As someone who has served on Town Meeting for the past six years, I enthusiastically support Greg Christiana for town moderator. John Leone deserves credit for navigating the unpredictable and challenging context of the pandemic over the past two years and for his long-term public service in this important role.
However, Arlington needs a moderator who will ensure that Town Meeting is run and that appointments are made in a transparent and inclusive manner. I am confident that Greg Christiana, who has worked to get more residents involved in local government through his own civic leadership, will champion the principles of transparency and inclusion as town moderator.
Last year, I noted several vacancies on the five-member Town Meeting Procedures Committee and emailed the moderator to learn more about the process for filling them. It took multiple emails over several months before I received a response from the moderator, who explained that when a vacancy on the committee needed to be filled, he would reach out to Town Meeting members to “gauge interest” and then “based upon the experience of the Town Meeting members who respond,” he would make appointments. The quoted phrases are from moderator Leone’s email response to me.
The process seemed clear to me. What has not been so clear is how and why a fairly recent appointment to the committee was made without said outreach to Town Meeting membership. Currently composed of four men (and one vacant seat), the Town Meeting Procedures Committee does not seem to reflect the diversity of perspective, experience and background of Town Meeting members. While I may have missed an email about this, I don’t believe that I did.
This appointment process indicates to me how critical it is to elect a town moderator who is committed to emphasizing transparency and inclusion in decision-making processes when determining appointments and leading Town Meeting. I encourage residents to support Greg Christiana in this Saturday’s town election.
Thank you for considering Greg Christiana for Town Moderator and for voting in Saturday’s local election.