Abington: $40 million budget approved; lack of quorum ends town meeting early

With state aid numbers unknown at the first session of town meeting April 2nd, Abington voters were asked to come back to town meeting floor Monday night to vote on the ‘money articles’. But the fiscal 2013 budget presented didn’t reflect the School Committee’s full request, coming up $130,000 short.

Abington resident Paul Mollica proposed to move $80,000 from the Selectmen’s Department to the School Department, essentially cancelling the position of a town employee, “I think the Town of Abington is not big enough to have a Town Manager and an Assistant Town Manager, that the Town Manager should be able to do the job.”

But Town Manager John D’Agostino argued that Abington is a large community that needs a full staff, “So the question for me becomes one in which, why is this an issue? I can’t answer that, I can tell you if I don’t have necessary support in my department then we’re going to set the Town Manager’s office up for failure.”

Mollica’s proposal to transfer money to the School Department failed.

But the Finance Committee explained the suggested $40 million total budget for Abington, which was approved, does not cut staff or services for any town department and does not require an override.

However, the night started off 15 minutes late in order to meet their quorum of 150 voters and ended early because of the same problem.

The last article discussed in the Special warrant was to adopt a new ethical standards bylaw for elected and appointed officials and Moderator Shawn Reilly stepped down from his post to speak as an opposed resident.

“It’s not about ethics. We firmly believe this has become a weapon to be used to humiliate and embarrass volunteers and in some cases even invade the privacy of Abington residents,” stated Reilly

Abington’s Finance Committee recommended passing over the article and Selectmen asked the request be moved to a future meeting. However, Jean Kelly from the By-Law Review Committee stopped discussion by questioning the quorum, proving the meeting was 25 people short.

The four articles remaining, including the ethics article, will be voted on at Abington’s Fall Special Town Meeting.

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About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.