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County Commission Minutes 01-11-2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 5:00 p.m.
County Administration Building

Call to Order
Chairman John Alley called the meeting to order at 5:03 p.m.  A quorum was present.  Commissioners Leonard Jason, Jr., Leslie Leland, Robert M. Sawyer, Nelson Smith, Paul Strauss, and Roger W. Wey were present.  County Manager E. Winn Davis and Deborah H. Potter, Executive Assistant were also present.  

Other representatives or visitors present included, Joanie Ames of MVTV; Jim Kinsella, Vineyard Gazette; Noreen Mavro Flanders, Dukes County Treasurer; Dianne Powers, Dukes County Register of Deeds; Sheriff Michael A. McCormack; Margaret Logue, Citizen; Lois Flynn, Citizen, Frank Daly, MVY Airport Commissioner; Ezra Blair, Martha's Vineyard Times; Kendra Read, Dukes County Health and Education Director; Dan Flynn, Citizen, Sean Flynn, MVY Airport Manager, Jesse Law, Chairman, MVY Airport Commission, Marc Hanover, Dukes County SSA Representative; and Chris Knowles, MVH.

Adoption of Minutes
·        Leslie Leland, moved and Robert M. Sawyer seconded that the Commissioners vote to accept the minutes of December 14, 2005, and SO VOTED (7-0-0.)

·       Leslie Leland moved and Robert M. Sawyer seconded that the Commissioners vote to accept the minutes of December 28, 2005, and SO VOTED (6-0-1.) with the following amendment and Nelson Smith abstaining.

Chairman’s Report and Communication:
Chairman Alley announced it was time for the annual reorganization of the Dukes County Commissioners.
·       Robert M. Sawyer moved and Paul Strauss seconded the motion to re-appoint John S. Alley Chairman of the Dukes County Commission and SO VOTED (6-0-1) with Chairman Alley abstaining.
·       John S. Alley moved and Nelson Smith seconded the motion to re-appoint Robert M. Sawyer Vice-Chairman of the Dukes County Commission and SO VOTED (6-0-1) with Vice-Chairman Sawyer abstaining

·       CY 2006 Interviews and Appointments:
Chairman Alley noted he would take care of the Associate Commissioner for Health Care Access as that was the Chair’s appointment.  The Commissioner’s decided to do all the appointments at one time and Mr. Alley began the process.

o       Dukes County Retirement Board Appointment:  Paul Strauss moved and Robert M. Sawyer seconded the motion to re-appoint Roger Wey and SO VOTED (6-0-1) with Mr. Wey abstaining.

o       Dukes County Emergency Management Director:  Robert M. Sawyer moved and Leonard Jason Jr. seconded the motion to re-appoint Chuck Cotnoir and SO VOTED (7-0-0).

o       Dukes County Associate Commissioner for Handicap Access:  Chairman Alley reappointed Anson Krickl and asked Mr. Krickl for an update.  Mr. Krickl noted that last year was busy with repeated phone calls to Boston for accurate information.  Mr. Krickl noted that he has worked with several businesses, the Vineyard Haven golf course, and various locations in Oak Bluffs to help improve handicap access.  The most obvious change this past year, he stated, was the changes in the sidewalks in Vineyard Haven and he credited Fred LaPiana and PNP Masonry for their efforts in making the building in the town accessible.  He stated that he continues to receive calls for help and is enjoying the work.  

The Commissioners briefly discussed whether the sequence of the agenda should be changed and the Commissioners decided to continue with the remaining appointments. Robert M. Sawyer took over as Chair since Mr. Alley is a candidate for re-appointment on the Airport Commission.  Mr. Davis then briefed the Commissioners there were 3 individuals up for reappointment and recommended discussing the candidates alphabetically.  Mr. Davis also recommended appointing Mr. Alley, as a holdover, to a two-year term to restore an equitable distribution of the commission and the other appointments would be three-year terms.

Prior to voting, Mr. Davis read a letter that he received today from TJ Hegarty, an Airport Commissioner.  

Dear Winn,
After careful deliberation I hereby resign from the Martha's Vineyard Airport Commission and also withdraw my application for re-appointment for another 3-year term.

Given the current commission it is impossible to carryout the ethical and moral care, custody, and management of the Airport and the Airport Business Park.  For the last 3 years I have:

        (1) Watched as 9 members of the business park were intentionally overcharged their rent (approximately $49,600.00) in direct violation of their legal leases.  This had been ongoing since 2002.  When this was first brought to the attention of current and past management it was summarily discounted.  At the beginning the commission was told it only affected 5 tenants.  It took over a year to get the real truth of the matter onto the table.  During that time during a public meeting that went into executive session the sitting chair and management suggested demanding new leases from the 9 tenants concerned in order to receive their monies back or credit toward future payments and lease renewals.  Tenants were finally offered credits toward there lease payments (Some tenants stopped paying all together.)  No explanation, apology, or interest was ever offered to the tenants intentionally over charged by the Airport Management.   You may hear for yourselves the tapes of these meetings where Bill Weibrecht and Sean Flynn admitted to the Airport Commission that they intentionally over billed these tenants without any justification just to satisfy the FAA.  Airport legal counsel Marcia Cini is on record as stating the overcharging was illegal.  This unethical and illegal behavior was covered up by the acting chair and other Commission members who did not want to bring any undue attention to Bill Weibrecht or Sean Flynn.  

(2)  The past can current management with the support of the acting chair had implemented a “do not speak to any Commissioner” policy especially to me to the employees of the Airport.  This is in direct violation of Mass General Law Chapter 149, Section 185.

(3)  The acting chair and management enacted a policy of pre-editing Commission minutes and waiting between 3 and 4 months before distributing them to the full commission for approval.

(4)  Lots voted to be put out to bid by the Airport Commission were ignored by management with the consent of the acting chair.  Sean Flynn stated at one meeting “I do what Jack Law tells me to do.”  This has resulted in the loss of approximately $10,000.00 in revenue for the airport over the last 8 months.  

(5)  These last few months have truly demonstrated the unethical back room shenanigans of a certain few who have nothing but contempt for the general laws of this Commonwealth and the County of Dukes County.  

Sean Flynn is as much a victim as is every resident of Martha's Vineyard.    

Mr. Jason asked how much more of the letter would they be listening to as this was supposed to be a resignation letter and many of the accusations could not be refuted and that was unfair.  Mr. Davis stopped reading the letter and noted that Mr. Hegarty’s resignation was effective immediately.  Mr. Sawyer then stated that each of the three candidates seeking re-appointment, John S. Alley, Jack Law, and Leslie Leland, would each be allowed, in alphabetical order, to make a statement.  Following their remarks, the meeting would be open to questions from anybody.  

o       Mr. Sawyer then began by offering Mr. Alley an opportunity to make his statement.  Mr. Alley noted he had been on the commission for years and endeavored to operate in the best interest of the airport and in the county. He cited from the recent past the effort to relocate the Jail on the airport master plan, preparing and approving the schedule for rental payments from the buildings leased by the county, working with Bill Mill to develop the agreement between the both Commissions.  He stated he continues to work in the best interest of the county and airport and would like to be reappointed.  Mr. Sawyer opened the floor for questions from commissioners first.  Leonard Jason Jr. asked how Mr. Alley saw his position as being on both commissions especially in light of the recent court case and did he see any conflict.  Mr. Alley stated he didn’t see any areas of conflict although there are potential problems or pitfalls.  Mr. Alley stated he believed that there should be county commissioners serving as airport commissioners and a law was passed to that effect.   Leonard Jason Jr. then asked Mr. Alley what he feels is the most important aspect, or key, of government service.  Mr. Alley stated the he feels that the people in office need to be straight forward with the public and to follow the rules.  He noted that if you don’t follow the rules you will end up in difficulty.  Nelson Smith asked Mr. Alley to briefly state where he would like the Airport to go within the next few years.  Mr. Alley stated the Airport Master Plan answers a lot of those questions and noted there was grant in place to help with the development of Fed-Ex and UPS hangers.  Expansion to the east will be helpful to everyone on the island.  Leonard Jason Jr. asked about the perceived attitude that if it is good for the airport it is good for us and did Mr. Alley feel that it was beneficial to Martha's Vineyard to have wall to wall airplanes.  Mr. Alley said no and Mr. Jason asked if Mr. Alley at what point was enough is enough.  Mr. Alley noted that the plan for a number of years for the expansion of the airport for business and corporate aircraft and not for wall to wall airplanes.  Mr. Alley noted he was not in favor of expanding the runways and noted the limitations of expansion in general.   However, the development of the business park has been instrumental in helping the entire community out as it became a home for unwanted businesses.  With no further questions Mr. Sawyer called for a motion to re-appoint Mr. Alley to a two-year term.  Paul Strauss moved and Roger W. Wey seconded the motion to SO VOTED (5-0-2) with Mr. Alley and Mr. Sawyer abstaining.

o       Mr. Sawyer then offered Jack Law the opportunity to make a statement.  Mr. Law stated that he was appointed three years ago and would like to continue with the commission.  He noted that shortly after being appointed on the commission he was elected as Chair.  At the request of a few commissioners, he invited MAC and FAA to the island to discuss option of jail on the airport.  He noted that the FAA refused to agree to put the Jail in the NE quadrant but had no objections to it being in the business park. He added that this was eventually approved and the Sheriff has 7 acres in the business park.  Mr. Law stated that he tried in executive session with the Dukes County commissioners to resolve the lawsuit situation without any success.  He noted they are still working on new leases, regular business, and still working with UPS and FedEx.  He added that the commission has also appointed a new Airport Manager and is in the process of appointing a new Assistant Manager and Administrative Assistant. He stated that it has been very busy and thinks that the commission has done a good job.  Mr. Sawyer asked for questions.   Leonard Jason Jr. inquired what Mr. Law felt was the most important aspect of government service was in building the bond of trust with the public.  Mr. Law replied openness and that with openness and communication people will trust you.  Leonard Jason Jr. asked how the semi-autonomous commission planned deal with keeping the public in the loop especially regarding the budget.  Mr. Law noted that the meetings were always open to the public and that the press was present during the discussions.  Leonard Jason Jr. asked if Mr. Law planned to go before the advisory board and Mr. Law stated absolutely.  Mr. Jason also asked what was Mr. Law’s vision for the future of the airport and did he feel that the airport should continue to expand.  Mr. Law noted that there is a limitation on the expansion of the airport but the demand will always be here especially from corporate aircraft and that the airport seemed pretty well built up.  With no further questions Robert M. Sawyer asked for a motion to reappoint Mr. Law to a three-year term.  Roger W. Wey moved and Leslie Leland seconded and during the discussion of the nomination Mr. Jason noted that he believed the most important part of public service is following the proper process and failure to follow process opens things up for problems therefore he could not support Mr. Law.  With no other comments the motion was SO VOTED (4-2-1) with Mr. Sawyer abstaining.

o       Leslie Leland:  Mr. Leland noted that two years ago, he was appointed to the airport commission to fill the vacancy of Nelson Smith.  He stated he has enjoyed serving and worked on numerous interesting projects.  He delineated several different aspects that he participating in: Business Park, development, routine maintenance, and other areas. Numerous items come forward to the board regularly that require evaluation and approval.  Mr. Leland noted he feels his 40 years of business experience and pilot status contribute to the position positively.   With no questions Robert M. Sawyer asked for a motion to reappoint Mr. Law to a three-year term.  Paul moved and Roger W. Wey seconded and during the discussion of the nomination Mr. Jason noted that for the same reasons he could not support Mr. Law, he can not support Mr. Leland.  With no other comments the motion was SO VOTED (4-2-1) with Mr. Sawyer abstaining.

o       Robert M. Sawyer then noted that the application for the open seat and the commissioners agreed to reopen the search.  Mr. Sawyer noted that normally the current appointee would remain in a holdover status until a new appointment was made; however, since this was a resignation, the seat was open.  Mr. Jason noted that the resignation of Mr. Hegarty had not been accepted yet.  Nelson Smith moved and Paul Strauss seconded the motion to accept the resignation of T.J. Hegarty from the Airport Commission and SO VOTED (6-0-1) with Mr. Sawyer abstaining. (??)  The deadline of February 1 was discussed for an appointment of Feb 8.  A date of Monday, Feb 6 was subsequently agreed upon.  Mr. Sawyer returned the chair to Mr. Alley.

Marc Hanover, SSA Representative:  
Mr. Hanover noted that things are going well.  The progress on the Island Home is on schedule. Due to a variety of factors relating to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the shipyard is working at 75% of capacity but they hope to be at 100% shortly.  The hull of the ship is in the process of being welded and the confirmed new engines and generators are there.  As far as business, Mr. Hanover noted, this is the third year in a row that where passengers are down 3.1% and the SSA is off about $2,000,000 in revenue.  He added that auto traffic was down 1.5% and trucks are up again 12%.  He noted this seems to be following a three year trend.  Mr. Hanover noted that he is also attempting to improve the web page which is not so user friendly.  Mr. Hanover stated he is soliciting the help of Mark Snider on this project.  He stated the changes will try to make the site more friendly and easy to use while also trying to encourage more foot traffic and less vehicle traffic.  He also reported that it would be about 3 years before anything can start on Oak Bluffs project but right now it is on track with the permitting process.  Mr. Hanover noted that the project was brought before the Oak Bluffs Commission and the Oak Bluffs Selectmen and both have approved the project.    He advised that he is trying to improve efficiency issues such as general operations, payroll, and solving contract issues.  The greatest challenge, he anticipates for the new year, is bringing the Island Home on line.  The problem, he noted, is the entire schedule is predicated on the Islander which takes 45 minutes for each trip.  The Island Home can do the entire round trip in one hour and improve overall efficiency allowing for eight trips per day instead of seven.  Conversely, he noted, that they are trying to create some savings by slowing the boats down to save fuel.  So the problem becomes working out all the details to maximize efficiency.  Between the Island Home and the widening of the freight boats, they can increase capacity by 70%.  Therefore, he stated, scheduling for 07 will be crucial.  John Alley asked if they knew where the capacity was lost.  Mr. Hanover stated all ferry lines were down except for the New Bedford fast ferry.  Mr. Hanover reminded the commissioners that he had supported the SSA running that line; however, the union wanted a crew of seven, the SSA wanted a crew of 5, and the private company runs it with a crew of three.   Leslie Leland asked about the lines given out to the other carriers where the fee per passenger is different between the companies.  Mr. Hanover responded that each line is allowed to carry 40 passengers without notifying the SSA while the Hy-line is grandfathered up to a 100,000 passengers and these factors, along with other reasons, are worked into the calculation.  Mr. Hanover advised he is researching the practice to make sure it is equitable in the future if it for some reason is not equitable now.   

Mr. Sawyer asked Mr. Hanover to clarify the 40 passenger rule regarding payment to the SSA.  Mr. Hanover noted that no payment was required for carrying 40 passengers or less regardless of capacity and that this was another problem area as some of the boat lines were asking for licenses of less than 40 but building boats with a greater capacity.  These companies then come back to the SSA and ask to increase their license capacity at a later date.  Mr. Hanover noted that, for example, The Ranger does not carry more than 40 passengers so they do not pay any fees to the SSA.  Mr. Sawyer complimented Mr. Hanover on his efforts to completely analyze the business aspects of the companies requesting service lines; yet, he also questioned whether it was time for the SSA to engage an outside study regarding changes in capacity to help with future planning.  Mr. Sawyer also asked if they were getting any negative feedback on website and Mr. Hanover said no but that he tried to use it and got stuck.  Mr. Hanover noted the improvements in the websites would be in effect by the end of March.  Mr. Sawyer then asked about the status of the Flying Cloud.  Mr. Hanover responded that the Flying Cloud is actually in the yard now being fitted with new caterpillar engines.  The engine manufacturer of the current engine agreed to take them back to avoid any liability issues.  Mr. Hanover expects to have a good season with it this year and then the SSA will probably try to sell it.  

Then Robert M. Sawyer asked about the contract with MVEA and have there been any improvements in the negotiations.  Mr. Hanover stated that he could not discuss any particulars but that management is doing their best to come to an agreement.  Mr. Leonard Jason Jr. asked how the SSA could account for the 12% increase in truck traffic.  Mr. Hanover stated that he believes it is due to more construction and more year round residents.  He also noted that this was the first year that excursion trips leveled off.  Mr. Jason asked if there was a change in the classification of a truck and Mr. Hanover noted that was done two years ago.  Mr. Sawyer expressed concern that there has been a downward trend for eight years and Mr. Hanover stated that it was only been since 2001 as this was the SSA’s peak year.  Leonard Jason Jr. asked how the commission can help regarding how to best use of the new boat and Mr. Hanover replied to give it some thought as to the overall level of service.  He noted that business owners want to run the boat but that might not be in the overall best interest of the island.  Mr. Alley suggested picking up all the standbys.  Mr. Hanover noted that it was a delicate balancing act because from the business standpoint you want to promote business and as much traffic as possible; however, the charter states to the SSA is supposed to meet the demand not necessarily to encourage it.  Leonard Jason Jr. noted that the SSA operation was an ongoing issue and suggested a series of open meetings to discuss the options.  Mr. Wey agreed that this was a good idea.  Mr. Robert M. Sawyer noted that there is a critical line here as that the community as a whole is not interested in bringing more and more people over and he felt that having the figures for the SSA’s share of the market for the past five or six years would be helpful.  Mr. Sawyer believes that the SSA’s market share is declining and that is a significant trend; however, Mr. Hanover believes that the share is remaining level but stated he would get the numbers as requested.   Nelson Smith asked about rates and are there any projections for the future.  Mr. Hanover noted that there was just an increase of $5 and he has received no complaints especially since there has been no rate increase in four years.  Paul Strauss stated that ascertaining how the SSA was doing, how it was projected to do, and the market forces affecting the SSA could best be addressed by an outside agency.  Mr. Strauss noted that having a series of public meetings may not address the issues while having a company whose business is to investigate these kinds of data related issues could be more productive.  Mr. Hanover noted that he is sending out a questionnaire via the mail to all the SSA customers.  Mr. Strauss suggested contacting some of these companies anyway to determine what they thought were the elements of a forward planning activity: questionnaires, meetings, surveys or other means and have an outside agency direct the process by which we determine how to proceed.  Nelson Smith then asked about staffing as that it seems that no one every leaves the SSA and wondered how their pension liability looked in the future.  Mr. Hanover stated that it was well covered and they were very conservative.  Mr. Robert M. Sawyer once again noted that he really liked Paul Strauss’ earlier suggestion to engage a rate/demand structure where you pay more for peak periods.  Mr. Hanover said that was one idea they were considering but was also concerned about the impact on island residents who also needed to travel during these “peak period” times.  Mr. Paul Strauss suggested checking with the Rhode Island - Block Island ferry who used a variable pricing structure.  Mr. Hanover stated he would look into it.  

Kendra Read, Health and Environment Director:
Ms. Read provided an update on her department and her activities.  She noted she is still contracted out in part to the Wampanoag Tribe and the lab.  She shuttles samples to the lab and then analyzes them as they come in.  She is working on two projects: analyzing rainwater for trends and testing water quality along Menemsha Pond.  Mr. Sawyer asked if any other agencies were providing water testing on the island and Ms. Read replied she believed that the Tribe had the only facility on island.  Mr. Sawyer noted that with some marketing the service could be more profitable.  She noted that she is also working with Dr. Klein to establish a health data base for the residents and they have launched health information on the Associate Commissioner for Health Care Access webpage on the county’s website.  They will be adding local issues as the seasons change.  She is also coordinating with Dr. Klein to host a two day Lyme disease symposium in early May to increase Lyme disease awareness.  Mr. Davis noted that this was the result of a $10,000 dollar grant Dr. Klein and Ms. Read had arranged.

Chris Knowles, MVH:  
Mr. Knowles advised the Commissioners that the last time he was here, it was to share a three page report on the originally proposal of the MVH to the Department of Health (DOH) regarding determination of need application to construct and renovate the hospital.  He noted that the original proposal has now increased to a six-page document due to a couple of reasons.  He stated that in addition to the original needs areas specified, the DOH required the addition of an Emerging Needs and New Initiatives category, which could cover areas such as bio-terrorism or avian flu for example, to provide seed money, in the amount of $20,000 per year, to help agencies in these areas as needed.  He noted that it will not go unspent and if it is not needed in this area, it will be re-directed to one of the other areas as needed.

The second part of the expansion of the document included the defining of the process of how the funds are expended to ensure that the process by which the funds are spent are transparent.  The one relating to Preventive Care relates to how the BOH’s contract for services such as Public Health Nursing, Flu Clinics, Monthly Blood Pressure Clinics, etc. and the fiscal gap therein.  Despite the increase effectiveness of the providers and the town’s recognition of the importance of providing the services a significant gap still exists.  Mr. Knowles noted that bridging this gap for the next five years, until a permanent solution can be found, is the purpose of this one section of funding.  This process is done by legal announcements and solicitations by the BOH’s.  In the area of Behavioral Health and the other areas, the process will require the hospital to issue RFP’s to providers for desired services such as substance abuse, counseling, emergency services, etc.   He is meeting with the Behavioral Subcommittee of the DCHC as well as a few other individuals and organization to help develop a transparent scoring grid on these RFP’s.    

Mr. Knowles reported that the Office of the Determination of Need met with the Public Health Council and Representative Turkington spoke on behalf of the hospital at this meeting.  After the presentation by the hospital staff, the Public Health Council voted unanimously to approve the plan and enable the hospital within the next two years to begin with the renovation of the hospital.  Mr. Knowles noted that although there is still a substantial amount of money to be raised; however, they are hopeful and confident belief that the money can be raised without having to borrow any money.  

Roger W. Wey asked about the preventive care section of the proposal and asked Mr. Knowles to explain how the $110,000 of this part of the plan was going to be distributed.  Mr. Knowles advised that the there are two nursing providers who are asked each year to provide bids for services to the BOH’s.  He added that the BOH’s evaluate the proposals and make the award of the contract.  He continued that if all of the BOH’s select one agency and there is a clear and defined shortfall between the services provided and the amounts available from the town the idea is that the shortfall will be subsidized by this fund.  The decreasing amount over the 5-year period is to encourage efficiency by the providers and to also wean the towns off of the subsidy.  VNS and MVCS are working on looking at how to collaborate; however, the overall idea is not to encourage dysfunction or subsidize inefficiency in either organization or both.  Roger W. Wey asked if it was the intention was to increase services.  Mr. Knowles reiterated that the towns only pay 51 cents per $1 of services provided with the MVCS paying the other 49 cents.  The purpose of this funding is to continue providing current services while reducing the fiscal gap either through more funding from the towns, through increased efficiency, or a combination of both.  Roger W. Wey then noted about the program at the Oak Bluffs senior center and that Emily does a great job.  Mr. Wey noted that the idea of bringing people to the site works very well.

John Alley then asked Mr. Knowles as our representative to the Cape Light Compact to give a brief discussion on why the rate is increasing substantially. Mr. Knowles responded that part of the problem is that as petroleum prices increase so does the cost of producing electricity.  There has also been a move by Nstar to hike prices and Maggie Downey of the Cape Light Compact filed papers with the State to enjoin NStar and ensure that they were hearings before the rate increase went into effect.  Leonard Jason Jr. asked if it was possible to keep everyone informed and perhaps add this to our website.  Mr. Knowles suggested having a Cape Light Compact link to the county website so that people can remain informed.  

County Manager’s Report:
·       Dukes County SAR:  The Dukes County SAR is regrettably putting themselves in an “out of service” status due to a lack of personnel who are sufficiently trained. The reasoning behind this is that they do not want to imply this service is available when in fact they do not have an adequate number of available and trained volunteers.   He noted that variety of options being discussed on how to improve involvement including possible stipends, uniforms, paying for equipment, etc and that a shortage of volunteers was becoming a common problem.  Mr. Sawyer stated that the shortcut to solving this unfortunate situation is basically money and noted that this would be a wonderful area, especially from the Department of Homeland Security, to soliciting grants for.  Leonard Jason Jr. asked if there was a certification that runs out and Mr. Davis stated that no; however, Karen Ogden won’t take anyone out on a search if they are not current with their training.  Leslie Leland noted that an underlying problem is the availability of people as island demographics are changing.

·       Mass Highway:  Mr. Davis noted that he did talk to the State about the possibility of leasing part of State Road regarding the possibility of charging parking fees and they did not approve or disapprove the idea.  He noted that the property would first have to be declared as temporary surplus, then the county would have to go through a variety of environmental restrictions, an approval from the Federal Highway Administration may also be required, and a plan of land showing the land wanted will be required.  He noted that the process will not be easy and not possible for this year but it will be pursued.  

·       FAA Funds:  Ms. Flanders and Mr. Davis have been in contact with the lawyers at Palmer and Dodge.  Patty DeAngelis, the lawyer from Palmer and Dodge, has some new questions regarding cost allocation and rent and the responses should be available soon.  Mr. Jason asked why she had the right to ask these questions and Mr. Sawyer asked who was paying her to do so.  Mr. Davis responded the airport was and originally the proposal was crafted by Mr. Flynn, Mr. Davis, and the commissioners for review to ensure it was persuasive.  Mr. Jason asked who needed to be persuaded and Mr. Davis replied the FAA whereas Mr. Jason responded the FAA has already agreed to the payment and they are just waiting for the paperwork to release the money.  Mr. Jason asked if anyone has talked to the FAA directly recently and Mr. Davis said he would contact Donna Witty again.  Mr. Robert M. Sawyer questioned the validity of the legal fees to research something that was already resolved.

·       PHC.  Mr. Davis noted that Dr. Klein has been working with a sub-committee to work with Public Health issues on behalf of the commissioners.  She is now seeking formalization of the committee to continue their work and membership would be comprised of the Associate Commissioner for Health Care Access, a representative from the MVH, a representative of a town’s Health Agent, a representative from MVCS, and the Dukes County Emergency Management Director.  Mr. Davis advised that Dr. Klein, as the Associate Commissioner, would add advisory or associate members as needed.   He continued by saying that the purpose of the committee, as identified in the mission statement, was to support existing public health services and to work collaboratively with community coalitions to ensure that a vibrant, efficient, and effective county wide public health system is well-established.  Leonard Jason Jr. moved and Leslie Leland seconded the motion to approve the establishment of the Public Health Committee to be chaired by Dr. Klein.    Mr. Sawyer asked if the Associate Commissioner for Handicapped Access should be included.  Mr. Leonard Jason Jr. noted that he feels that Dr. Klein has asked for this and the Commission should support it as recommended.  Mr. Leland noted that Dr. Klein can appoint other members as needed so if the input from the Associate Commissioner for Handicapped Access was needed it could still be included.  Dianne Powers recommended that the motion to establish the committee delete the specific names of the individuals so that any future change of the committee does not require returning to the commissioners for approval.  Therefore be it Resolved by the Commissioners of the county of Dukes county the motion as amended to delete specific names was SO VOTED (7-0-0). Leonard Jason Jr. moved and Paul Strauss seconded the motion to appoint the recommended individuals as proposed to the Public Health Committee and SO VOTED (7-0-0).

·       Personnel Committee: Mr. Davis is requesting the creation of a personnel committee to assist in the reviewing and recommending of changes to Personnel issues.  He stated it would be comprised of an elected official, a department head, and a non-union county employee.  The responsibilities would include regular reviews of classification plan, changes in classification plan, changes in by-laws and other areas.  Mr. Sawyer noted that this has been an ongoing issue and added that a County Commissioner should be included.  Mr. Davis stated he feels it would be a mistake to restrict the elected position to only a Commissioner as there are other elected officials that have valuable insight into personnel issues.  Mr. Jason also noted that the County commissioners are the final reviewing authority for grievances and that may be intimidating to some employees.  Mr. Jason thought the existing committee worked well and Mr. Davis noted that the committee is informal and this action formalizes the committee. Leonard Jason Jr. moved and Leslie Leland seconded the motion to formalize the Personnel Committee as recommended was SO VOTED (7-0-0).

·       Trustees of Reservations:  Mr. Davis then advised the commissioners on the ongoing discussing regarding cooperative efforts between the two groups especially regarding Norton Points Beach.  The Trustees of Reservations would like to manage Norton Point Beach and Mr. Davis, along with the Sheriff as the Beach Manager, are considering the possibilities as they Trustees are will to make several positive improvements. The Trustees are willing to put up a guard house, move the existing road to a better location to make it more accessible, make investments in budget operation such as hiring monitor birds, etc.  Mr. Davis noted that the Trustees request requires no cash investment from the County but the County would probably have to give up the revenue from Norton Point.  He added that there may be an initial shortfall but overall the situation could actually save the county money.  The Trustees have also offered to provide supervisors for Bird Monitors on State Beach.

He noted that there has been no progress beyond general discussion and would not be a long term binding agreement.  He also advised that if this agreement were pursued, the fee for county residents over sand stickers must remain under the control of the County Commissioners.  Sheriff McCormack added that the goal is to ensure that the beach is available for recreational purposes to the citizens of the island as much as possible.  The Sheriff also noted that this is not turning over the beach but a collaborative effort between the two groups.  Nelson Smith added that he would like to see the idea go out for public comment before any final decision was made.  John Alley added that this has been discussed several times in the past and he wants to see a clearly identified split of profits prior to entering into any agreement. He also suggested that perhaps a small lease fee would be appropriate.  Leonard Jason Jr. noted that if there is a lease a public bid will be required.  Paul Strauss would like to require a management plan from the TTOR regarding how they intend to manage the beach.  After some additional discussion regarding the potential of a lease, the idea was dropped and the emphasis for a clear division of the “profits” would need to be identified in the management agreement.

·       Other updates:  Mr. Davis reminded the Commissioners that the next meeting regarding the FY07 budget was on January 22 and the next county/town meeting will be on Monday, January 30, in Edgartown.  Mr. Davis also mentioned that at the last Department head meeting, Mr. Berlucchi suggested discussing with Edgartown about leasing space for archives or purchasing the archival storage with Edgartown to reduce each groups overall cost.  Mr. Davis also reported that there was a meeting with some of the Highways Superintendents and there was some discussion regarding the Joint Transportation TIP money.  There is a need for more Engineering services as some of the TIP work not being accomplished due to reduced engineering hours.   A meeting next week to work on some of these issues is being scheduled.  

·       Executive Session recommended:  Mr. Davis recommended going into Executive Session under section 3 to discuss strategy regarding litigation.

Prior to entering executive session, Mr. Kinsella asked Mr. Jason why he opposed the reappointed of Mr. Law and Mr. Leland citing concerns over process.  Mr. Jason replied he was concerned by the fact that they spent over $14,000 of taxpayer money to set up a process and a criteria and then they didn’t follow them.  He noted he doesn’t tell his employees how to do a job but he does expect them to follow established processes because without process you have chaos.  Mr. Kinsella then asked Mr. Alley the same question and Mr. Alley responded he opposed the re-appointments primarily for the same reasons.  
Mr. Kinsella asked Mr. Smith why he voted to reappoint Mr. Leland and Mr. Law.  Mr. Smith said he felt they both have been good public servants although he did not agree with every thing they have done.   Mr. Kinsella asked to what extent did the setting aside of the agreement concerning the hiring and pay of the airport manager concern him as a county commissioner.  Mr. Smith noted it did concern him as he believed there was a good faith agreement in place and he is not sure that the legal opinion abrogates the agreement between the two entities.  Mr. Kinsella asked Mr. Wey why he voted to reappoint Mr. Leland and Mr. Law as airport commissioners.  Mr. Wey responded that he felt they did a good job and he disagreed with some of their decisions but he still felt they did a good job.  Mr. Kinsella then asked Mr. Wey to what extent did the setting aside of the agreement concerning the hiring and pay of the airport manager concern him as a county commissioner.  Mr. Wey stated that a lot of things concern him and it was their decision to set it aside.  Mr. Kinsella then asked Mr. Strauss why he voted to reappoint Mr. Leland and Mr. Law to the airport commission.  Mr. Strauss stated on balance he felt both were honorable people capable of doing a good job as airport commissioner.   Mr. Kinsella then asked Mr. Strauss to what extent did the setting aside of the agreement concerning the hiring and pay of the airport manager concern him as a county commissioner.  Mr. Strauss advised he was not highly concerned with that issue as it was not yet over.  Mr. Jason asked if the airport commission voted to reconsider their position to put aside the agreement.  Mr. Alley advised that they did not vote to rescind the agreement between the airport commission and the county commission; however, they were told that the court stated they could not follow the agreement.  Ms. Flanders stated she could not hear the answer and Mr. Alley restated that the judge in his ruling stated that the airport commission could not follow this agreement that had been made between the two parties.  Mr. Alley stated he did not believe that is what the decision had actually said and Ms. Flanders asked who told the airport commissioners this information.  Mr. Leland advised that the ruling came about after the agreement and the choice was there for the airport commission to offer a contract.  Mr. Jason stated that he believed that the new airport manager, whoever that was, was going to be a county employee.  Mr. Smith added this was not part of the lawsuit.  Mr. Alley noted that they were also told it was only supposed to be a stop gap measure and Mr. Alley did not agree that was what had been agreed to by vote.  Mr. Davis then added the judges decision that the airport commission had the right to hire and set salary but it did not impose upon the airport commission an obligation to do it in any specific way-they had the right to do it in any way they wanted; however, it did not require them to vary from their agreement with the county commissioners but they did.  Mr. Sawyer asked in what capacity did they vary from the agreement.  Mr. Davis advised they did not put the new airport manager on the county classification schedule and did not treat him as a county employee.   At this point, Mr. Strauss advised Mr. Kinsella that he was now more concerned about the issue.  Mr. Kinsella asked if the County Commissioners intended to discuss this further in executive session.  Mr. Alley responded that the purpose of the executive session was to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining and litigation.  

Executive Session:  John Alley said he would entertain a motion to go into executive session with no return to public session and Mr. Davis noted that the executive session should include the Treasurer as she was a party.  The roll call vote was as follows:

Robert M. Sawyer                Aye
Roger W. Wey            Aye
Leonard Jason Jr.               Aye
Nelson Smith                    Aye
Paul Strauss                    Aye
Leslie Leland                   Aye
and John S. Alley               Aye     

The public meeting was adjourned.  

·       The Martha's Vineyard Airport Commission meets Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5 p.m. at the General Aviation Building
·       The Dukes County Commission meets with the CAB on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 5 p.m.
·       The DCHC meets Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006 at 7:30 a.m. in West Tisbury P
·       The next County/Town Meeting is in Edgartown on Monday, Jan 30, 2006
·       The Steamship Authority meets Tuesday, Feb.7, 2006 in Woods Hole

Respectfully Submitted by:

JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts3232006_35424_0.bmp

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