropriate and whenever a special meeting is requested by the voters in accordance with procedures made available by the laws of the Commonwealth.
(c) 
Meetings of Town Boards, Committees, and Commissions. No multiple member body of the Town shall schedule a meeting to be held during the time the Town Meeting is in session for the transaction of business.
(d) 
Presentation and Recommendation of Warrant Articles. Presentation of, and recommendation on, Warrant Articles at Town Meeting shall be performed in the following order:
(1) 
Presentation by the sponsor of the article;
(2) 
Recommendation (and discussion, if any) of the appropriate Town officer, multiple member body, or department affected by the article, as assigned by the Town Administrator;
(3) 
Recommendation of the Finance Committee, with the exception of articles that do not relate to Town budgets, appropriations of money, transfers of money, expenditures of money, borrowing of money, or revenues.
All warrant articles shall be assigned and referred by the Town Administrator to the appropriate Town officer, multiple member body, or department, provided that such office, body or department is permanent and has been established by the provisions of this Charter, by bylaw or by the laws of the Commonwealth. The appropriate Town officer, multiple member body, or department shall hear the article and report its recommendation to the Town Meeting, a copy of which recommendation shall have been forwarded in writing to the Town Administrator at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the Annual Town Meeting or the Annual Financial Meeting, and at least ten (10) days prior to a Special Town Meeting, or within such time as may be otherwise prescribed by by-law.
Additionally, all such articles containing an appropriation of monies shall also be referred to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee shall also hear the article and present its recommendation to the Town Meeting, a copy of which shall have been forwarded in writing to the Town Administrator at least ten (10) days prior to Town Meeting.
The Town Administrator shall cause the recommendations submitted by the various town boards and departments on all warrant articles to be compiled and printed at least five (5) days prior to Town Meeting. A copy of the recommendations shall be made available to the public.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 38]
(e) 
Secret Ballots. If a motion is made and seconded to conduct a secret ballot on any main motion under an article, and such motion for a secret ballot is supported by ten percent (10%) of those voting, then the vote on such main motion shall be taken by secret ballot. The vote on the motion for a secret ballot shall be conducted by secret ballot.
(f) 
Participation in Debate. The Moderator shall first recognize the proponent of the main motion under each article in the warrant unless the maker of any other motion offers a procedural motion for the previous question. The Moderator shall recognize any non-voter or minor, provided the Town Meeting so authorizes and unless otherwise provided by this Charter.
(g) 
Parliamentary Procedure. The Town Meeting shall be conducted pursuant to Roberts Rules of Order, and such other rules as may be provided by this charter, by by-law, or by other vote of Town Meeting.
(1) 
Reconsideration. A motion to reconsider any vote must be made before the final adjournment of the meeting at which the vote was passed, and may only be made at an adjourned session of such meeting. Such motion to reconsider shall be made at an adjourned session provided the mover has given notice of his intention to make such motion by written notice to the Town Clerk within twenty-four (24) hours after the adjournment of the session of the meeting at which the vote was passed. There shall be no reconsideration of a vote during the session of the meeting at which the vote was passed.
(a) 
Effective Date of Final Votes. No final affirmative vote of a Town Meeting on any warrant article, except a vote to adjourn or dissolve, or votes appropriating money for the payment of notes or bonds of the Town and interest thereon becoming due within the then-current fiscal year, or votes for the temporary borrowing of money in anticipation of revenue, shall be operative until after the expiration of twelve (12) calendar days from the dissolution of the Town Meeting. If a referendum petition is not filed within the said twelve (12) calendar days, the vote of the Town Meeting shall become operative.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 28]
(b) 
Non-Final Votes. Any article disposed of by a vote to lay on the table or to postpone indefinitely, or by other dilatory vote, shall be deemed to have been rejected in the form in which it was presented or amended.
(c) 
Referendum Petition. If, within said 12 calendar days, a petition signed by not less than 5% of the total number of persons then registered to vote in the Town and containing their names and addresses, is filed with the Town Council requesting that any question, not yet operative as defined in Subsection (a), above, be submitted to the voters, then the operation of such vote shall be further suspended pending its determination as provided below. The Town Council shall, within ten (10) days after the filing of such petition, call a special election that shall be held within thirty-five (35) days after issuing the call, for the purpose of presenting to the voters any such question. If, however, a regular or special election is to be held not more than sixty (60) days following the date the petition is filed, the Town Council may provide that any such question be presented to the voters at the same election.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 28]
(d) 
Referendum Election. All votes upon the question so submitted shall be taken by ballot, and the conduct of such election shall be in accordance with the provisions of the law relating to elections, unless otherwise provided in this section. Any question so submitted shall be determined by a majority vote of the voters voting thereon.
(e) 
Format of Questions. Any question so submitted shall be stated on the ballot in substantially the same language and form in which it was stated when presented by the Moderator to the Town Meeting, as appears in the records of the clerk of the meeting.
(f) 
Budget Questions. If, as a result of a referendum election held on a budget question for one or more Town departments, the budget for such department or departments has not been established as of the beginning of the fiscal year next following the Town Meeting at which the budget question was voted upon, an interim budget shall be set for such department or departments on a monthly basis at 1/12 the previous year's budget until a new budget has been approved.The approved budget shall be adjusted by the sum of the monthly interim appropriations.
[Amended 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 38]