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History of Town Meeting in the Town of Reading

On June 10, 1644 the settlement was incorporated as the Town of Reading, taking its name from the Town of Reading in England.

The history of the first Town Meeting within the boundaries as we knew Reading today was held in 1853 the year North Reading separated from Reading.

The Town of Reading was initially governed by an open town meeting and a select board which remained until the 1940s.

In 1944, the Town of Reading adopted the representative town meeting model of local government in place of the open town meeting. This retained the representative town meeting and select board, but focused policy and decision making in a smaller number of elected boards and committees while providing for the employment of a town manager to be responsible for day to day operations of the local government.

The municipal government of the Town of Reading comprises a representative town meeting, whose members are elected from eight precincts. The town elects twenty-four town meeting members per precinct which serve for overlapping three-year terms, making the total of 192 town meeting members.

The town elects a five member Select Board by general election, which serve for overlapping three-year terms. The Select Board is responsible for calling the elections for the town meeting, and for calling town meetings. They initiate legislative policy by proposing legislative changes to the town meeting, and then implement the votes subsequently adopted. They also review fiscal guidelines for the annual operating budget and capital improvements program and make recommendations on these to the town meeting.