Mashpee Selectmen Consider Outdoor Town Meeting

MASHPEE – Mashpee selectmen are looking at the possibility of moving upcoming elections and the Town Meeting.

Town Manager Rodney Collins said the town council has advised the board that they are not able to move the town election date, but they can move the Town Meeting, and the matter of where both will be held must be finalized.

“Essentially, what it’s come down to is if we have Town Meeting scheduled on its current date and we don’t reschedule it, it’s going to be for all practical purposes an evening Town Meeting outside if that’s what we continue to do,” said Collins.

Though the board previously voiced preference for outdoor meetings, Collins said that there are other options, including the local high school gym, cafeteria and auditorium, with a possible tent outside for overflow. 

Collins said that if the meeting is held outside, it would be easier to perform now that there was no need to handle a debt exclusion on the warrant. 

Selectmen said that previous Town Meeting held indoors was successful, but that the town should do whatever it can to make residents feel comfortable enough to participate as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“They don’t care what we thought was safe. They all made their own judgement about whether they were comfortable coming in. We can say it until you’re blue in the face. There are a certain number of people who will not come to an indoor setting, but who otherwise want to participate in town government,” said said Selectman Andrew Gottlieb.

“I think we did a really good job trying to do it in a way that was protective of people. And I think it was protective of people, I don’t know anybody who got sick after town meeting. Maybe there was somebody, but we didn’t have a big spread event. But a lot of people didn’t come.” 

Selectmen generally agreed that town meeting and town election will both be outdoors, and advance voting will also be available.

A proposal will be drafted for the next board of selectmen meeting for what the specific dates will be. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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