eHop contacted the Town Clerk who told us that caucuses in our area date back to the 1700’s. She also told us that most towns in Massachusetts have non-partisan local elections and that there are less than 20 localities who continue to have Caucus Nominees. A Special Act of the Legislature is required to discontinue the practice, as well as a vote at a local Town Meeting. The town of Sturbridge did this recently in 2012. eHop also contacted the Secretary of State’s office who told us that according to the 2014 “Election Statistical Book” there are only 16 towns where the local election is preceded by partisan caucuses. Massachusetts has a total of 351 cities and towns. So less than 5% of municipalities have caucus nominees. Read more Massachusetts election stats…
As a side note, the federal Hatch Act applies to state and local employees who are principally employed in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or a federal agency. In some instances, the Hatch Act may prohibit such employees from becoming candidates for public office in a partisan election. This has occasionally prevented Hopkinton residents who are employed by the federal or state government from running for local office in Hopkinton. Read more about the Hatch Act…
The Town Moderator is the presiding officer of the Town Meeting, regulates its proceedings and performs such other duties as may be provided by general law, by Charter, by bylaw or by other Town Meeting vote. The Town Moderator is elected for a term of three (3) years.
The Town Moderator shall, as part of an appointing committee composed of the Moderator, Board of Selectmen and Town Clerk, appoint members of the Appropriations Committee, and shall make any other appointments provided for by this Charter, by bylaw or by general laws.
The current Town Moderator is Dr Bruce Karlin who has held the position since 1995.
To run for Town Moderator a person must be a registered voter in Hopkinton and either obtain and submit nomination papers by securing the signatures of 50 Hopkinton registered voters; or a person may qualify by being the top vote getter in one of the town political party caucuses; or a combination of both. Town Moderator is currently an unpaid volunteer position, but compensation for any elected official could be voted on at any future town meeting.
For Further Reading:
At the March 1 Board of Selectmen Meeting the Town Manager presented FY17 Town Budget Comprehensive Budget and Financing Plan, after feedback from the Selectmen it has been revised for the next Selectmen’s meeting. Per the Town Charter the Board of Selectmen must either adopt or amend Town Manager’s budget, and submit to the Appropriation Committee by March 15. There have been some news articles about the budget discussions at the 3/1 and 3/8 Selectmen’s meetings.
Board of Selectmen Meeting
Tuesday, March 15 at 6:45pm, Town Hall Room 215
Televised Live on HCAM-TV (Comcast 8 / Verizon 30 / Streaming at hcam.tv)
Public comment period at 6:45pm at the beginning of the meeting.