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County Commission Minutes 06/12/02

A regular meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was held on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 at 7:30 p.m. in the Conference Room of the County Administration Building, notice of such meeting having been posted as required by law.

Commissioners Present:  Leslie H. Leland, Chairman
                                Robert Sawyer
                                E. B. Collins
                                John Alley                              
Roger Wey
                                Leonard Jason, Jr.

Absent:                 Daniel Flynn

Also Present:           Carol Borer, County Manager     
                                Marsha Smolev, Executive Assistant      
                                Sheriff McCormack
                                TJ Hegarty, Rodent Control Officer
                                Norman Perry, Emergency Management (7:38 PM)
                                Karen Ogden, Search and Rescue
                                Paul Strauss

Chairman Leland called the meeting to order at 7:32 PM.

Commissioner Collins Moved that the Minutes of the public session of the Meeting of May 22, 2002 be approved as written.   Commissioner Alley seconded the Motion.  The Minutes were approved Unanimously.  Commissioner Collins Moved that the Minutes of May 29, 2002 be approved as written.  Commissioner Sawyer Seconded the Motion that passed Unanimously.  

TJ Hegarty requested the County Commissioners’ approval of his idea to use an inflatable rodent to advertise his program in the July 4th Parade.  

Commissioner Jason Moved that the Commissioners Approve the Rodent
Control Officer’s request to promote the services of the DC Rodent Control
Office that was initiated in 1943.   Commissioner Sawyer Seconded the
Motion.  The Motion Passed Unanimously.

Mrs. Borer noted a letter from the Health Council announcing two private donations of $10,000 each.  In keeping with the County’s Grant Policies that require the County Commissioners’ vote to accept private donations, with full understanding of restrictions, the County Manager asked the Commissioners to decide if they would accept the funds.  

Commissioner Wey Moved that the Commissioners Accept the donations.   Commissioner Sawyer Seconded the Motion.  The Vote to Accept the
Donations was Unanimous.

Commissioner Alley mentioned the clause in the letter referring to creating a bank account for the new 501(c)(3).  Mrs. Borer said that the County Treasurer had not yet confirmed the mechanism to transmit checks to the 501(c)(3).  Commissioner Wey asked for clarification about the 501(c)(3).  Mrs. Borer reported on a conversation with Counsel Rick Manley, as well as on his conversation with Murray Frank of the Health Council.  Attorney Manley was on vacation, but would speak with Reynolds, Rappaport and Kaplan when he returned.   Mrs. Borer said Mr. Frank reported that the Health Council wanted to “start its own thing.”  Commissioner Sawyer asked what that meant.  There was discussion about the fact that the 501(c)(3) could bid on County projects.  

Mrs. Borer reported that Attorney Manley said conflict of interest issues (using public funds for a private non-profit) could be raised should the County have some ownership in the 501(c)(3).  Mr. Manley added that the two bodies could work together, if they were separate and distinct.

Commissioner Jason voiced concern about the liability involved with partnering, as well as the fact that the County could be in conflict, should it partner with the 501(c)(3).  Commissioner Sawyer voiced serious concerns that it would be a mistake to act on this without more information.  He asked how the Health Council could be on its own, and added if the 501(c)(3) is a limited liability, how could there be a conflict.  Commissioner Sawyer insisted that the legal opinion be given in writing. He said the 501(c)(3) would house the Island Health Plan and that would be a banner for the County.

Commissioner Jason said the 501(c)(3) would be the Island Health Plan and the Health Council would remain part of the County.  Commissioner Sawyer said he was upset that the County Commissioners would be indirectly appointing the members of the 501(c)(3) by virtue of its membership.  He added this was not an ad hoc committee, but a serious board.  

Commissioner Alley referred to the presentation of the 501(c)(3) by the Health Council, in which he believed it was said that the 501(c)(3) would “free them from the cumbersome County process.” Apparently, Commissioner Alley added, Mr. Frank said the Health Council was moving ahead with the 501(c)(3) anyway.  Commissioner Alley said the problem was the name, Dukes County Health Council, that it should all be called the Island Health Plan.

Chairman Leland said the group had to incorporate in order to get the 501(c)(3).  Commissioner Collins said the Board of Directors of that entity would determine its creation, and that the Commissioners were not involved.  

        Commissioner Sawyer Moved that the issue be Tabled pending the written

Commissioner Jason said the Commissioners wanted an integrated health care plan.  He encouraged the Commissioners to support this, but to require that the Boards be distinct, adding that the Commissioners could give their blessing but require that members only serve on one Board.  Commissioner Wey still questioned liability for the County.  Commissioner Collins said in order to give his blessing, he would have to see a detailed specific plan of how the organization was set up, who was doing the appointing, and so on.  He added if the approval of the Commissioners was not necessary, that he didn’t need to see the mechanics.  He agreed with Commissioner Jason that it was a vehicle to accomplish what the Commissioners wanted.  

Commissioner Sawyer said the Health Council did not have the legal authority to set up a 501(c)(3) without the approval of the Commissioners.  He believed the creation of the 501(c)(3) was a “marvelous idea,” but the issue was the legal structure and process of creating it.  He stressed it could be a serious mistake to act before having the information.  Discussion continued.  

Commissioner Alley Seconded the Motion to Table.  Chairman Leland
called the question about Tabling the matter.  Commissioner Sawyer voted
in favor of tabling.  Commissioner Jason, Wey and Leland were opposed to
Tabling.  Commissioners Collins and Alley Abstained.  The Motion to Table
did not carry.

        Commissioner Jason Moved to encourage the formation of
the 501(c)(3) with the understanding that members could only serve on one
Board, either the Health Council, or the Island Health Plan, not both.
Commissioner Wey Seconded the Motion for discussion.

Commissioner Sawyer noted that the Health Council wanted to serve on the 501(c)(3). He was opposed to the County not having a role in the 501(c)(3). He voiced concern about County assets going into a private 501(c)(3) with no public role.

        Chairman Leland called for the Vote.  Commissioners Jason, Wey and
        Leland Voted in favor of the Motion.  Commissioners Sawyer and Alley
        Voted in Opposition to the Motion.  Commissioner Collins Abstained.  
        The Motion carried.

Commissioner Sawyer asked that the County Manager get a written legal opinion to determine if that vote was legal.  Commissioner Jason asked that there be discussion.

        Commissioner Sawyer Moved that the Commissioners get a legal opinion
        to determine if the vote just taken was a legal process.  Commissioner Wey
        Seconded the Motion.  Commissioners Sawyer, Alley and Wey voted in
        Favor of the Motion.  Commissioners Leland and Jason were Opposed.  
Commissioner Collins Abstained.  The Vote to get a legal opinion on the
legality of the vote Carried.

Mrs. Borer reviewed the contents of the Commissioners’ packets, including the Report on the Status of the County and Summary of Activities Over Fiscal Year 2002  that was given to the Advisory Board.  Commissioner Alley commended the County Manager on the report.  Also reviewed was the Resolution by the Emergency Medical Services Procurement Committee that was distributed to the All Island Selectmen at their meeting of June 3. The County Manager Reviewed a Memo she sent to the County Commissioners dated June 12, 2002 and recommended that the County Commissioners vote to send a letter to each Board of Selectmen requesting they appoint an individual to sit on an Advisory Ad-hoc Committee to revisit the Agreement and develop a new draft Agreement acceptable to the Towns.  

        Commissioner Sawyer Moved that the Commissioners send a letter to
        The Boards of Selectmen requesting they appoint an individual to sit on an
       advisory ad hoc committee to revisit the Intermunicipal Agreement and
come up with a new draft to go the towns at town meetings. Commissioner
Alley Seconded the Motion.  The Vote carried with Commissioner Alley

Mrs. Borer explained that the County Website would begin to include a section on public awareness, to include information on hurricanes, ticks, Search and Rescue, rip tides, moped regulations, Tularemia, etc.  

Mrs. Borer reported that the County awarded the Fuel Oil Bid to RM Packer Company, with a fixed price of .9795.  She mentioned that she was researching ways to include other entities.  Last year’s Bid price was .9999.

Mrs. Borer reported that the parking lot at the County Administration Building had been completed.  She also announced that the handicapped walkway at the Jabberwocky entrance to Joseph Sylvia State Beach was completed.  Also, the Senior Corp Lab was almost completed.  Norton Point would be closing on the following Monday due to the Plovers.

Mrs. Borer noted that there would be a Public Hearing on the Budget on June 17th, followed by a Supplemental Budget meeting of the Advisory Board. The Final list of Supplementary Budget transfers had not yet been prepared. Commissioner Sawyer strongly objected to anything going before the Advisory Board that had not first gone before the County Commissioners.  

The Sheriff voiced his concern about closing Norton Point beach for the two reported Plover pairs.  Mrs. Borer said she would check with Beach Manager Rob Culbert and suggest keeping part open.  The Sheriff also asked which ‘other entities’ might be included in the Fuel Oil Bid.  Mrs. Borer said the ice arena, the Steamship Authority, the Charter School and the Vineyard Transit Authority.  

Mrs. Borer reported that there was consensus at the New York Avenue meeting, and acceptance by the abutters, of June 6th about the draft floor plan previously presented on March 13, 2002.  Mrs. Borer suggested the possibility of towns each getting a bedroom on the second floor that could be used to house a police officer, or some other non-profit employee.  Mrs. Borer said the County agreed to present the site plan and explore grant funding for drafting the building plan.  She also said she was working to come up with a lease for COMSOG, as they had none.  She suggested this might have to go to bid.  Commissioner Jason mentioned that an interest in having permanent restrictions on the property was expressed at the meeting.  Also, COMSOG was interested in more garden space.  Commissioner Wey noted that he had had to leave the meeting early, and was concerned that the white building was not being demolished yet.  He said the fill was there, why not do it immediately?  Mrs. Borer replied that she needed to confirm future building possibilities once the demolition was completed.  Commissioner Jason added it was necessary to review projected zoning rights to be sure rights would not be lost by demolishing the building.  Mrs. Borer said a site plan was being prepared.  Commissioner Wey offered to help expedite whatever needed to be done to get the demotion moving.  He also questioned spending the  money to build another meeting room when the Administration Building had a conference room and employees’ wages were frozen.  Mrs. Borer reiterated the goal to keep a meeting room for groups that had used the property before, the Shellfish Group, 4-H, COMSOG, etc.  Commissioner Sawyer asked if the upstairs rooms needed handicapped access and Mrs. Borer said no, since they were not a public space.

The Sheriff asked about the three cabins he was expecting to move from the property and was told there were two available for his Department.  Mrs. Borer said COMSOG was using 2 of the 5 cabins and a third was in very bad shape.  

Commissioner Wey Moved that the Sheriff’s Department gets two cabins.
Commissioner Sawyer Seconded the Motion that Passed Unanimously.

Mrs. Borer said they’d work out the issue of cabins.  
Chairman Leland reported that the Commissioners were invited to participate in the July 4th Edgartown Parade.

Norman Perry, Director of Emergency Management gave an update on Hurricane Readiness. He reviewed 72 hour warnings, 24 hours and 6-8 hours.  Discussion followed about the chart distributed and the role of Red Cross and MEMA.  Commissioner Jason asked that Mr. Perry find out how many cots were available on the Vineyard for emergency use.  Mr. Perry discussed the durability of an EOC trailer and stressed the need for a permanent emergency station.  Commissioner Sawyer asked Mr. Perry to investigate the space in the Tisbury School because of the large generator there.  Commissioner Jason also questioned if there was a whistle warning system.  He added that a winter storm could conceivably be more destructive than a hurricane because of power outages and frigid weather.  Sheriff McCormack asked Mr. Perry to look into becoming part of the Saturn Program, a statewide program involved with response to terrorism.  Mr. Perry said he was interested in a stipend for emergency management.  Chairman Leland suggested discussing this as part of a future budget process.  

Karen Ogden, Director of Search and Rescue reported on the canine search team.  She described the differences in searching by air scent or tracking.  The Commissioners thanked Mr. Perry and Ms. Ogden for their reports.

Commissioner Jason Moved to adjourn.  Commissioner Alley Seconded
the Motion.  The meeting adjourned at 9:17 PM.  

Complete text of meeting is available on tape at the County Commissioner’s office.


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