There was a positive side to covering last night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting last night — because it was a special meeting, called to close out the warrant and vote on non-union raises, among other matters — there was no television coverage. This is not to say I don’t approve of televised meetings — I’m all for them — but there’s definitely a different dynamic when the cameras are off.
Really. The selectmen can get seriously goofy.
It does make me wonder how often town officials censor themselves — or, for that matter, talk at length — just because the cameras happen to be on them. Do televised meetings make someone develop a certain persona? Is it only a matter of time before we end up with a “shock” candidate who just wants a platform to do his schtick? (I’m thinking, again, of Marlborough, where a guy with a cable wrestling show, “The Skunk,” ran for mayor. I can’t quite see that happening in Grafton, but weirder things have happened.) Do people not run because they don’t want every conversational tic or nose scratch televised?
I can tell you one thing — I doodled quite a bit less than I normally do in a meeting.
Also, fall Town Meeting looks to be fairly uncontroversial, with the possible exceptions of the personnel bylaw revision (people are going to foam at the mouth over the idea of a 5 percent payraise every year after 15 years, but it’s actually in the bylaw now — the article seeks to alter that), the electronic sign bylaw and maybe the “massage parlor” snafu.