By Meredith McCulloch
At their meeting on August 28 the Charter Review Committee voted to recommend that future Finance Committee members be appointed by the Moderator. This is a common practice in other Massachusetts towns.
Currently, the Bedford Finance Committee is appointed by a committee of three, consisting of the chair of the Selectmen, the chair of the Finance Committee and the Moderator. This method was established when the Charter was first adopted in1974. The Selectmen and the Moderator are elected offices, whereas the Finance Committee members are appointed. The decision must be unanimous, effectively giving any member a veto of an appointment.
Finance Committee members are appointed in various ways, according to “Citizen’s Guide to Town Meetings,” found on the Secretary of State website, [https://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cistwn/twnidx.htm] : Depending on a town’s by-laws, members of the finance committee are appointed by the selectmen or moderator, or elected by voters or the Town Meeting. One reason cited for the Moderator making the appointment is that the Moderator is in charge of town meetings and the chief duty of the Finance Committee is to present the budget with its recommendations to Town Meeting.
The Charter Review Committee will meet again on September 11 and plans to present their recommendations to the Selectmen on September 22. If approved, the changes will be on the warrant for Special Town Meeting on Thursday, November 6, and, if approved then, they will appear on the ballot at the Town Election in March.