Andover’s Annual Town Meeting begins on May 1 and will continue on subsequent nights until all 41 articles on the 2023 warrant have been addressed. Andover News will publish explainers on key articles between now and the end of April, and publish a Town Meeting Cheat Sheet during the last week of April for those who plan to attend. Additional Town Meeting resources and information are at the bottom of this article.
Articles in this series will be free for non-subscribers to read.
Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan hasn’t signaled he has plans to move out of Andover any time soon, but if Annual Town Meeting passes article 37 next month and the state legislature signs off on the charter change, he’d have the option to pull up stakes.
Andover has required its town manager to live in town since it adopted its charter in the 1950s. The proposal to end the requirement came out of the Town Governance Study Committee’s recommendations for changes in how the Andover operates. Before the select board voted to endorse lifting the requirement in January, a consultant told the board towns were increasingly doing away with such requirements.
At the select board’s first reading of the proposal on Jan. 9, Bernie Lynch, who was previously town manager in Chelmsford and city manager in Lowell, said residency requirements were adopted because towns wanted their manager nearby if something happened in town, along with an “argument someone coming from outside would not have full appreciation of the values of the community.”
Lynch said those concerns are no longer as important as a town’s need to select town managers from a wider pool of candidates.
“It’s not as prevalent as it was,” Lynch said. “When Andover adopted its charter back in the 1950s, there were just not many manager positions in the Commonwealth.”
Not all town officials are on board with the change. Moderator Sheila Doherty, who served on the town governance study committee, said she was the sole dissenting vote when the committee voted to recommend lifting the residency requirement. She said she believes it’s reasonable to expect the manager to have “skin in the game.”
Town Meeting Resources
Previous articles in this series:
- Article 4: Fiscal 2024 Budget
- Articles 13 and 14: Electronic Voting
- Articles 25 and 26: Ledge Road Landfill
- Article 27: Funding an Active Transportation Plan with Uber/Lyft surcharges
- Article 41: Zoning Recodification
Useful Websites and documents:
- Annual Town Meeting info on Town of Andover Website
- 2023 Annual Town Meeting Warrant
- Information on Andover Moderator Sheila M. Doherty
- Town Meeting FAQs