For as long as anyone alive can remember, Milton's Board of Selectmen has allowed a free flow of ideas at its selectmen's meetings.
Now it appears a single selectman - Ryan Thibeault - has changed that in such a dubious way it would give any sane man or woman grave pause.
First, it was done in a non-videotaped meeting, which of course, is legal, according to the town's administrator.
Legal, yes. Transparent, no.
Second, the town administrator said on Thursday that this wasn't a policy, because there had been no vote, and you can't institute a policy without a vote. She said rather, it was an "organization" and that Mr. Thibeault had full authority, himself, to change the meeting format as he is the selectboard chair and has full purview over the meeting's structure.
Legal, yes. Heavy-handed, yes.
Third, Mr. Thibeault announced during the April 2 selectmen's meeting, and I quote (check the video at 19:04), "We also in the very near future are working on adopting some bylaws which will have all the details on how the meeting will be run. Once these bylaws will be determined and adopted they'll be readily available for everybody so everybody is on the same page and they understand how we're going to run the board of selectmen meeting going forward."
A quick aside: a bylaw is defined as, you guessed it, "a regulation made by a local authority, an ordinance."
So if it's going to be a bylaw, shouldn't it be discussed by selectmen and then voted on?
In this case, it's been enacted, with the bylaws to be adopted "in the very near future," in Mr. Thibeault's own words.
So it appears the mentality is "We changed the rules. Don't worry, we'll hammer out the particulars and vote on it later," the old "cart before the horse."
Legal, whatever! Totalitarian? You betchya!