This morning, “06880” posted “RTM 101: What It Is, And Does.” Commenters quickly weighed in, offering their views of our town’s non-partisan legislative body.
Representative Town Meeting moderator Jeff Wieser responds:
Thanks to Nancy Kail for outlining the responsibilities of the RTM.
As the moderator, I have remained moderate when it comes to the opinions expressed over the past few months, and following her post. But I get angry when the RTM as a body is attacked, and this comment is well past due.
A small number of Westport residents has very publicly maligned the 82.8 % of the entire RTM body who did not agree with their opinion regarding petitions.
The RTM listened to over 5 hours of debate in committee and RTM meetings on the subject of public access to our monthly meetings.
We listened to supporting legal input from our town attorney (who in more than 20 years has served 2 Republican and 2 Democratic administrations in Westport, and is a former RTM deputy moderator) and our assistant town attorney (who has served the municipal legal needs of Westport for 6 years, and is a former RTM moderator).
And we listened to the petitioners.
With all that input, 29 of the 35 RTM members present agreed that our role is to act on matters that have been assigned to us under the Town Charter. Ironically, it was a petition by electors that led to the very discussion and decision that this group is criticizing.
20 electors certainly still have the ability to petition the RTM for matters on which the RTM is empowered to act. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible.
I am very proud of all the actions of the volunteer, non-partisan RTM. I hope that the vitriol applied to this group of 36 well-meaning, non-partisan legislators is recognized as exactly that: vitriol by a small vocal group of people angry that 82.8% of intelligent, responsible legislators — willing to look at all legal sides of an issue — disagreed with them.
Please vote tomorrow and know that all current RTM members, and all those willing to volunteer to serve, deserve your close attention.