Tom Brady (copy)

Bourne officials are concerned that a televised Monday night football game October 21 between the New England Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, and the New York Jets could affect attendance at the Special Town Meeting scheduled that same evening.

Would Tom Brady and the Patriots be more of a draw than the democratic functioning of Bourne town government?

At least one Bourne official thinks that might be the case.

The board of selectmen has scheduled a Special Town Meeting at Bourne High School for the evening of Monday, October 21—the same night that the New England Patriots take on the New York Jets, their archrivals in the NFL’s Eastern Division of the American Football Conference.

Bourne's new town moderator, Donald J. Pickard, has suggested that the selectmen consider choosing a different date for next month’s Town Meeting.

In an email to selectmen, Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino and other town officials, Mr. Pickard pointed out the potential obstacle to attendance.

“I mentioned it to the Honorable Town Clerk,” Mr. Pickard said in reference to Barry H. Johnson, “and he and I both think that the game will have a negative impact on our STM attendance.”

Mr. Pickard said he understood that town business should take priority over a sporting event, but questioned whether a change should be made.

Given that the Patriots are such a winning team, he said, “it stands to reason it will affect our quorum in an adverse way.”

“Does the BOS have thoughts on this and should alternatives be kicked around at your next meeting?” he asked.

Mr. Johnson concurred that he and Mr. Pickard discussed the issue, and he would support changing the date to a week later, Monday, October 28.

The town clerk, however, said that the Patriots game was just a small part of his desire to see the date for Special Town Meeting changed. The bigger reason, he said, was that the later date would allow for more, and better, preparation time for the meeting.

Selectmen chairman Judith M. Froman said the date change question is on the board’s meeting agenda for next Tuesday, September 24. Ms. Froman said that a variety of factors have to be considered when deciding if a date change is in the best interest of the town.

“How does it affect the work all those who do the preparation?” she said, “any pertinent deadlines, meeting space availability, availability at no additional cost to renting the electronic voting, and speculation on how it might affect obtaining a quorum.”

Ms. Froman said she welcomes comments from the public prior to Tuesday’s meeting as to whether the Patriots/Jets game would affect their decision to attend Special Town Meeting.

Comments can be emailed to her at jfroman@townofbourne.com.

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