Town Moderator Candidate Q & A

Town Moderator Candidates - Karlin and Garabedian

eHop posed the following questions to our Town Moderator Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton.  In addition we recommend voters watch the HCAM Contested Races Debate and the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, both of which are available on the HCAM YouTube Channel.

TOWN MODERATOR, For 3 years, Vote for 1 

Question 1: What do you think are the key characteristics of a good moderator? Give an example of a time you have demonstrated these characteristics.

Bruce G. Karlin: No response received by deadline.

Thomas J. Garabedian:  A good moderator must have a solid understanding of the articles and issues that will be before the town meeting, must be articulate, must have the ability to process information quickly, must be patient and yet know when to move the meeting along, and must have the ability to comprehend and reframe issues in a clear and understandable manner so that the town meeting participants can make informed decisions.
Through my career as a consulting actuary, I’ve had numerous opportunities with many clients to conduct large group meetings where I was responsible for the communication and explanation of complicated retirement benefit program changes. A typical session would start with an overview of the current program, a description of the plan changes, and a review of the impact of the changes on representative employees. After making the presentation, I would be responsible for answering employee questions. There were often very technical issues and employees were often concerned about their impact, and the challenge which I met was to convey that technical information clearly and in a way that was accessible to the every day employee.

Question 2: What do you think has been working well with our Town Meeting?

Bruce G. Karlin: No response received by deadline.

Thomas J. Garabedian: I think that most everything about Town Meeting works reasonably well. However, I think that there are several areas which could stand improvement. I’ve expressed that Town Meeting runs longer than it should and that serves to reduce the number of townspeople who participate. I’ve noticed that the important business of the first night of Town Meeting doesn’t begin until 7:30PM or about 30 minutes after the return of the warrant by the Town Clerk. I also think that the Consent Calendar (which is an attempt to group several “noncontroversial” articles together for quick passage) has not served Town Meeting well.
Meeting length is affected by the preparation of town employees, our volunteer boards, and our moderator. I believe that there are steps that can be taken by all involved that would enhance our awareness of issues, articles and motions well before Town Meeting begins. And that would help make Town Meeting even greater again!

Question 3: As we are reviewing our Town Charter, are there any changes or improvements would you like to see in the role of Town Moderator?

Bruce G. Karlin: No response received by deadline.

Thomas J. Garabedian: No, I believe that the current charter expresses an appropriate role for the Town Moderator.