GROTON -- The Town Meeting Review Committee remained unable to agree on final questions slated for a residents' survey quizzing them on feelings about the Town Meeting process.

The committee has been wrestling with the survey for some time. Member Scott Harker has been advocating for as much detail as possible while others, including Chairman Robert Collins and Alison Eyedenberg, call for less emphasis on personal information.

"All we're trying to get is feedback," Collins said on March 27.

He was responding to Harker's argument for gathering information such as income, age and years of residency in town.

Harker argued that such information is needed to build a profile of the typical voter and where his or her decision to attend or not to attend Town Meeting came from.

In addition, Harker also insisted that it is important to know the number of registered voters in town to ensure statistical accuracy in the survey.

"This is taking a temperature of who the town is," Harker said of the need for the added information.

But other members were not convinced that was needed to validate the survey results.

The ultimate goal is to get input, Eyedenberg said.

"We're looking for information we can respond to not information for information's sake," she added.

Committee members had prepared a draft of the proposed survey at an earlier meeting and have been tinkering with it ever since. Once finalized, it will likely be sent to voters via bills sent out by the Groton Electric Light Department or with copies of the warrant for spring Town Meeting.


The heart of the survey is made up of questions that seek to find out how respondents feel about Town Meeting and what their rate of attendance is. Follow-up questions ask what keeps respondents from attending Town Meeting and what format changes would be likely to get them to attend more regularly.

Charged by the Board of Selectmen with reviewing the viability of Town Meeting, the Study Committee is expected to examine the institution's legal framework, cost to the taxpayer, the times meetings are held, and any other subject it deems proper, then to make recommendations for improvements, if needed, to the board.

Other members of the committee are Berta Erickson and Greg Fishbone.

Although not definitely nailed down, the drift of the group's meeting on March 27 seemed to weigh in against personal information questions, with Harker's desire to see a survey form mailed to every registered voter in town rather than simply to everyone getting an electric bill meeting somewhat less resistance.

Such a scenario, it was decided, would be much more costly, but Harker told fellow committee members that someone on the town's Finance Committee assured him that money is no object.

With others wondering just how much money the committee had to spend, members voted to authorize Collins to speak with Town Manager Mark Haddad to find out how much money would be available.

At the same time, Collins was also to find out if money was also available for advertising.

Members also approved sending a letter to selectmen apprising them of the committee's progress to date.

The committee is tentatively scheduled to meet again on April 16, when it hopes to have a new version of the survey ready for final approval.