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DCC Executive Session Minutes 2003-08-13 9pm

An Executive Session of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was held Wednesday,
August 13, 2003 at 9:02 p.m. in the conference room of the County Administration Building, notice of such meeting having been posted as required by law.

Commissioners Present: Leonard Jason, Jr.; Robert Sawyer; Leslie Leland; John Alley, Chairman; Nelson Smith; Paul Strauss; Roger Wey    
Also Present:  Dianne Powers, Marsha Smolev, Laurie Perry

Chairman Alley asked if Ms. Perry had anything to present.  Ms. Perry distributed notarized letters from previous employers.  Chairman Alley referred to one letter form General Dynamics and asked if any records had been sent with it.  Ms. Perry said General Dynamics closed in 1988.  Commissioner Jason gave an example of a similar situation in which someone couldn’t verify a degree and added there were enough people attesting to the degree and that was all he needed.

Commissioner Wey disagreed saying it wasn’t enough for him.  He said he’d asked for something from Northeastern, that Ms. Perry had attended or had a degree.  Commissioner Sawyer asked if anything had come of Ms. Perry’s dialogue with the President of Northeastern.  She said she had an attorney working on it.  Commissioner Sawyer read a second letter from Northeastern, dated July 23, 2003, from Linda Allen, in which it was stated that unless there was additional information, they couldn’t confirm a degree. Commissioner Sawyer acknowledged that this had dragged on and that he shared some responsibility for that because he had urged the Commissioners to give Ms. Perry every opportunity, but he was not sure he could embrace the letters as written.  He said he wanted to believe that Northeastern had lost the file.  Commissioner Smith said he couldn’t be cleared, that he wanted to see something from Northeastern. Commissioner Strauss called this a troubling episode and said the Bachelor’s was required and had to be verified.  He was concerned that nobody had accompanied a letter with documentation.  Ms. Perry said these letters were from original supervisors.
Commissioner Leland said he’d said he wanted something ‘he could hang his hat on’ and he felt these letters verified the degree. He noted that there was reference to reimbursements and so those must have been approved.  Commissioner Leland also said ‘big places screw up too,’ and these people wouldn’t have provided notarized statements if they weren’t true.

Commissioner Sawyer referred to a statement about a tuition reimbursement program and wondered if the Bursar’s Office had been questioned.  Ms. Perry said she had an attorney now who was handling this.  She added that the Executive Sessions had been in the paper, that Executive Session wasn’t Executive Session then.

Chairman Alley said he had hoped that transcripts might be attached to the letters.  He added he didn’t know these people and this had gone on too long.  Commissioner Strauss said he had heard uncertainty in some minds and these letters hadn’t provided the definitive level of information needed.   Commissioner Strauss said he thought the offer to Laurie Perry should be rescinded and the Search Committee reconvened to provide three fully qualified candidates.  He added Ms. Perry could apply and that would give her time to find definitive information.  Commissioner Wey Seconded this but said it should be done in Open Session and Ms. Powers agreed it had to be.  Commissioner Wey said then this would be a discussion.  Commissioner Jason asked what had changed, that Ms. Perry had been asked to contact employers and get stated notarized and that that would be acceptable.  Commissioner Wey said he wasn’t at that meeting, but the meeting before that, the Commissioners had decided they wanted evidence of a Northeastern Degree, something from Northeastern.  Commissioner Strauss added and Ms. Perry’s name was not on the list from Commencement.
Commissioner Jason asked if anyone had checked to see if her name wouldn’t be there if she owed money.  Commissioner Wey suggested that perhaps Ms. Perry never attended, that that was a possibility too. Discussion continued.  Commissioner Strauss reminded the Commissioners that the Degree had been a requirement and while he thought Ms. Perry probably, almost certainly, had the capabilities to handle the County Manager job, it was unclear if she had the Degree she claimed to have.  He acknowledged that when dealing with someone’s life it wasn’t easy.

Commissioner Wey Moved to go out of Executive Session and reconvene in Open Session.  Commissioner Sawyer urged the Commissioners to ‘tread cautiously,’ that first anything about Ms. Perry’s character should be dealt with first because that would be inappropriate in Open Session and couldn’t be part of dialogue without Ms. Perry’s permission.  Commissioner Smith Seconded the Motion.  Ms. Powers suggested dealing with each action separately.

Commissioner Sawyer asked if anyone at Northeastern had seen the August 1 letter.  Ms. Perry said she was no longer handling this.  Chairman Alley asked the name of her attorney but Ms. Perry refused to give it, saying she didn’t want to see it in the newspapers.  Commissioner Sawyer said, “We have a deep throat.”

Commissioner Leland reiterated that he could hang his hat on these notarized letters. Commissioner Sawyer said he couldn’t vote against Laurie Perry.

Chairman Alley called Roll Call vote to adjourn: Commissioner Sawyer – aye; Commissioner Wey - aye; Commissioner Jason – aye; Commissioner Smith – aye; Commissioner Strauss – aye; Commissioner Leland – aye; Chairman Alley – aye.  
The Commissioners adjourned the Executive Session at 9:32 PM.

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Phone: 508.696.3840    Fax: 508.696.3841
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