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May 6, 2013

Moderator seeks transparency at Town Meeting

NORTH ANDOVER — Moderator Mark DiSalvo will soon be presiding over his second annual Town Meeting, which will convene May 21 at 7 p.m. in the North Andover High School auditorium.

DiSalvo, who won a three-way contest for the job in last year’s town election, instituted a number of procedural changes, including a rule that any voter who speaks on a particular article must disclose whether he or she has a financial interest in that article.

That rule, which DiSalvo said is unique to North Andover, will remain in place at this year’s Town Meeting, he said.

“At last year’s Town Meeting we honored the past and continued the evolution of Town Meeting that can best represent and serve North Andover at the present time,” he said.

Last year DiSalvo introduced new procedures and rules that he said were designed to “make the meeting both more transparent and efficient.”

The Town Charter gives the moderator the unilateral power to establish rules of procedure for Town Meeting. At Town Meeting last year, the auditorium looked very different from past years, including the introduction of a large overhead screen that displayed warrant articles, motions and changes to articles and motions in real time.

DiSalvo also allowed more informal conversation among participants for the purpose of easing voters’ understanding of the issues to be decided.

“I am pleased to note that Town Meeting attendees were extremely cooperative and embraced these new rules and operational changes,” DiSalvo said. There have been no changes in rules from last year, he added.

DiSalvo also announced that he would continue the live broadcast and Internet streaming of the annual Town Meeting. There were significant improvements in broadcast quality and sound fidelity of the live broadcast of the meeting instituted for the benefit of those citizens who could not attend, he said.

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