Photo: Mike Widmer
Mike Widmer will have a challenger – his first ever – in his final campaign to return as Town Moderator.
Filing his paperwork with the Town Clerk’s Office on Feb. 5, former school committee member Michael Crowley will seek to replace one of Belmont’s longest-serving public officials in what Widmer told the Belmontonian will be the last time his name will be on the ballot.
First elected to the one-year term in 2008 when he ran to fill the open seat previously held by Henry Hall, Widmer has been unopposed in 15 subsequent town elections. Before his current post, Widmer has been a member of the Warrant Committee from 1993 until 2008 – three years as chair – and a Town Meeting Member since 1981.
Crowley was a school committee member for four years, eight years on Town Meeting, and six years on the Warrant Committee. He also served on the Long Term Capital Planning Committee, which drafted the recommendation to form the Comprehensive Capital Budget Committee.
One of the best descriptions of Town Moderator’s functions is by Town Meeting Member Paul Roberts in his “Blogging Belmont” preview of the 2023 town election.
“In addition to presiding over the annual Town Meeting, the Moderator plays a critical role in setting the agenda for Town Meeting – working with the Town’s various committees and professional staff, residents and Town counsel to set the warrant.”
“In Belmont, the Moderator also has substantial appointment powers. They appoint all members of the Warrant Committee – the Town’s main financial oversight committee – as well as three members of the seven person Capital Budget Committee, a majority of the Bylaw Review Committee and members of the Permanent Building Advisory Committee. The Moderator is also tasked with appointing members to special purpose committees, such as [building committees].”