Tuesday, February 25, 2020

FM #210 - Civil Discourse Pledge Discussion (audio)

This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 210 in the series. We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm).

At the Franklin (MA) Town Council meeting held on Feb 12, 2020 the discussion started on a proposal to pledge to conduct a civil discourse. Some of the Councilors objected to this “aspirational” proposal and the measure was ultimately tabled to the March 4 meeting to allow Councilor Hamblen to participate. Councilor Melanie Hamblen had been the one initiating this and she was not participating in this meeting due to her mother’s passing.

From my notes reported live during the meeting:
Resolution 20-14: The Town of Franklin Civil Discourse Pledge (Motion to approve Resolution 20-14 - Majority Vote)

motion to table to March 4, seconded, passed 8-0

Yes, my notes are sparse as I was on the edge of my seat, following the conversation, ready to jump in. It didn’t get opened to the public. It was tabled for next session.

I have a unique position in that I have been participating regularly for the past 14 years in many meetings each year. I get to watch and observe the behavior and conduct of many of our Town appointed officials (and by that I mean all the board and committee person volunteers) as well as the municipal employees. As a general rule, the behavior is above board, as it should be. Unfortunately, there have been times when I squirmed in my seat due to what was happening. For those times, this measure could help to guide and prevent further occurrences.

A couple of Councilors questioned whether what they have already sworn to or agreed to is changed by this. As Attorney Mark Cerel answered “This is aspirational”. For the few squirmy occasions that come to mind, the referenced oaths and guidelines were not adhered to. Maybe this aspirational item will. While admittedly, this measure has no ‘teeth’ to it, it may not. One can hold out hope that it does!

For reference, I have included links in the show notes for:

The link to the proposal text and associated supporting material that Town Administrator Jamie Hellen mentions is also provided.

I would encourage you to review and prepare for the continued conversation March 4. If you can’t be in attendance, please reach out to one or more of the Councilors to let them know where you stand on this matter.

The recording runs approx. 22 minutes (which included the full reading of the proposal text).

Audio link -> https://www.hipcast.com/podcast/Hy6gCj6X


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The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


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one of the many "Hearts of Kindness" hung around the Town Common by school kids for Valentine's Day
one of the many "Hearts of Kindness" hung around the Town Common by school kids for Valentine's Day

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