Town Moderator's Page
What rules govern Town Meeting?
In Goshen, the Moderator guides his actions by the parliamentary handbook used by most Massachusetts Moderators known as “Town Meeting Time” and the Massachusetts General Laws which are supplemented by “Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.”
Who may speak at Town Meeting?
All of the town's registered voters, residents and taxpayers may speak on any article in the warrant. Persons who are not voters, residents or taxpayers of the town may address the Town Meeting only with the consent of a majority of those present. If you wish to speak, raise your hand and wait for the moderator to acknowledge you. When the Moderator acknowledges you, state your name and address. Speak about the topic being discussed. Don't speak about a previous topic (unless there is a motion to rescind or reconsider). Make your comments through the moderator, not directly to the Town Meeting.
Conduct of Speakers
Every person when about to speak shall rise, respectfully address the Moderator and wait until recognized by the Moderator, and in speaking shall address all comments to the Moderator, shall confine him/herself to the question under consideration and avoid personal attacks, inappropriate language, or uncivil conduct of any type. The Moderator may cut off any speaker who fails to adhere to this code of conduct. No person shall address the meeting without first being recognized by the Moderator and all persons shall, at the request of the Moderator, be silent.
Equal Opportunity for Debate
Unless otherwise approved by the Moderator,
no person shall speak more than twice on any motion except to correct a mistake or misstatement, or to answer a question, or to raise a Point of Order (unless the maker of the motion is answering relevant questions);
no person shall speak more than five minutes the first time they speak on any article and
no person may yield their speaking time to another person; and except to answer a question or to raise a Point of Order, no person shall speak for a second time on any motion until all persons wishing to speak for a first time on that motion have been recognized. Any persons who desire to make lengthy presentations or use audio-visual aids are required to disclose such intentions to the Moderator not less than one week prior to the Town Meeting
Speaking by Non-Voters
Unless approved by the Moderator, non-voters shall not address Town Meeting except as follows:
A full-time employee who is a Department Head or who is the designated spokesman of a Department Head may address the Town Meeting prior to any action on any article which has been sponsored by or directly affects his/her department notwithstanding his or her domicile or citizenship.
A consultant or other expert retained by a department, board, commission, committee or elected official may address the Town Meeting prior to any action on any article related to the service performed by said consultant or other expert notwithstanding his/her domicile or citizenship.
Any appointed commission, board or committee member, may address the Town Meeting prior to any action on any article which has been sponsored by or directly affects his/her commission, board or committee, notwithstanding his/her domicile or citizenship.