Marion to keep Town House closed, postpone decision on Town Meeting

Mar 24, 2020

MARION — The town will keep the Town House and other municipal facilities closed through April 7, the current date that the governor has set for his coronavirus stay-in-place order to end. The decision to delay Town Meeting or the Annual Town Election will come at a later date. 

That’s what Selectmen decided at a meeting on March 24, the day after the order was issued. However the board also reserved the right to change that date if the governor changes his mind. 

Most Marion employees are working remotely, but check emails and voicemails hourly. A lockbox on the Town House is also checked hourly. 

Selectmen decided to make a decision at their meeting on April 7 as to when Town Meeting will be held. Town Administrator Jay McGrail recommended pushing Town Meeting and the elections out 30 days if the closings persist. 

He is still working on a draft of the warrant. Select Board Chair Randy Parker asked how the town would run without a town meeting “Would we have a shortened Town Meeting?” he questioned. 

McGrail responded that the most critical articles are 2,3,4 which deal with the budget and two enterprise funds, and that Selectmen could have a Town Meeting with just those articles and delay all other matters, if necessary.  

Selectman John Waterman predicted that by early June the town may be able to  hold a town meeting, but might need to have a mechanism for older people to participate remotely, if they are still supposed to isolate. 

“It’s not going to be flipping a switch,” to return back to normal, one of the selectmen said.  

The board also considered, but did not decide on the idea of using Sippican School’s auditorium to be able to meet while social distancing, or breaking boards into smaller groups, which could be placed in different classrooms and return to the auditorium with comments.