How to Serve the Town
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Structure of Town Government in Harvard
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Contacting Elected Officials
Harvard Facts
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Civility Matters!

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Photos from November 10, 2013, community forum.

 

What do We Value?
Small - get to know each other easily • We value open space & conservation land • Individuals can make a difference • High quality of citizenry • Anyone can participate • Support in times of crisis • Sense of Volunteerism • People contribute skills, expertise • Strong education system • Connected to past & good steward of historic resources • We have a Pub! • Welcoming • Nonprofessional government (volunteers)

What Have We Observed?
Egos getting in the way of the common good • We are effective by experiencing aberrant behavior • We look more partisan and fractured than in the past • Less dialog, more bullying • Labeling and assuming others’ positions • Willingness to attack and be nasty • Avoiding some discussions & let a vote decide is not a good decision-making • Questioning design to disparage the debate • People participating feel attacked

What is the Impact?
Criticism of volunteers • Lack of compromise • Absence of meaningful conversation • With large issues we don’t hear from people until it’s time to vote • Things break down in smaller venues (other than Town Meeting) • Not checking each other • Unclear norms • Low TRUST • Delayed responses • When we don’t resolve the current issue it gets harder to solve future issues • Fewer volunteers; few VOICES • Incivility undermines collaboration • Values clashes • Don’t move forward • What’s the effect on kids? • People get left out of the discourse • Preservation is suffering

What would we Like to See?
It is okay to apologize • Guidelines/rules “play a card” when things get heated • FACTS • Begin with the end in mind - goal is also civil behavior • Post civility guidelines • Self-police, don’t make the leader do it • What are the compromises? • Openly discuss values and LISTEN to each other • Process and outcome focus •More reflection! • Majority rules, but respect the minority



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