A regular meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was held Wednesday,
August 13, 2003 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: Leonard Jason, Jr.; Robert Sawyer; Leslie Leland; John Alley, Chairman; Nelson Smith; Paul Strauss; Roger Wey.
Also Present: Dianne Powers, Acting County Manager; Marsha Smolev, Executive Assistant (8:12 PM); Sheriff McCormack; Treasurer Noreen Flanders; Ezra Blair, MV Times; Alexis Tonti, Vineyard Gazette; Laurie Perry; Philippe Jordi, Director, Regional Housing Authority; Mark Seward, Regional Housing Authority; Finbarr O’Connor; Robert Culbert, Water Testing Lab Director; Bob Tonti.
The Chairman opened the meeting at 7:44 p.m. Commissioner Sawyer Moved that the Minutes of July 23, 2003 and July 30, 2003 be Approved as written. Commissioner Leland Seconded the Motion. The Minutes were Approved Unanimously.
It was decided to postpone the trip to Cuttyhunk since the Cuttyhunk Selectmen would not be available on August 26.
It was decided the discussion about the County Manager situation would be held in Executive Assistant according to Ms. Perry’s request.
Ms. Powers reported on the draft letter to Dionex will make requested revisions.
Ms. Powers stated that she, the Airport Manager, Airport Commission Chair and Mr. Putnam of the Hot Tin Roof met to discuss a settlement about the parking lot issue that has been hovering for a couple of years. Ms. Powers said that a draft agreement with the Hot Tin Roof was being reviewed by counsel. Commissioner Jason asked why the trailer was there since he thought it wasn’t going to be there until the matter with the property was resolved. Ms. Powers said she didn’t know, that she hadn’t noticed the trailer. She asked that the discussion be postponed until she had the draft agreement to distribute.
Chairman Alley reported that the Mass Association of County Commissioners is planning a meeting on the Vineyard in September. Commissioner Sawyer would contact them to ask that they come at a later date.
Commissioner Sawyer Moved to take from the table the County Funding Plan as evidenced by the paper before the Commissioners. Commissioner Jason Seconded the Motion. Roll call vote: Commissioner Sawyer – aye; Commissioner Wey - aye; Commissioner Jason – aye; Commissioner Smith – aye; Commissioner Strauss – aye; Commissioner Leland – aye; Chairman Alley – aye. The Vote to Take the County Funding Plan from the Table was Unanimous.
Commissioner Sawyer Moved: To appoint and lead a County Task force with the mission to review, evaluate and make recommendation, amendments and/or changes to the proposed County Funding Plan and to report their findings and recommendations to the County Commission. The Committee shall be comprised of the following seventeen (17) individuals (see attached.) Commissioner Strauss Seconded the Motion.
(Ms. Smolev arrived and began taking Minutes.) Discussion continued on the Task Force. Commissioner Strauss suggested that the Task Force address issues of funding more generally and not only with regard to this Plan. Commissioner Wey agreed and stated that he thought County Commissioners should not be on the Task Force, that elected officials from each town should be included. Commissioner Sawyer disagreed, stating the Commissioners were regional and not just responsible to their towns like Selectmen.
The Vote on the Motion was Commissioner Sawyer ‘yes’ and the other six Commissioners ‘nay.’ The Motion Failed.
(Break 8:19 to 8:24 PM.)
Treasurer Flanders reported that there was still no 2004 Budget. She reminded Commissioners to submit their Related Party Questionnaires.
Philippe Jordi and Mark Seward presented a proposed Amendment to the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority Legislation of 1986 that would give the appointing power for the DCRHA to the Towns rather than the Commissioners. The Commissioners presently are asked to appoint members recommended by the towns. Also, there would be one Island-wide appointment that the Commissioners would make. The Island –wide representative used to be the Gosnold representative. The Commissioners questioned the changes. Mr. Jordi said the Board was looking at amending the Legislation to be able to qualify for refinancing (Mass. Housing Partnership.) Chairman Alley asked if the Commissioners had ever not appointed someone recommended by a town. Mr. Jordi said the Housing Authority was already amending their
Legislation, or they wouldn’t have brought this up now. Mark Seward said having the County do the appointing added an ‘extra level of redundancy’ and was ‘an archaic approach.’ Commissioner Sawyer disagreed, calling it a check and balance and noting the regional nature of the Housing Authority. Mrs. Flanders said she was sensitive about excluding Gosnold and voiced concern about having an Island-wide position in place of a Gosnold position. Discussion continued.
Chairman Alley said the County sponsored the original Legislation and any changes or amendments should come from the County. Mr. Seward said the DCRHA has evolved and improved service and it was attempting to improve its ability to serve the community. Mr. Jordi said they were working to develop trust with the towns. Mr. Seward said this was not designed to diminish the role of the county. Chairman Alley concluded by asking Mr. Jordi to bring the Commissioners a copy of the actual amendment planned.
Commissioner Strauss asked Ms. Powers to read a disclosure of appearance of conflict of interest. Since he was as a Director of the Friends of Sengekontacket and was going to sit at a Public Hearing for The Martha’s Vineyard Commission. His disclosure stated that FOS has no financial interest in any project relating to the homes in the Southern Woodlands.
Commissioner Smith Moved to authorize Chairman Alley to sign the letter presented by Commissioner Strauss stating that the Commissioners had received the disclosure. Commissioner Sawyer Seconded the Motion that Passed Unanimously.
Commissioner Jason asked that the Commissioners send a letter to SSA Representative Roessel asking that if there was to be a decision made about the Fast Ferry Proposal, that it be made on the Vineyard. Chairman Alley was asked to sign the letter once it was drafted.
There was some discussion about the status of the Amendment to the SSA Bill.
Mr. O’Connor, a member of the Public, commented that he had attended three meetings and was impressed by the Commissioners’ work, but that three Executive Sessions was too much. He said too much important work was being done behind the scenes and he said while appreciating confidentiality, he thought if criteria standards were being discussed the Commissioners owed the Public to discuss that in Open Session. He said he found this disrespectful to the Public.
Chairman Alley said he agreed and that any decision would be made in Open Session.
Commissioner Strauss Moved that the Commissioners go into Executive Session to conduct a strategy session for negotiations with non-union personnel and include Ms. Smolev, Ms. Powers and Ms. Perry and to reconvene in Open Session. Commissioner Leland Seconded the Motion. Chairman Alley called for a Roll Call vote on the Motion: Commissioner Leland – aye; Commissioner Strauss – aye; Commissioner Smith – aye; Commissioner Jason – aye; Commissioner Wey – aye; Commissioner Sawyer – aye; Chairman Alley – aye.
The Commissioners broke for Executive Session at 8:58 PM.
The Commissioners reconvened in Open Session at 9:34 PM.
Commissioner Strauss Moved to rescind the offer of employment we made to Laurie Perry. Commissioner Wey Seconded the Motion. Commissioner Sawyer voted ‘nay’; Commissioner Wey ‘aye’; Commissioner Jason ‘nay’; Commissioner Smith ‘aye’; Commissioner Strauss ‘aye’; Commissioner Leland ‘nay’; Chairman Alley ‘aye’. The Motion carried.
Commissioner Sawyer Moved to urge Laurie Perry to make herself a candidate in the new selection process and to give her the opportunity to provide documentation required for the position. Commissioner Smith suggested starting the motion with: To ask the Selection Committee to present us with three qualified candidates. Commissioner Strauss Seconded the Motion. The Motion then read: To ask the Selection Committee to present us with three qualified candidates and to urge Laurie Perry to make herself a candidate in the new selection process and to give her the opportunity to provide documentation required for the position.
Ms. Powers said that there was another option, the other finalist, and added it would be appropriate to have a discussion with that person as well. Commissioner Smith suggested notifying him and asking him if he would be interested in being considered. Ms. Powers said he had already been notified and while he wouldn’t be willing to go through the process again, he would be willing to discuss it with the Board. The Commissioners discussed the wording of the Motion.
Commissioner Strauss Moved to Amend the Motion to read: To ask the Selection Committee to present us with three qualified candidates and to urge Laurie Perry to make herself a candidate in the new selection process. Commissioner Wey Seconded the Motion to Amend. The Vote to Amend the Motion by removing part of it Passed Unanimously.
The Vote to Approve the Motion (To ask the Selection Committee to present us with three qualified candidates and to urge Laurie Perry to make herself a candidate in the new selection process) was Unanimous.
Ms. Powers said she could no longer be Acting County Manager and asked the Commissioners to schedule a Special Meeting to deal with the issue. The meeting will be Tuesday, August 19 at 6:30 PM. Marie Allen, Chair of the Screening Committee would be asked to join the Commissioners at the meeting along with other Screening Committee members she invites. Commissioner Sawyer noted that Ms. Abbot presently had a full time job. Ms. Powers said that in January, Mr. Gilman had suggested Thomas Brew from Chatham as Interim Manager. He would work three days/week at a cost of $600/day and he was available.
Commissioner Jason thanked Ms. Perry.
Commissioner Jason Moved to Adjourn. Commissioner Strauss Seconded the Motion. The meeting Adjourned at 9:57 PM.
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO, JR., CLERK OF THE COURTS -