Marion Dowling

On Robert's Rules, municipal meetings, and diverse views

In the editor's note to this letter, a quote appears from Tim Wessel, a member of the Brattleboro Selectboard, who states “We don't do seconds, ever.” The editor's note states that the Brattleboro Selectboard uses Robert's Rules of Order for Small Assemblies, which makes the process of seconding motions as an option for the organization.

As a member and then-chairperson of the Newfane Selectboard for several years, I know that using the Robert's Rules of Order can be used as a guideline for conducting meetings without having to follow it in an exact manner.

I believe that consistency matters and therefore if an organization such as a town Selectboard follows the structure and rules of Robert's Rules of Order, it is best to follow the rules, no matter the size of an assembly.

Selectboards exist to represent each and every member of the town they serve in the state of Vermont and to do so in a transparent way at all times. I always emphasized that it was important to listen to opinions and concerns, and I encouraged members on both sides of an issue to speak up and be listened to.

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