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County Commission Minutes 10/08/03

A regular meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was held Wednesday,
October 8, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. in the conference room of the County Administration Building, notice having been posted as required by law.

Commissioners Present: Robert Sawyer; Leslie Leland; John Alley, Chairman; & Roger Wey. 
Also Present:  E. Winn Davis, County Manager, Dianne Powers, Register of Deeds; Erin Leighton, Temporary Executive Assistant; Sheriff McCormack; Treasurer Noreen Flanders; Ezra Blair, MV Times; Alexis Tonti, Vineyard Gazette; Robert Culbert, Testing Lab Director.

Commissioners Absent: Leonard Jason, Jr.; Nelson W. Smith; Paul A. Strauss.

The Chairman opened the meeting at 7:33 p.m. Commissioner Leland MOVED that the Minutes of September 24, 2003 be Approved as written. Commissioner Sawyer Seconded the MOTION.  The Minutes were Approved Unanimously.

County Manager Report:  E. Winn Davis, County Manager, reported the negotiations of Hot Tin Roof will be settled soon, and that the lawsuit of Yates vs. Airport Commission does not name the County. Steve Berlucci, Engineer for the County, discussed the Charter School lights and school zone. Mr. Berlucci agrees there is work to be done but the request should be from the Board of Selectman not the Charter School. The West Tisbury Board of Selectman will determine whether the responsibility is public or private.

Chairman Alley reported that he wrote a Proclamation Saluting Jane Newhall on her ninetieth birthday, which he read to her at her October 4, 2003, birthday party.  

Goal Setting: As three commissioners were absent from the meeting, Commissioner Sawyer

proposed tabling the discussion of goal setting until all could be present.  Mr. Davis agreed,

but thought it is important start tonight and continue on ongoing basis.

Commissioner Strauss, unable to attend the meeting, sent along his comments; his first priority is a

budget planning schedule. Commissioner Leland’s goals are to generate additional income to cover

the yearly 2 ½ % increase and rise in health care. Also, Commissioners need to re-establish, or

establish, credibility with the community, he proposed initiating to do so through the development of

a code of ethics. Commissioner Alley’s goals include increasing public awareness of the role that

Dukes County can play in helping citizens, which is tied in with securing an additional source of

funding. He also agreed that the commissioners need to get their own house in order. Mr. Davis

added that cost containment should be addressed along with increasing revenues.

Commissioner Sawyer praised the actions of the commissioners and expressed concern that some

county citizens may have negative perceptions of the committee and its activities. He asked that this

situation be addressed. He considered priority to be, first and foremost, a new and substantial

source of ongoing revenue. If a new plan can provide more revenue for the county he would like to

develop tax relief initiatives for tax payers. A priority focus should be given to grant activities,

including; hiring a full-time grant writer. He spoke for a public focus on what the mission of the

County is. Commissioner Sawyer advocated the establishment of a personnel subcommittee,

composed exclusively of the commissioners and the county manager.  He further thought that the

subcommittee could be used to focus on the administrative code.  The budget process should be

expedited to enable public review and research, and consideration of priorities. He agrees with

Commissioner Leland on the development of a code of ethics/conduct.  

Commissioner Wey would like the budget process be timely, a settlement to the dispute between

county and airport personnel, and a five year plan, that projects the operating and capital budgets.

Sheriff McCormack discussed his hopes for replacing the aging jail facility in the next three to five


Noreen Marvo Flanders, treasurer, reported that she is currently effected by the postponement of

capital expense, that of replacing her eight year old computer system, which is ready to crash. She

liked the idea of examining the long-term plan of the budget, as a way to avoid some of the issues

that arose with last year’s budget process.

Mr. Davis summarized the evening’s thoughts from: short-term goals are the budget planning

schedule, cost containment, and the development of a code of ethics to reinforce (credibility). In the

long term the committee looks to increase revenue, and hire a grant writer. Consideration was given

to include grant writing in the executive assistant position.  

Correspondence: Sheriff McCormack reported that he received a letter with the findings of the

Department of Health Care’s annual inspection of the facility. The facility is improving under

difficult circumstances.  Commissioner Sawyer asked if the Airport Commission supports the

proposal to build on the airport property. Sheriff McCormack replied that they do.   

Commissioner Wey MOVED to Adjourn.  Commissioner Sawyer Seconded the MOTION. The

meeting Adjourned at 8:05 PM.


The County of Dukes County PO Box 190, Edgartown, MA 02539
Phone: 508.696.3840    Fax: 508.696.3841
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