Towns may remove themselves from the Cape Cod Commission

Towns may remove themselves from the Cape Cod Commission

Oak Bluffs Removed Itself from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission

In the year 2003, pursuant to a town meeting vote and in accordance with follow-up election results, and as clearly illustrated by the statute provided below, the Town of Oak Bluffs successfully removed itself from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (their version of the Cape Cod Commission). With that example in mind, any Cape Cod town which desires to do so may also remove itself from the Cape Cod Commission since there already exists legal, electoral, and legislative precedent to do so.


However, please be further advised that the petitioned Annual Town Meeting Warrant Article(s) pertaining to withdrawing from the Cape Cod Commission currently pending before a number of Cape Cod municipalities may require “a motion” to be introduced verbally from the floor by a town resident (and registered voter) at the time that such matter is introduced at the annual town meeting in order for the matter to move forward for further action by a particular town if it chooses to do so.

A verbal motion to partially amend the language of a particular town meeting warrant article related to withdrawal from the Cape Cod Commission should be done via prior brief consultation with an attorney skilled in municipal law. I am sure that there are local lawyers who will quietly provide such practical advice as a community service and in the public interest. It will be up to the respective citizens and/or elected officials (like the honorable Board of Selectmen) of each town to follow through on this action if they deem it to be the appropriate course of action to follow.

The motion to partially amend the language of a Cape Cod Commission withdrawal town meeting warrant article may be either “to petition for special legislation for permission to put a binding question on the ballot” or “to place a non-binding question on the next annual town election ballot.”

Interested citizens and officials involved in each respective Cape Cod town meeting process need to decide for themselves exactly what they wish to do relative to ongoing pursuit of removing their specific town from the authority of the Cape Cod Commission. However, as already shown, it most certainly can be done since it has already been done in the past by the Town of Oak Bluffs which decided that it was the correct thing to do at that point in time.

It is a fundamental foundation of our American democratic system of government that the voters should have the right to at least voice their wishes on a particular public policy issue via the ballot box. If town residents and their duly elected officials deem this issue worthy of such a process, then they should do what is necessary to make it a reality.

Anyone having questions about this matter may ask them at any time. Thank you, and good luck.

Ron Beaty

Withdraw from the Cape Cod Commission

Withdraw from the Cape Cod Commission

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