Thursday, September 3, 2015

If All Depends On Your Definition of "ANY" and "OR".

There has been a lot of controversy over section  8.11 (the section dealing with “special town meetings”) in our town charter.  Great emphasis has been placed on the word  “all” in that section.   Some feel that School budget  appropriations shouldn’t be included because they are ultimately voted on by the people.  Others feel the one word should be taken literally and it should apply to any appropriation. At the very least this section should be clarified in the near future.

This section is not the only part of Section 8 that needs clarification. In sec. 8.46 it states  If a majority of the qualified voters voting on a budget article at a special Town meeting vote in its favor it shall be considered adopted, IF the total number of votes cast for OR against the budget article  is at least 250. 

If we are going to read section 8.11 literally then we should interpret section 8.46 literally also

   This affirmative majority vote is only valid --IF--  the total number of votes cast for OR against the measure is 250. This very clearly states you need 250 in the affirmative to pass an appropriation. This section doesn't say the sum of yes and no votes must total 250 it says the carrying vote must be 250 votes. The word OR in the sentence means OR not AND.

 I think we should use common sense and not apply sec 8.11 to School Budget Appropriations. I also think that in sec. 8.46 the Charter framers probably meant to say "AND" instead of "OR". 

When we get stuck on one word definitions we can change the whole meaning of the Charter. 

Joe Hill

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