May 27, 2020
Dear Town Meeting Member:
As I hope you know, the Select Board and I believe it is wisest to conduct this year’s Annual Town Meeting on June 15, 2020 as a Virtual Town Meeting (VTM) via the Zoom Webinar technology. Each of you have received via email and/or letter a brief introduction to our thoughts and a request to complete a survey describing your familiarity with participating in video conferences. If you have not yet completed the survey, I would ask that you do.
As of this writing, the State Senate and House have each passed different versions of a bill that enables Representative Town Meeting towns to conduct a VTM. A House and Senate committee must reconcile their versions and Governor Baker must sign the bill before we have the authorization to conduct a VTM. However, given time is short, I am proceeding as if the bill will pass. If it does not, then I will consult with the Select Board to conduct an in-person Town Meeting in a venue that permits us to follow social distancing principles.
The purpose of this letter is to launch the VTM process and there are a few actions I need each of you to take for you to be able to participate in Town Meeting.
Those actions are in order:
- Complete the Zoom registration
- Participate in VTM training
- Attend Town Meeting with the understanding that a VTM can only approximate our traditional experience.
Complete Zoom Registration
There are three steps:
- Each Town Meeting Member will need to create a Zoom account using as your user ID the email address you have on file with the Town Clerk.
- Download the Zoom application to the computer / device you will use for the VTM
- Register for the training and Town Meeting by clicking on this link:
Note: If you don’t have an email address, please contact Michael Lynch at [email protected] or by calling 617-898-4960 and he will assist you with the registration.
You will be able to attend the training and Town Meeting with full functionality on a smart phone, tablet, MAC or PC. If you have none of those, we have arranged access to computers at the Town Library the night of Town Meeting. If you have a device but a weak / poor internet connection, you can also attend Town Meeting by going to the Library.
If you need access to the Library, please contact Hilary Waite at [email protected] to reserve a spot.
If you believe you will be unable to operate the video conferencing system on a smart phone, tablet, MAC or PC, you may still attend the training and town meeting using a touch tone phone, however, some of your functionality will be limited. If you believe you need an accommodation due to a disability, please contact me at [email protected] so we can work on an accommodation.
We will conduct training by precinct according to the following schedule:
- Precinct 1: Monday June 1, 6 PM
- Precinct 2: Monday June 1, 8 PM
- Precinct 3: Tuesday June 2, 6 PM
- Precinct 4: Tuesday June 2, 8 PM
- Precinct 5: Wednesday June 3, 6 PM
- Precinct 6: Wednesday June 3, 8 PM
- Precinct 7: Thursday June 4, 6 PM
- Precinct 8: Thursday June 4, 8 PM
- Precinct 9: Monday June 8, 6 PM
- Precinct 10: Monday June 8, 8 PM
- Newly Elected TMM: Sunday June 14, 7 PM
You will receive an email from the Zoom Host prior to your training session that will contain a link to the training session. Please click on that link at the time of your Precinct training session and the Zoom Host will admit you to the training session.
I would like to emphasize the importance of registering in advance and attending the training. We have 288 voting members of Town Meeting. I will start the meeting on time at 7:30 PM on Monday June 15, 2020. To ensure that you can access the VTM on time, please complete the registration and training. We will have help desk personnel available the night of Town Meeting, but the meeting will start as soon as we have quorum. The help desk personnel will work to resolve any last-minute problems you have, but Town Meeting will go on.
Attend Town Meeting
Before Town Meeting, you will receive another email from the Zoom Host with a link inviting you to attend the VTM on June 15, 2020. When you click on that link, if you have registered in advance, you will be admitted to the meeting. If you have not registered in advance, our help desk will attempt to (but I cannot guarantee that we will be able) admit you.
Questions and Help
The VTM Advisory Committee has prepared training materials and a Frequently Asked Questions document to help you. We will have help desk staff available during the registration process, during the training and during Town Meeting to help you. As we approach Town Meeting, we will publish phone numbers you can call the night of Town Meeting to help you resolve problems.
Please email me at [email protected] with any other questions.
I would like to thank you in advance for your attention to these steps and your understanding of this new process. We will be only the second Town in the Commonwealth to conduct a VTM. I have consulted with other Town Moderators on their approach in order to incorporate best practices into Milton’s VTM. Our advisory committee, has been extremely helpful and I would like to publicly thank them including; Frank Schroth – Chair
Michael Lynch – Zoom Host
Hilary Waite - Zoom Co-Host
Rob Mallett – Zoom Co Host
Gayle Neville – Zoom Co Host
and Susan Galvin – Town Clerk.
They have each given generously of their time and worked many hours to design a VTM experience for each of you.
Robert G. Hiss
Frank Schroth, Virtual Town Meeting Advisory Committee Chair
Hilary Waite, Executive Secretary to the Select Board
Mike Lynch, Milton Cable Access
Susan Galvin – Town Clerk