ADAMS -- The Board of Selectmen discussed defining the rules of its meetings at a workshop Wednesday.

Selectman Arthur Harrington reviewed "Robert's Rules of Order" with the other members and said the board should define how it will follow them.

The board will continue to address the issue in future meetings.

"We're losing the order of our business," he said.

Harrington pointed out the "citizen's conference" portion of the board's meetings as needing more regulation.

Residents frequently "are talking about other things" that fall outside of the board's purview, he said.

"That's not our business," Harrington said. "Our business is we're setting policy in the community."

Selectmen Chair John Duval agreed on the need for a definition of citizen's conference, adding that people should reach out to the town's department heads with problems before coming to the board of selectmen.

But Duval said he did not want to ask residents what they would be speaking about before the meeting.

"We have to be careful when we say ‘this is what you can do,' " Duval said.

Harrington said certain discussion topics should be put under "new business" for the next meeting.

"Don't lock them out, just put them in the right category," he said.

Selectman Joseph Nowak said he would be hesitant to institute measures such as a time limit.

"If people want to come and speak, they should have the right to do so," he said.


Nowak added that he feared adhering strictly to rules of order would create competition and calls for a "point of order" between the selectmen.

"The more relaxed we can be as a select board, the more effective we can be, he said.

To reach Adam Shanks, email