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County Commission Minutes 03-22-2006

Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, March 22, 2006, at 5:00 p.m.
County Administration Building

Call to order
Chairman John Alley called the meeting to order at 5:02 p.m.  A quorum was present.  Commissioners Roger Wey, Leonard Jason Jr., Paul Strauss, and Leslie Leland 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, Woody Williams, Vineyard Haven resident; Phyllis Williams, Vineyard Haven resident, Sheriff Michael McCormack, Dukes County Sheriff; Jim Kinsella, Vineyard Gazette; and Tad Crawford, West Tisbury resident.  

Adoption of Minutes:   

The minutes of the February 8 and 22 meetings were deferred due to a lack of a quorum of commissioners present at the meeting.

Leonard Jason Jr. moved and Roger Wey seconded the motion to adopt the minutes of the March 1, 2006 meeting and SO MOVED (4-0-1) with Paul Strauss abstaining.

Leonard Jason Jr. moved and Roger Wey seconded the motion to adopt the minutes of the March 8, 2006 meeting and SO MOVED (4-0-1) with Paul Strauss abstaining.

County Manager’s Report:

q       Ethics Filings:  Mr. Davis reminded all elected officials that they had to file their State Ethics statements by the end of May.  

q       Advisory Board Public Hearing:  Mr. Davis noted that the Advisory Board public hearing on the FY07 Budget is on April 12, 2006 at 7 p.m.

q        FAA Meeting and DCC meeting change:  Mr. Davis reported that the meeting he attended with Sean Flynn last week went well and was friendly and cooperative.  He noted the meeting was with Donna Witte and Laverne Reid of the FAA and they discussed in detail the way the county earns revenue, limitations on the county, changes in the Airport Commission, parity on interest rates between charges to the county and the FAA, equal periods of recovery, and a few other areas.  He stated they have 60 days to respond which will allow the new airport commissioners to be briefed on the developments before they continue.   Mr. Davis also noted he wanted to change the next meeting from April 12 to April 19th to jointly meet with the new Airport Commission.

q       Cape Light Compact:  Mr. Davis also reported that the Cape light Compact negotiated a new rate and starting in April the rate will be reduced from 9.9 cents per kwh from 13.37 cents per kwh.  He noted this rate would be in effect through the rest of this year before a new rate is negotiated.  

q       Substance Abuse Grant: In your packet you will find some letters signed by Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, and Congressman Delahunt indicating their support of last years Substance Abuse Grant for Young Adults in a Rural Environment that will be resubmitted.

q       MVH partial funding of VHCAP:  Mr. Davis reported that as a result of a meeting with Mr. Walsh of the MVH, the hospital is committing funds to the county to replace almost all of the funding the VHCAP is losing as a result of the ending of a grant.  He noted the details are still pending but this additional support should enable VHCAP to keep its staff until the end of the year.

q       Website Survey:  Mr. Davis noted that the County’s Website has a new feature of providing survey’s on the website that has been used to date by the ACHCA.  We can create as many surveys for a variety of purposes as time permits.

q       Housing Meeting:  Mr. Davis advised that he participated in a meeting with Neva Flaherty of Congressman Delahunt’s office, David Vigneault of the DCRHA, and a representative from the Bridge Housing Group to discuss various items relating to housing.  Mr. Davis noted this is the second meeting of the groups and hopes to schedule these meetings on a regular basis to exchange information between the groups.  Mr. Jason asked if Mr. Davis has approached the DCRHA to see that if we cannot give funds directly could we provide other support. Mr. Davis stated that it has been discussed with the county treasurer and they expect to discuss this with the DCRHA soon as well as other groups that may benefit from a regional service.  Mr. Jason asked if offer of services can be made to Aquinnah regarding their DOR report and Mr. Davis noted that he had already made overtures to Aquinnah, in the past, to discuss the possibilities of providing the services on either a short term or permanent basis.  

Mr. Kinsella asked Mr. Davis whom the offer was made to in Aquinnah and Mr. Davis replied it was made to the Executive Secretary.  Mr. Kinsella asked Mr. Davis to restate the Cape Light Compact rate change and Mr. Davis responded it was 13.37 going down to 9.9.  Mr. Kinsella asked when Mr. Davis received this information and Mr. Davis replied today.  Mr. Kinsella also asked what the shortfall in the VHCAP was and how much did Mr. Davis expect to make up through the hospital grant.  Mr. Davis replied that he hoped to get 90% of what was lost in grants and the amount was $40,000.

Chairman’s Report and Communication:  
Mr. Alley noted that there would be an informational seminar for candidates seeking office tomorrow at 5 pm at the Katherine Cornell Theater in Tisbury.  

Updates:  Roger W. Wey noted that Senior Day program is run through Edgartown and the Island Council on Aging, however, when the YMCA is built, they will be moving to that location.  He noted that he spoke to Leslie Clapp and she would like to come and speak to the County to see if the county can help provide financial services to the group.  Mr. Wey noted that the Senior Day program is fully funded but Ms. Clapp would like to consider the possibility of having her employees handled through the county system to make things simpler.  

New Business:

Treasurer’s request to sign note:  Noreen Mavro Flanders requested the signatures of the Commissioners on an $800,000 note that is being renewed on behalf of the airport.  The project will be completed during the spring but the final section of the grant money comes from the Federal government and is not available until FY07 when the project is completed.

While the note was being signed Leslie Leland asked Mr. Davis when the commissioners indicated to him that they were considering rescinding the appointments.  Mr. Davis replied they did not discuss it with him but that Mr. Alley had received the calls and he subsequently asked Mr. Davis to schedule the special meeting.  

Appointments to the Airport Commission:

In package there is a letter with an opinion from the State Ethics Commission regarding the individuals available for appointment.

Mr. Davis noted that the State Ethics commission responded very quickly to our requests and advised that Mr. Coskie, Ms. Teixeira, and Mr. Craig are clear of any ethics conflicts and Mr. Condon has some minor conflicts but may still be appointed.  Mr. Ogilvie has a conflict that by state law precludes him from being appointed.  Mr. Davis stated that now that we are in receipt of the State Ethics opinion, he prepared a slate of candidates for the various terms, filled in alphabetically, and he is recommending that the following appointments be made:

Nominated Party
Term Length
To Expire:
Fred M. Condon
T. J. Hegarty
31 Dec. 2008
James S. Craig
Jack Law
31 Dec. 2008
Constance R.  Teixeira
Les Leland
31 Dec. 2008
John W. Coskie
Frank Daly
31 Dec. 2007

Leonard Jason Jr. moved and Roger Wey seconded to accept the slate of candidates for appointment to the Airport Commission as presented.  
Mr. Leland stated that he still thinks it is prudent to wait on two of the 3-year terms until the District Attorney completes his investigation.  Mr. Leland suggested that only three be appointed and the other two slots be left open pending the District Attorneys investigation.  With no further discussion from the Commissioners the motion was SO VOTED (4-1-0) with Les Leland opposing.    

Mr. Alley noted that there is still one opening on the board.  Mr. Davis provided the commissioners with a list of remaining candidates including Gildea, Hefler, Hegarty, Honey, and MacLaren.  Mr. Davis noted that he spoke to Mr. Gildea, Mr. Hefler, and Mr. Honey today and all were still interested in serving. Mr. Davis advised that Mr. Hegarty is still interested and that Mr. MacLaren was off-island on a two-week reservist duty period but has recently accepted a position with the Tribe as the Health Director and an appointment to the DCHC.  Mr. Alley asked if the last seat should be filled from the remaining pool or re-advertise.  Leonard Jason Jr. stated the commissioner should go back to the existing pool.  Roger W. Wey agreed, as did Paul Strauss.  Mr. Wey suggested that each commissioner mark one candidate.  Mr. Davis stated that if any candidate did not receive four votes the list would be pared down to two people for a final selection.  

Mr. Davis collected the ballots and noted that there were 3 votes for Mr. Gildea, 1 vote for Mr. MacLaren and one blank ballot.  Mr. Alley called for a vote between Mr. Gildea and Mr. MacLaren and Mr. Gildea was SO VOTED for the one-year appointment (4-0-1) with Leslie Leland abstaining.  

Mr. Davis noted that he would send a letter to State Ethics for Mr. Gildea as well.  

Woody Williams asked if Mr. Davis had received any further information from the DA since the last request.  Mr. Davis replied no.  Mr. Williams stated that he felt there were two serious situations, the violation of the open meeting law and Mr. Leland’s situation, and asked what will happen if the District Attorney does not agree with the posting of the special meeting.  

Mr. Davis noted that the meeting had been posted in accordance with MGL Chapter 34.  Mr. Williams asked about Mr. Leland’s complaint and Mr. Davis noted that the only issue he is aware of is the posting of the meeting.  Mr. Leland asked again why the appointment letters were not made available and Mr. Davis replied that Mr. Leland had not asked for his letter and that the letter was unavailable since he was away that day.  Mr. Jason asked Mr. Leland if he had personally asked for his letter and Mr. Leland said no because Mr. Law had told him they could not be available until later.  

Mr. Kinsella asked what was the final vote on the first slate of appointments and Mr. Davis replied 4-1-0 with Mr. Leland opposing.

Old Business:  

FY07 Budget:  Mr. Alley noted that at the last meeting of the Advisory Board, they approved the FY07 draft budget and the cover sheet presented shows the recommended changes.  Mr. Davis noted that the advisory board worked very diligently with the county to resolve several issues especially regarding how certain aspects of the revenue will be generated.  

Mr. Leland again noted that he some reservations about certain line items, including reducing legal expenses, was not a good idea with the ongoing legal issues.  Mr. Davis explained that this amount of money was consistent with legal budgets prior to the lawsuit.  He added that the County has agreed not to spend any additional money on the suit unless the Advisory Board and Commissioners agree that it is the best course of action to pursue.  Mr. Leland wondered if there were other legal issues that needed to consideration including the current contract with Mr. Sean Flynn.  Mr. Davis noted that as of right now no action has been taken and that he and Mr. Flynn had been working together to resolve the matter.

Mr. Leland asked about the 2% COLA and when it would be available.  Mr. Davis noted that he advised the Advisory Board that he believed the funds would be available by mid FY07; however, as a result of the recent FAA meeting, it could be even sooner.  The discussion now is regarding parity in the charging of interest.  Mr. Davis explained that there would be about $160,000 dollars available of which $40,000 would be used for back rent leaving $120,000 and then $40,000 of this would be used to partially fund the COLA.

Mr. Leland also noted that Rodent Control Department has never met its revenue goals but we were relying on increasing the revenue for the department.  Mr. Jason noted that we are going to start charging people that we have never charged before.  

Leonard Jason Jr. moved and Roger Wey seconded the motion to adopt the budget for FY07 as presented and SO VOTED (5-0-0).  

Correspondence and Public Comment:  Woody Williams asked how the Charter Commission was progressing.  Mr. Davis noted that all the information has been received by the State but now we are waiting for further information on how to run for the positions so that we can post it.

Mr. Williams asked again about the executive session minutes and Mr. Davis replied that we were still working on making sure that they were all approved and appropriate for release before they were posted.

Mr. Williams asked how  $40,000 for the VHCAP got lost and Mr. Davis explained that the grant the VHCAP received had run out and that is why they are losing that revenue.

Mr. Kinsella asked several questions about Sean Flynn’s contract.  Mr. Davis recommended that these questions would be better directed to the Airport Commission and Mr. Flynn.  Mr. Kinsella noted that ultimately this comes back to the County and repeated his request.  Mr. Kinsella stated that if the county is not recognizing Sean Flynn’s contract how is he being paid.  Mr. Davis advised that the county is paying Mr. Flynn in accordance with the agreement as struck by the commissions last July that puts him on the county pay scale closest to the amount negotiated. Mr. Davis noted that the difference amounts to about a dollar a day.  

Mr. Kinsella asked about the length of the contract and Mr. Davis advised that once someone is a county employee, there is every expectation they will be an employee for their career and not be limited to a five-year period.  In addition, he noted, the county’s step increase is 2% per step with COLAs as they are available; however, the contract calls for a 5% increase per year which does not conform to our by-laws so we will not be able to fund it that way.  

Mr. Kinsella asked about the severance agreement in the contract and Mr. Davis noted it is the biggest difference between the contract and the county.  Mr. Davis explained that it calls for a year’s salary for termination without cause and that is not county policy to terminate people unless there is just cause so the issue is really moot.  Mr. Kinsella asked if the county had received any notice from Mr. Flynn’s lawyer regarding this contract issue.  Mr. Davis noted that the County has received no notice but he believed that Mr. Law as chairman of the Airport Commission may have received some notice.

Mr. Kinsella asked what do elected officials have to file every May.  Mr. Davis explained that all elected and appointed officials have to file a statement of their financial interests with the State Ethics commission in May.  He noted that is was a questionnaire that asked about finances in an attempt to prevent any illegal activities and it is a requirement every year for state officials.  

q       The Dukes County Health Council meets Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 7:30 a.m. at the Public Safety Building in West Tisbury
q       The Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission meets Wednesday, April 5, 2006 at 5:30 p.m. at the General Aviation Building.
q       The Dukes County Advisory Board public hearing on the FY07 budget meets Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at 7 p.m. at the County Meeting Room
q       The Steamship Authority meets April 18, 2006, in New Bedford
q       The Dukes County Regional Housing Authority meets April 25, 2006 at 4 p.m. at the Vineyard Housing Office, State Road, Vineyard Haven.  

With no further business, Leonard Jason Jr. moved and Paul Strauss seconded to adjourn the meeting as SO VOTED (5-0-0) at 5:50 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted by:

JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts4202006_34924_0.bmp

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