The Town Moderator is the presiding officer of the Annual Town Meeting, Special Town Meetings and other meetings that he/she is requested to officiate to ensure that order is maintained. The moderator regulates the meeting proceedings, decides all questions of order, declares the outcome of all votes, and has other power and duties as provided for that office by Massachusetts General Laws (see below) and Town By-laws.
By Charter, the Moderator is responsible for appointing 15 members to the Finance Commission, 7 members to the Permanent Building Committee, and 5 members to the Personnel Board.
Chapter 39: Section 15. Moderators; Powers and Duties
Section 15. The moderator shall preside and regulate the proceedings, decide all questions of order, and make public declaration of all votes, and may administer in open meeting the oath of office to any town officer chosen thereat. If a vote so declared is immediately questioned by seven or more voters, he shall verify it by polling the voters or by dividing the meeting unless the town has by a previous order or by-law provided another method. If a two thirds, four fifths or nine tenths vote of a town meeting is required by statute, the count shall be taken, and the vote shall be recorded in the records by the clerk; provided, however, that a town may decide by by-law or vote not to take a count and record the vote if a two-thirds vote of a town meeting is required by statute; and provided, further, that if the vote is unanimous, a count need not be taken, and the clerk shall record the vote as unanimous.
A town may pass by-laws, subject to this section, for the regulation of the proceedings at town meetings. Such by-laws shall be approved and published in the manner prescribed by section thirty-two of chapter forty.
In any town having a representative town meeting form of government the town meeting members shall not use the secret ballot when voting in the exercise of the corporate powers of said town or on any motion unless two thirds of the town meeting members present and voting thereon vote that a secret ballot be used.