Resolution seeking review of the Town's practices regarding non-electronic communications

Petitioner: John Doggett, TMM13, Neil GordonTMM1, Dennis Doughty, TMM3

Annual Town Meeting, May 2018

Electronic communications including e-mail, instant messaging, the World Wide Web. Twitter, Skype, Facetime, Facebook etc. are in widespread, almost ubiquitous use by residents and the Town. These electronic services offer considerable potential for increased, more effective and timely communications, available to all, as well as decreasing costs for the Town over the uses of non-electronic communication, namely those of printing and mailing.

The Petitioners believe that it is time to do a comprehensive review of the Town's existing use of non-electronic communications with the goal of identifying potential cost savings by eliminating or reducing historical printing and mailing communications to take advantage of existing electronic capabilities and to recommend new electronic services that can reduce cost and/or enable efficient and timely communication with residents.

The creation of a timely and efficient electronic messaging system to communicate urgent and emergency situations locally or town-wide, such as a "shelter in place" advisory, missing child, property break-in, hit-and-run accident etc., would be of benefit to residents and the Town.

Official Town Meeting Vote Select Board Advisory Board

Favorable Action

Favorable Action

Favorable Action

Majority Vote



Final Result:

Favorable Action

Community Organization Recommendations
PAX Green Caucus

Favorable Action

Official Text of the Article

VOTED: That the Town adopt the following resolution:

Resolution urging a review of the Town's practices regarding non-electronic communications

WHEREAS, the capacity of Brookline residents to receive electronic communications has increased over time and is now widespread; and

WHEREAS, despite this capability, the Town continues to expend substantial sums on printing, postage and other costs relating to the dissemination of information in nonelectronic forms; and

WHEREAS, the annual budget of the Town of printing and mailing letters and materials for all departments is estimated to be more than $581,000; and

WHEREAS, substantial sums might be saved through a systematic reduction in nonelectronic communications not required by law; and

WHEREAS, on inquiry of the Town's staff, it is not clear which of the communications required by law must be sent by non-electronic means; and

WHEREAS the Town lacks a sufficient electronic system for efficient, timely and emergency communications, to the whole Town, or to precincts or to individual streets or to individual properties; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Town Meeting urges the Select Board to undertake a review of the Town's non-electronic communications to make:

1) recommendations as to savings through use of electronic communication systems; and

2) improvements for electronic communications with residents, particularly in emergency situations

by charging an existing committee or establishing a new committee, accordingly; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that such committee reports its findings in a timely manner such that, if appropriate, Warrant Articles might be submitted for consideration at a Special Town Meeting to be held in November, 2018.…