The "New Englander" is attached to his township because it is strong and independent; he has an interest in it because he shares in its management; he loves it because he has no reason to complain; he invests his ambition and his future in it; he learns to rule society; he gets to know the formalities without which freedom can advance only through revolution.
Government in East Bridgewater is characterized by the Open Town Meeting acting as the legislative branch and the Executive Branch composed of elected administrative officers. The most prominent of those elected officers is the Board of Selectmen. The Selectmen are in turn, responsible for the administration of a wide range of areas, primarily by appointments to other offices responsible to the Selectmen. Elected officials are responsible to the electorate. Although the Board of Selectmen has many responsibilities, their relationship with other elected boards/committee, i.e. School Committee, Planning Board, Board of Health, Library Trustees, Tree Warden, Highway Surveyor, is one of cooperation rather than directive.
In some cases, the individuals elected to offices in towns are unpaid or receive a nominal payment as their participation is on a part-time volunteer basis. In the other cases, individuals elected or appointed
are full time employees of the town, i.e. Tree Warden, Highway Surveyor, Treasurer/Collector, Town Accountant .
The direct Open Town Meeting predominates in Massachusetts. Every registered voter is eligible to attend and vote on the range of issues before the community, i.e. budget approvals, accepting or rejecting local by-laws, acceptance of Acts of the General Court, etc. The major variation of the Open Town Meeting is the Representative Town Meeting in which towns are divided into voting precincts, each of which elects a number of citizens to vote on the issues of Town Meeting.
Town Meeting functions are similar to those of City Councils.
Town Meeting has its origins in the Massachusetts Bay colony, back in the 1600's. The basic principals of East Bridgewater government are democratic in the strictest sense of the word. Winston Churchill said "trust the people," and that idea is practiced via the form of government in East Bridgewater:
a. an open Town Meeting where people who care about the environment in which they live can materially effect public policy.
b. a confidence that a people that participate in government will be an informed people and will make the best judgments regarding their own future.
c. the rule of the majority and retaining the rights of the minority, except bonding, by-law adoption which require 2/3 vote.