Identify Issues

September 2019 – January 2020

This phase shall comprise two major activities

• The Committee shall gather input to identify issues that might be considered for investigation in detail during the following phase

• The Committee shall determine which of these issues should be investigated, and in what sequence

The Committee has scheduled three “Listening Sessions” to gather input from the general public, for November 16th in the Old Town Hall, November 20th at the Public Safety Center, and December 11th at Memorial Hall Library. The Committee scheduled these meetings to take place over a number of weeks, at different times of day, and in different locations, to remove barriers to participation. In addition, members of the public shall be encouraged to provide their input electronically, through the Town Governance Study Committee’s Web pages or by email.

Individuals in key positions in Andover’s government, and the Chairs of the major Boards and Committees (or their designees) shall be invited to provide their perspective through one-to-one interviews with a member of the Town Governance Study Committee. The Committee has developed a set of deliberately general questions to be shared with the interviewees in advance. However, conversation shall not be limited to these questions. Chairs shall be encouraged to discuss their input with their respective Board or Committee in advance. The individuals, Boards and Committees who will be invited to participate in these meetings are listed here.

The Committee will capture input from the remaining Boards and Committees in a forum on December 3rd, to which the Chairs (or their designees) shall be invited. The same conversation-starter questions shall be used, and again, distributed in advance of the forum. The Boards and Committees whose Chairs will be invited to participate in these meetings are listed here

Further outreach activities may be considered to reach specific demographics if the Committee feels that this is necessary, or if such activities are requested. Such activities will take place within the time period of the “Study Issues” phase, but nonetheless, will carry equal weight in the Committee’s consideration of which issues to investigate. In addition, if additional issues come to light while the Committee is investigating the issues selected during this first phase, the Committee shall consider whether to add these new issues to the study.

It is important to remember that the purpose of this phase is to capture the broadest-possible range of ideas on what topics would be useful to investigate. The Committee believes that it is of no consequence from whom an idea is received, as long as an idea is good, and therefore, will not restrict input. In fact, the Committee encourages input from residents who are not yet 18 years old, as they comprise the future of this town, and from people who do not participate in elections or other decision-making processes, as they might have important insights into why people disengage. The Committee also believes that it is reasonable to place more weight on issues suggested by a resident of Andover, with one exception. The Committee recognizes that town employees are stakeholders in Andover’s future, irrespective of where they live.

The “Identify Issues” phase will culminate with the Committee reporting to the Select Board in January. In this, as in subsequent phases, the intention is to build consensus and alignment between the Committee and the Select Board as work progresses.