Article 31 (Committee charge)

The Communications Study Committee was created at the 2021 Fall Annual Town Meeting.  

Committee Charge:

That a Communications Study Committee (CSC) be authorized to meet regularly, and as required until the conclusion of Fall Town Meeting of 2022, to advise and report to Town Meeting regarding opportunities to “establish robust and effective communication between residents and town government -- and within town government -- to increase community participation in town decisions with elevated awareness of town issues and initiatives.”1 The CSC shall provide an interim verbal and/or written report in the spring 2022 Town Meeting and a final written and verbal report in fall 2022 Town Meeting, regarding findings and recommendations for communications policies and practices, including but not limited to, in particular: 

  • Review current bylaws regarding internal and external communication related to Town Meeting as well as current tools in use, like the town website. Identify gaps or opportunities regarding current practices.
  • Identify best practices/policies by other Massachusetts towns or elsewhere, including the staffing or volunteer requirements associated with each.
  • Review communications recommendations made in previous Town studies deemed relevant by the CSC, including but not limited to: ○ The Winchester 2030 Master Plan Action Plan section D1. “Robust Communication” (See strategies D1.1 and D1.2).
    •  The Winchester Housing Production Plan (Oct 9, 2018), pp 81-84 “Community Engagement Strategies”
  • Solicit input from elected and appointed boards, residents, town staff and WinCam as the committee determines is appropriate. Hold one or more public hearing(s), and encourage other input through written submission, survey(s) or interviews as the committee deems appropriate.
  • Review the roles and responsibilities of precinct members and precinct chairs regarding communication between Town Meeting members and to and from the residents we represent.
  • Consider how Town Meeting Members and residents are made aware of public hearings and other town government meetings and proceedings.
  • Recommendations may include draft language for proposed articles or motions to be placed before Town Meeting or other Town Boards. ○ Review any proposed changes to policy or procedures with the Rules Committee, Government Regulations Committee, and Town Counsel. Include estimated staffing or budgetary impacts of any recommendations.

And further that the Town Moderator be authorized to form such a committee consisting of eleven (11) voting members and three ex officio members:

  • Eight members selected by TMM precincts: one Town Meeting member or precinct resident elected by each precinct by a vote of the Town Meeting members in each precinct.
  • Three residents-at-large to be appointed by the Town Moderator.
  • The Town Clerk, the Town Manager, and the School Superintendent shall each serve or appoint someone from their staff to serve on their behalf in an ex officio advisory role on this committee.