2023 Survey: Town Moderator

The Moderator is a critical but often overlooked position in the function of Belmont’s government. In fact, there is no concise description on the Town’s website of what the Moderator does. But, suffice it to say, it’s a lot. In addition to presiding over the annual Town Meeting, the Moderator plays a critical role in setting the agenda for Town Meeting – working with the Town’s various committees and professional staff, residents and Town counsel to set the warrant (or list of items to be considered and voted on).

In Belmont, the Moderator also has substantial appointment powers. S/he appoints all members of the Warrant Committee – the Town’s main financial oversight committee – as well as three members of the seven person Capital Budget Committee, a majority of the Bylaw Review Committee and members of the Permanent Building Advisory Committee. The Moderator is also tasked with appointing members to special purpose committees, such as the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee.

One year position (vote for one)

Only one candidate appears on the ballot for this position: our longtime Moderator, Mike Widmer. You can read his response to the survey below.

Michael Widmer (candidate for re-election)

NameMichael Widmer
I’m a candidate for:Town Moderator
I am running as a:Candidate for re-election
Volunteer & community activities? (optional)Host of volunteer activities when our three children were going through the Belmont public schools.
Warrant Committee member, 1993 – 2008, 3 years as chair.
Candidate’s StatementSeveral TMMs have asked about holding hybrid Town Meetings and I intend to explore the possibility, though current state law does not allow for such meetings. Given the unusually large size of Belmont’s Town Meeting, the logistics and quality of a 350-person hybrid meeting pose a major challenge. Nevertheless, our recent virtual experience has underscored the importance of ensuring equal access. In the meantime, we will hold in-person meetings this spring.
AccomplishmentsAs a team, we have successfully conducted more than 20 virtual Town Meeting sessions over the past three years. I do extensive planning so Town Meetings are informative and carried out fairly, respectfully and professionally. I work closely with all sponsors of citizens’ petitions to ensure that their issues get a fair hearing by Town Meeting.