Duxbury: Town Meeting rejects appointed clerk proposal

Duxbury Town Meeting was slower than usual, running all day Saturday, primarily caused by objections to the inclusion of procedures other towns have used for years. Specifically, the chairman of the finance committee read every line of the proposed budget. Voters with a question about or objection to a line called out “hold.” At the end of the budget, the moderator returned to each of the items held for discussion. The procedure is new to Duxbury and some Meeting participants objected to the process.

Town Meeting opened by honoring Town Clerk Nancy Oates who will retire after the town election at the end of the month, one year into her tenth three-term. Selectmen had proposed the Town Manager should appoint the next clerk. State Representative Josh Cutler, a nursery school student of Mrs. Oates before her days as Town Clerk, read a proclamation of the state legislature recognizing her 31 years of service.

Duxbury town manager Rene Reed urged voters to make the Town Clerk part of the hired management team. Oates, whose daughter is among the candidates to replace her, argued for the tradition of an elected town clerk. Town Meeting voted to “indefinitely postpone” the article, effectively killing the proposal.

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About Charles Mathewson

Charles Mathewson worked in print journalism for more than two decades as a reporter and editor, and has won several regional and national awards. He resides in Plymouth where he writes fiction and paints, when not producing award-winning news as a reporter for WATD.