An article in the 3/4/2010 Wayland Town Crier by the lead petitioner outlines an issue that will be discussed and voted on at the upcoming Annual Town Meeting. The petitioner (hmmm, if I included his/her name, would the DF remove it if requested?) is asking the town to replace the current TM structure with a bifurcated "deliberate at TM, vote at the polls" approach.

The intent of the article appears to be to make voting more practical. One attribute of the proposed measure is that there would be no provision for making amendments to articles. Unfortunately, fixing this flaw is not as simple as letting the Session 1 deliberation serve as a forum for making amendments such that the final article could be posted to the Town's web site prior to the Session 2 vote at the polls, as all of the problems of participation and voting that the article seeks to improve come back into play.

In my opinion, the inability to amend is a serious deficiency, one that significantly undermines the role that Wayland residents play as legislators and not 'just' voters. Article amendments allow the proposer to make corrections uncovered between the time that the Warrant was printed and Town Meeting. They also allow residents to alter (within limits) the nature of the article.

I'd be interested to know how places using the 'Massachusetts Ballot' deal with issues such as a budget that doesn't pass or reconsideration.