Moderator prepared for historic town meeting

Elaine Allegrini

He may be facing the biggest crowd of his life, but Moderator James V. Thomas says he is prepared for Saturday's historic town meeting.

"I was frightened when the doctor told me I had cancer, I was frightened when I had triple bypass surgery, but I'm not frightened by this," said Thomas, a lifelong Middleboro resident.

He is, however, apprehensive as he considers the significance of the meeting and its impact on this town of 22,000 people.

"I want things to be done the right way," Thomas said.

Thomas, 71, is retired after owning an insurance company. He served one term as moderator in the 1970s and another term on the School Committee before stepping aside. He returned to public office two years ago and is now in the second year of a three-year term as moderator.

He took a break from the intensive planning for town meeting last week for his favorite past-time, a game of bridge.

But this week Thomas is back to business, consulting with leaders of the Massachusetts Moderators Association, working with organizers of the unprecedented outdoor town meeting and setting parameters for speakers pro and con.

He is fully aware of the attention this town meeting is getting, not only from those affected by the vote, but from Secretary of State William Galvin's office.

When the day is over, whatever the decision, Thomas is hopeful that he will have done his job and people will say he conducted a fair and honest meeting.

"If that's the case, I will have done my job," he added.

Elaine Allegrini can be reached at eallegrini@enterprisenews.com.