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County Commission Minutes 09/11/02

A regular meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was held on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 at 7:15 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 (7:22 PM)
                                E. B. Collins
                                Leonard Jason, Jr.
                               Daniel Flynn
                                John Alley
Roger Wey

Also Present:   Carol Borer, County Manager             Peter Williamson
                        Marsha Smolev, Executive Assistant              Judy Williamson
                        Noreen Flanders, County Treasurer               Ilene Klein
                        Sheriff McCormack                               Kathy Logue
                        Joseph Sollitto, Clerk of the Courts            Peter Strock
                        Dianne Powers, Register                 Tad Crawford
                        Carol Grant, Assistant Treasurer                Jack Brain
                        Cynthia Schilling, Retirement Office            Ron Rappaport
                        Jo Ann Murphy, Veterans’ Agent          Fred Rundlet
                        William Weibrecht, Airport Manager              JB Riggs Parker
                        Robert C. Murphy                                Chris Knowles
                        David Kann
                        Joshua Sabatini, Vineyard Gazette       
                        Stephen Berlucchi, County Engineer

Chairman Leland called the meeting to order at 7:15 PM, asking for a minute of silence to show respect for those who lost their lives last September 11th.  

Chairman Leland then presented a Citation to Robert C. Murphy for Outstanding Service, dedication, during his twenty-four years as the County’s Representative on the Financial Board of the Steamship Authority.  Ron Rappaport cited Bob Murphy’s long history of fiscal discipline and integrity.  Riggs Parker noted that Bob Murphy may reside in Oak Bluffs, but he represented the entire Vineyard in a broad, unbiased way.  Joseph Sollitto, Commissioner Flynn, and Commissioner Sawyer shared memories of time spent working with Mr. Murphy.  Mr. Murphy was deeply thanked by all, for his many years of loyal and dedicated service.

Commissioner Sawyer presented a Citation to David Kann for outstanding dedication and professional expertise in his years as Director of the County Wastewater Treatment Facility.  Mr. Kann’s eleven years of devoted service was greatly appreciated, and as Mrs. Borer noted, his presence will be greatly missed.

An intermission was called at 7:30 PM so refreshments could be served.  The meeting resumed at 7:45 PM.

Commissioner Collins Moved that the Minutes of the Meeting of
August 14, 2002 be approved as written.   Commissioner Jason Seconded the Motion.  

Commissioner Sawyer wanted the Minutes to reflect his strong objection to entering into any lease for 40 years or 20 years without ‘appropriate escalations.’  Mrs. Borer pointed out that this was dealt with in the draft RFP and Lease for the New York Avenue property, that he received in his package.

The Minutes were approved.  Commissioners Flynn Wey and Alley Abstained.  

Chairman Leland reported that the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority requested that Abbe Burt and Paul Watts be appointed to their Board.

Commissioner Jason Moved that Paul Watts be appointed as the At-Large Representative to the DCRHA as requested.   Commissioner Alley Seconded the Motion.  The vote to appoint Mr. Watts was Unanimous.

Commissioner Jason Moved that Abbe Burt be appointed as the Tisbury Representative to the DCRHA as requested.   Commissioner Alley Seconded the Motion.  The vote to appoint Ms. Burt was Unanimous.

Commissioner Collins reported that a final agreement had been reached between the Airport and the Union.  Commissioner Collins said the Contract was in-hand and that he was satisfied with it.  There were no surprises. He explained that after the Arbitration Session that had been requested, the package was accepted as it had been presented.

Commissioner Collins Moved that the Commissioners endorse the Contract.   Commissioner Alley Seconded the Motion.  The vote to endorse the Contract was Unanimous.

Mrs. Borer reported that she had included in Commissioners Collins’ and Sawyer’s packages a draft RFP and draft Lease for the New York Avenue property in Oak Bluffs, as requested.  She asked that the two Commissioners review the documents and report back to her in two weeks, as the RFP process required four to six weeks and needed to be started soon.  

Mrs. Borer presented a Revenue Report for this Fiscal Year through August 31, 2002 and a Revenue Report for the close of last Fiscal Year.  She pointed out that Beach Permits this summer were over projected revenues.  Mrs. Flanders added that Parking Clerk income did not meet revenue because expectations were based on the previous year’s figures, which were inflated by the cleanup of parking tickets (when the shift was made to the new vendor.)  Mrs. Flanders reiterated her concern about the reduction of funds from Courthouse rent.  Mrs. Borer said she anticipated giving the Commissioners a Revenue Report every month.  The Audit exit conference was tentatively scheduled for October 9, 2002.  

Included in the Commissioners’ packets was an article about Alice Boyd, the County’s Grant Writer. Mrs. Borer reported that Oak Bluffs would be the lead community in this next application ($1.2 million for 40 units to be rehabilitated.)  There were 52 applications for this year’s 30 slots, so some would carry over.  There were presently two staff workers at the Administration Building for the Grant, the Construction and Project Managers.  

Mrs. Borer reported that she had received Job Descriptions for the Airport Manager and Assistant Manager.  The Job Descriptions that had been requested approximately six months ago, were being copied and would be sent to Personnel Committee members for review.  

Mrs. Borer introduced a Draft County Funding Plan Proposal, dated 9/10/02.  She noted the Preamble that explained how the Charter gave County ‘power to establish innovative programs and to perform regional services.’  Mrs. Borer said that while the County has made great strides in developing new programs to provide regional services, it could be doing more.  Mrs. Borer continued that, ‘effective government requires alignment with citizens,’ so she intended to meet with Chairmen of Town Finance Committees to be sure to make this a community endeavor.  Specifically, the Plan’s main component was one percent (1%) fee on real estate transfers, like the 2% Land Bank fee, but separate from it.  This, Mrs. Borer, suggested, would give tax relief to the towns.  The County would then support town funding of Ambulances, Councils on Aging, and Assessments for the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.  The Plan would require Legislation.  Mrs. Borer had scheduled a meeting with Finance Committees to begin the process of hearing from the towns.

Chairman Leland turned to the topic of the future of the Health Council and invited Chris Knowles, Director of Visiting Nurse Services at the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, to give a history on its evolution.

Mr. Knowles said in 1992, after Clinton was elected, Terry Henry and Patty Begley approached him, asking him to help anticipate how Clinton’s Healthcare Reform would affect the Vineyard.  Mr. Knowles and a small group met for three years and on March 17, 1995, the Healthcare Consortium asked Mr. Knowles to write to the County Commissioners.  The letter asked that the Commissioners create something modeled after the Health and Human Services Council in Barnstable.  In a letter dated April 19, 1995, Mr. Knowles asked County Manager Mike Johnson to create the Dukes County Health and Human Services Advisory Council modeled after Barnstable’s, to identify the health status indicators so they could be addressed.  Mr. Knowles was named to Chair the Council.  The first meeting of the DCHHAC was on September 20, 1995, shortly after the final report of the Consortium, and the Hospital and State’s Vineyard Healthcare Study, were presented. The Health Council has met monthly ever since.
Mr. Knowles said now that the Island Health Plan was created, the County Commissioners could revisit what they wanted in 1995 and see if the Health Council is doing it or can do it.

Mrs. Borer mentioned that she had included in the packets the original Shared Values and Mission Statement.  Mr. Knowles explained how the Shared Values were a consensus written by Cathy Brennan after many meetings of the Health Council.  Commissioner Wey asked for an explanation about why this was being discussed.  Chairman Leland said there needed to be definition of how the Health Council should move forward.  Commissioner Wey asked if the Health Council had given input.  Mrs. Borer explained that the Commissioners had voted that the Island Health Plan and Health Council had to be separate and distinct.  A meeting was scheduled by the Island Health Plan for September 12th in which the future of the Health Council was being discussed. Mrs. Borer hoped to bring the Commissioners’ ideas to that meeting. Commissioner Jason said he had heard there was concern that the Commissioners were doing away with the Health Council.  He said that was not the Commissioners’ desire.  He said the purpose was to reaffirm the need for the Health Council and help decide what it should pursue.

Commissioner Sawyer said the notion that the Health Council wanted to estrange itself from the County didn’t come from the Health Council.  He said it was committed to being part of the County.  And, he asked, if the Commissioners were committed to the Health Council, where did it come from?

Commissioner Jason recalled chairing the meeting during which the Health Council was created.  It was created to develop an integrated healthcare system for the Vineyard.  He said headway was made but we need to continue to pursue avenues where people fall through the cracks.  He didn’t want anyone to get hurt.

Tad Crawford commended Mrs. Borer for planning a new source of funding.  He welcomed the opportunity to speak to the future of the Health Council, and felt qualified to do so, since he, Randi Vega, and Juleann VanBelle had drafted the original Mission Statement and secured sponsorship by the County Commissioners.  He said in the delivery of healthcare, it was difficult to achieve a consensus, but the focus was to: increase access to Mass Health, get sliding scale rates for those who didn’t qualify for Mass Health, and develop a Health Plan.  Mr. Crawford said he was upset, he was frustrated, but he was hopeful.  He said forcing the Health Council members to decide which Board they wanted to be on, meant they had lost people that the Health Council needed.  He said he understood the legitimate concerns of the Commissioners but regretted that the Health Council was not engaged in the Commissioners’ decision.  His hope came from the fact that the Council was a necessary forum where people could be heard, and he believed the new direction could revitalize it.  He said the points that needed to be discussed were: the future of the Health Council, membership, the relationship between the Health Council, the Foundation for Island Health, and the Island Health Plan, and the relationship between the Health Council and the County.  He added that ‘volunteer effort is fragile.’ Members needed to feel supported and empowered.  He asked for honesty and communication.  

Commissioner Collins said the members should take pride in their accomplishments, in creating the Island Health Plan.  If some people move to the Health Plan, others could get involved with something different.  He thought the Health Council was a vital part of the Island.  Chairman Leland agreed.

Kathy Logue said she did take pride in the Council’s accomplishments, but at the same time she had an enormous sense of frustration over miscommunications and late communications.  She said she didn’t understand why there couldn’t at least be minority representation of the Health Council on its ‘spin-off’ the Island Health Plan.  She mentioned her father’s vision for regional services and added that she felt her father would have wondered why they couldn’t all work better together.  Commissioner Jason said he thought he knew how Ms. Logue’s father, Ed Logue, would have responded to all this.  Furthermore, Commissioner Jason said he had read the Health Council Minutes.  If he’d referred to his appointing Boards for his jobs, the way he’d read the Council members refer to theirs, he would have been removed!  He questioned how people could think, on 9/11, that they couldn’t be replaced.  He reiterated that no Commissioner ever said to get rid of the Health Council.  He added that better communication and mutual respect worked both ways.

Mrs. Borer added, for example, the Commissioners weren’t informed of the meeting that Island Health Plan was having the next day with the Health Council.  They might have wanted to give their comments.  Commissioner Wey agreed the problem was communication, as did Commissioner Sawyer.

        Commissioner Flynn Moved to Adjourn. Commissioner Collins
        Seconded the Motion.  The meeting Adjourned at 8:46 PM.

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