Wayland Select Board Votes to Oppose Special Town Meeting Article

Wayland, MA – At their meeting on Monday, November 20, 2023, the Wayland Select Board reaffirmed an earlier vote to oppose a special town meeting warrant Article scheduled for December 6, 2023, at 6:45 pm.  The warrant article in question was filed by citizens’ petition, which was submitted to the Town Clerk’s office.  When considering whether to support the aforementioned article, the vote quantum was 0-5-0.  This number represents zero members in favor, five members against, and zero members abstaining.  During numerous discussions related to the article, the Select Board collectively agreed that a press release to further explain its rationale for opposing this this Article would be helpful to residents.

In addition to the vote itself, a number of lengthy discussions transpired in which the Select Board debated the merits of the warrant article. In the end, the Board members agreed that they would oppose this warrant article for a number of specific reasons.  The most significant reason involved clear language within the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Wayland Teachers Association and the Wayland School Committee.  In the MOU, there is language that seeks to spell out the process by which the contract is funded, and it reads as follows: 

“The salary increases set forth above for Fiscal Year 2024 will not be implemented until after Wayland Town Meeting approves a transfer of funds from Salary Reserve Account to the School Department budget to cover the cost of increases.  The Wayland School Committee agrees to request such approval by Wayland Town Meeting, at the earliest time Wayland Town Meeting convenes during Fiscal Year 2024.”

Tom Fay stated, “My interpretation of the MOU language is that both sides came to an agreement, a meeting of the minds, that once a town meeting is scheduled, whether it be a fall town meeting or Annual town meeting, that would be the time at which a contract funding article would be proposed.  To diverge from that timeline is problematic. Union contracts are often negotiated during all twelve months of the year. It would be far too expensive for the Town, in terms of staff time, and town meeting costs, to hold a special town meeting after each union contract is agreed upon. So much of what we do is based on process and, in this case, I feel that process has been compromised.”

Annual town meetings normally cost between $40K - $45K. Special town meetings are somewhat less expensive.  Nonetheless, Board members collectively agreed that between the costs of conducting town meeting and the need to adhere to process & procedures, this was a warrant article they simply could not support.

For more information, please contact Assistant Town Manager John Bugbee at 508.358.6821.