Winchester Launches Town Meeting Members Association
New group aims to facilitate Town Meeting communications
By Jack LeMenager
On September 27th, a nine-member inaugural board of directors launched an independent Winchester Town Meeting Members Association (TMMA) by approving its bylaws and officially launching its pilot website (https://winchestertmma.org).
The TMMA’s Chair, Lance Grenzeback, announced the official launch, saying the stated goals of the TMMA are to “support communication and facilitate the timely flow of information to Town Meeting members to support well-informed debate and decision-making, and to broaden public awareness of the Winchester Town Meeting and its role in town governance.”
The impetus for the local TMMA was a recommendation by the Winchester Town Meeting Communications Study Committee (CSC), formed by the Town Meeting in 2022 to assess ways to improve town government communication. The 13-member CSC made two key recommendations: that the town create a communications plan, and that Town Meeting form an independent Town Meeting Members Association to facilitate communications among Town Meeting members.
In describing how the Winchester TMMA would work, Grenzeback said, “All duly elected Town Meeting members will be members of the TMMA, though their participation is optional.” He explained that the TMMA is “a non-governmental, non-partisan association set up to support Town Meeting members by providing an individual TMMA email address for each TM member so members no longer need to use their personal email address; maintaining a membership directory so that members can readily email members in their precinct; and providing a monitored discussion board to which members can post questions, information and statements about upcoming town meeting articles and issues.”
The TMMA discussion board will be visible to the public but only TMMA members will be able to post and comment. The group also envisions holding informal information sessions for TMMA members and the public on matters that may come before Town Meeting.
Town Meeting member Michael Creane volunteered to join the TMMA’s board as its Events Manager, agreeing that its mission addressed a vital need. He said, “When I joined Town Meeting, I didn’t know who any of my fellow Town Meeting members were or how it worked. It seemed as though town government should be much more accessible.”
Grenzeback chaired the Communications Study Committee, which was vice chaired by Town Meeting Member Carol Savage. Grenzeback and Savage, along with fellow CSC and Town Meeting member Shukong Ou, spearheaded the formation of the TMMA, conducting multiple meetings and focus group discussions with Town Meeting members and other stakeholders over the past year to refine the organizational structure and website. Bruce Hickey, a Town Meeting member and partner with the law firm of Dechert, LLP, provided pro-bono guidance in drafting and reviewing the TMMA bylaws.
Grenzeback anticipates that the TMMA model will be refined through its first few years of operation, and “welcomes feedback from Town Meeting members and the community.”
Inaugural members of the TMMA board of directors are:
Chair – Lance Grenzeback
Vice Chair – Carol Savage
Treasurer – Doug Marmon
Recording Secretary – Susan Carney
Communications Manager – Jack LeMenager
Discussion Board Moderator – Bill Band
Events Planner – Michael Creane
Web Manager – Shukong Ou
Membership Manager – Jian Liu
The TMMA also authorized the formation of Advisory Committee. The initial members include Kathleen M. Bodie, Stephen Engel, Amy Poftak, and Brian Rowan.
The Winchester Town Meeting Members Association (TMMA) is an independent, impartial association formed to support well-informed debate and decisions during Winchester Town Meetings. The TMMA is governed by an executive board elected annually. Its members are all duly elected or appointed and currently serving Winchester Town Meeting members in good standing, except for those who have opted out. Website: https://winchestertmma.org
Jack LeMenager is a Precinct Town Meeting Member.
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