Home CATNews Updates The Online Transparency of Westford's Town Committees

The Online Transparency of Westford’s Town Committees

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The 2015 Annual Town Meeting has a petitioned warrant article asking for more transparency in local government. It’s likely to be dismissed, but WestfordCAT News is taking a look at what town committees meet the bar set by this petition if it did become a reality.

Per discussions on the petition, we looked at five criteria required by the petition as they appear right now on the town website, westfordma.gov

#1. – Does the committee have e-notifications as of March 27, 2015 (available at westfordma.gov/subscriber)

#2.  – Does the committee have a dedicated page on the town website as of March 27, 2015?

#3. – Are past agendas available online in the Document Management System portion of the website as of March 27, 2015?

#4. – Are minutes of past meetings available online in the Document Management System as of March 27, 2015?

#5. – Are other documents related to the committees available in the document management system as of March 27, 2015?

We classified committees with five or fewer past agendas, sets of minutes or miscellaneous documents as a “limited yes” and noted committees that submit entire meeting packets in a separate portion of the DMS.

The list we looked at comes from the current set of town committees on the town website, and does not include other former committees not on that list.

The list also includes some town positions that are not actually “committees”, but we included them on the list as “other.”

In our overall tally, anything that was not a “no” or was not applicable was counted as a yes. We did not count the non-committees in the tally.

Total

1 2 3 4 5
No 47 17 38 19 20
Yes 9 38 17 35 35

 

Elected Committees

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Board of Selectmen Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (packets)
Board of Health Yes – Multiple Notifications** External Link(westfordlibrary.org) Yes (limited) Yes Yes (packets)
Housing Authority No Yes No Yes (limited) Yes (limited)
J.V. Fletcher Library Trustees Technically* Yes No Yes Yes
Planning Board Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
School Committee Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (packets)

* – There is a notification for general library items, but not specifically the Trustees

** – The Board of Health has notifications for just the board as well as other Board related subjects.

Selectmen Appointed Committees

1 2 3 4 5
Affordable Housing Committee No Yes No Yes Yes
Affordable Housing Trust Committee No Yes Yes (limited) Yes Yes
Agricultural Commission Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Arts and Technology Scholarship Committee No Yes No No No
Bylaw Review Committee No Yes (Second Level) Yes (limited) Yes No
Communications Advisory Committee No Yes No Yes Yes (limited)
Community Preservation Committee No Yes Yes (limited) Yes Yes
Conservation Commission Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cultural Council No Yes No Yes (limited) Yes (limited)
Economic Development Committee No Yes Yes (limited) Yes Yes
Energy Committee No Yes No Yes No
Historical Commission No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pedestrian Safety Committee No Yes No Yes Yes
Permanent Town Building Committee No Yes No Yes Yes
Personnel Advisory Committee No Yes No No No
Public Works Initiative Committee No Yes No No Yes (limited)
Registrars of Voters No No No Yes Yes (limited)
Tax Possession Sale Committee Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Town Center Parking and Traffic Study Committee No No N/A N/A N/A
Zoning Board of Appeals No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Selectmen Polices and Procedures Subcommittee No No No No No

Appointed by Planning Board or Moderator

1 2 3 4 5
Master Plan Implementation Committee No Yes (Second Level) No Yes (limited) Yes (limited)
Finance Committee No Yes Yes Yes Yes (packets)

Appointed by Town Manager

1 2 3 4 5
12 North Main Street Task Force Yes Yes No Yes Yes (limited)
Board of Assessors No Yes No Yes Yes
Board of Cemetary Commissioners No Yes No No Yes (limited)
Board of Water Commissioners No Yes Yes (limited) Yes Yes
Capital Planning Committee No Yes No Yes Yes (limited)
Council on Aging No Yes Yes (limited) Yes Yes
Roudenbush Designer Selection Committee No No No No No
Emergency Management Committee No No No No No
Parkerville Schoolhouse Committee No Yes No Yes Yes (limited)
Parks and Recreation Commission No Yes No Yes Yes
Records and Archives Committee No Yes No Yes No
Recycling Commission No Yes No Yes Yes (limited)
Town Forest Committee No No No No No
Tax Relief for the Elderly and Disabled (T.R.E.A.D) Committee No No No No No

Discontinued/Completed/Empty

1 2 3 4 5
Drew Gardens Task Force No No No No No
Hunting Policy Committee No Yes Yes (limited) Yes Yes
Regional Recreational Trail Committee No No No No No
Senior Citizen Tax Relief Committee No No No No No
Stepinski Land Acquisition Negotiating Committee No No No Yes No
Policies and Procedural Manual Subcommittee No No No No No
Town Farm Property Task Force No No No No No
Land Use Priorities Committee No No No No No

Other

1 2 3 4 5
Constable No No N/A N/A N/A
Election Officers No No N/A N/A N/A
Fence Viewers No No N/A N/A N/A
Town Moderator No Yes N/A N/A Yes (limited)
Veterans Agent No Yes, in Town Departments N/A N/A N/A

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