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Poll Voters Say Scrap Town Meeting

60 percent of Patch poll voters favor doing away with the Barrington Financial Town Meeting. Do you have suggestions to take its place?

Six out of 10 Patch readers who voted in a poll on the annual Financial Town Meeting in Barrington think it is outdated and should be scrapped.

The Patch poll ran for 7 days from May 30 to June 6. It asked: Do you favor continuing the annual Financial Town Meeting?

There were only two responses to pick from:

  • Yes, it continues to be democracy at its best. It got about 40 percent of the votes.
  • No, it's an outdated relic of another time period. It got 60 percent of the votes.

Do you have any ideas for replacing the Financial Town Meeting with something else? Use the comment box below.

Patch readers also left a number of comments. Read a few of them here.

John Harker

Our good town will benefit from an earnest review of FTM decision-making options. On this, we will have to lean on our elected representatives to engender this discussion, at least to start. It is a worthy discussion; @ $60 million/year, we will benefit from a reflection on best practices.

Pam

I believe that voting is a private matter. How I vote on any issue, large or small, is no one else's business. "Stand up and be counted" voting is, in my opinion, is the biggest problem with the FTM.

PJM

I have lived in Barrington for 46 years. I always enjoy the FTM. But every year I watch the people who support the school, stack the meeting to put the money back into the budget whenever it is cut. Then when the school budget is passed they leave. I do support the schools. But I do not believe that throwing money at the school budget makes for a better education. It is time to do away with the FTM.

Scott Clark

In the absence of a concerted effort to force change, the Town is going to continue doing business the way it always has. I appreciate the poll and the ongoing sentiment. But unless someone is going to publicly lead the charge to force this change, it's going to remain this way.

Private voting is extremely important to ensure voting is not peer-pressured. In general, voting already is, with all the constant opinion polling ending up driving public sentiment rather than objectively reporting on it, all the marketing campaigns driven by everything from flyers to TV commercials, to day-of ground games. With all that pressure, private voting STILL has the opportunity to draw out true sentiment of the voter, undermining all the concerted marketing efforts and political agendas.

Which is why many organizations don't like it :)

Having said that, we moved to Barrington specifically *for* the schools, I wholeheartedly supported the drive to retain the Wood Shop, and I support the issue with playing fields and the review of chemicals used to maintain them. So private voting or not, I would have cast my vote the same way :)

Manifold Witness

The first 273.94 “yes” votes don’t count.

Barrington could save a lot of money if they lay off a bunch of teachers –
we have too many.

But don’t worry about them.

The laid off teachers are really, really smart people and they could form a consulting company.

And get out there in the real world and show all the other democracies – large & small –

how to institute Town Meetings.

Instead of private voting processes.

And then all the world will have the best form of democracy just like we have right here in Barrington.

But first the voting process has to change so that a budget to lay off even one teacher can get approved in the first place.

It gets really complicated when you have the best democracy in the world.

Hey… how do the unions conduct their votes? Secret ballot?

P. Dulchinos June 08, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Other municipalities use elected town meeting representatives. This may be the way to go.

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