I support Greg Christiana for town moderator because I believe that Greg will improve the functionality and fairness in each and all of the position’s roles. In my experience, there are four areas for which the town moderator holds sole or shared responsibility: running Town Meeting, appointing committee members, improving the Town Meeting process year to year, and engaging and communicating with the broader community. Through his work with the town, his energy and his character, Greg has shown me that he will increase efficiency, fairness and transparency in every aspect.
The most obvious of the town moderator’s roles is in the name: moderating town meeting. As anyone who has moderated a debate or forum knows, doing this well requires patience and organization. While Town Meeting’s very nature magnifies that requirement, I am confident that Greg will be able to manage debate smoothly and evenly.
Greg is already an expert discussion leader and committee organizer. I have seen Greg prioritize and successfully get group buy-in for ensuring that a variety of voices, reflecting both subject matter experts and diverse experiences and perspectives, are welcomed and empowered to speak. New-member empowerment, additional transparency and a more level approach to discussion management will improve both the quality and efficiency of Town Meeting. Electing Greg to Town Moderator will go a long way to actualizing these goals.
Compared to moderating Town Meeting, appointing committee members appears straightforward. However, reaching out to, connecting with, and vetting potential appointees in the timely manner necessary for smooth functioning is far from easy and requires a lot of legwork. Unfortunately, there is too often a significant lag between town moderator-appointed seats and seats appointed by other authorities, even to the same committee. Greg’s dedication to civic engagement gives us a great opportunity to improve both our range of represented skill sets and knowledge and the efficiency of the nomination process.
The actual functioning of Town Meeting during Covid has presented huge logistical challenges. But it has also brought to light many opportunities for improvement moving forward. Based on what I have observed over the last few years, I believe that Greg is the candidate with the best attitude and aptitude for actualizing these opportunities, especially in the realm of hybrid and more accessible meetings.
Finally, in terms of community engagement, the record speaks for itself: Greg is already a town leader in this area and has been a major driver behind efforts to expand community participation in Arlington government. Entrusting him with the role of town moderator will improve both the position’s transparency and efforts to enhance the general town populace’s ability to understand and positively interact with Town Meeting.
I am voting for Greg Christiana for Town Moderator on Saturday, April 2, and I hope that you will join me.