DUKES COUNTY COMMISSION MINUTES
In a Joint Meeting with the
MARTHA'S VINEYARD AIRPORT COMMISSION
on May 24, 2006, at 5:30PM
Dukes County Administration Building
(with Notice of Such Meeting having been Posted as Required by Law)
Call to order with the Airport Commission
Chair John Alley called the special meeting of the Dukes County Commission (DCC) to order at 5:37AM and a quorum was present. Chair Norman Perry also called the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission (MVAC) to order. Dukes County Commissioners present included Leonard Jason Jr., Robert Sawyer, Leslie Leland and Roger Wey. MVAC members present included Chair Norman Perry, Vice Chair John Alley,
John Coskie, Francis Gildea, and Connie Teixeira. Additional staff present as well were County Manager E. Winn Davis, Noreen Mavro Flanders, Dukes County Treasurer, Sean Flynn, MVY Airport Manager, Sheriff Michael McCormack, Dukes County Sheriff, and Deborah H. Potter, Executive Assistant.
Other representatives or visitors present included Joanie Ames of MVTV; Leslie Grimm, Citizen, Woody Williams, Citizen, and Ian Fein, Vineyard Gazette.
Discussion of FAA Resolution of past rents and monies due to the County of Dukes County
The two commissioners discussed the ongoing issue with the FAA regarding the resolution of the past rent for the County of Dukes County Administration Building and the past support for maintenance of effort in prior years. The highlights of the discussion included:
• Airport Manager Mr. Sean Flynn, County Manager Mr. Winn Davis and County Treasurer Ms. Noreen Flanders met and agreed that based on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responses to the MVAC questions (see 4/19/06 MVAC Minutes p. 3-5) the total due to County was $154.093.65 the total due to the Airport was $93,736.76 (see documents on file). The County and the MVAC agreed on both the original values and the time frames.
• The Airport’s proposal used simple interest.
• Ms. Flanders calculated three alternate proposals (see documents on file) which differed in how the interest was compounded:
- Scenario #1 compounded at a flat Applicable Federal Rate (AFR) based on the County’s occupation date on the property and on the FAA’s determination date on money owed to the County,
- Scenario #2 compounded interest at the previous December’s AFR,
- Scenario #3 compounded the interest starting from December, 2000.
• A letter had been drafted to request clarification from the FAA (see documents on file) but Mr. Davis suggested that the more expedient route would be to submit an agreed upon solution and allow the FAA to comment if it so chose. There was a discussion on which way to proceed. It was acknowledged that most of the FAA responses brought up more questions than it answered and that the two Commissions should submit a resolution.
• Mr. Sawyer advocated for scenario #3 as it was the most beneficial to the County and the community and further that all banks compounded interest and therefore this would be in keeping with private practice. Mr. Flynn pointed out that the Airport also benefited the community.
• Mr. Wey insisted that the FAA would look for more rational reasoning in setting interest rates than the good of the community.
• Mr. Alley reflected on the long years this matter has been unresolved and that this meeting had been called because the FAA had asked for a solution by the end of the May. He proposed that the original agreement with simple interest be adopted as probably the most acceptable to the FAA.
• Mr. Davis proposed that scenario #1 be proposed as the most defensible.
• MR. WEY MOVED THAT THE DUKES COUNTY COMMISSION ADOPT SCENARIO #1 AS PROPOSED BY THE COUNTY TREASURER; MR. LELAND SECONDED; MOTION PASSED: 3 AYES, 2 NAYS – MR. ALLEY, MR. SAWYER; 0 ABSTENTIONS.
• MR. FRANK GILDEA MOVED THAT THE MARTHA’S VINEYARD AIRPORT COMMISSION AGREE TO ADOPT SCENARIO #1 CONTINGENT UPON AIRPORT MANAGER MR. FLYNN AND COUNTY TREASURER NOREEN FLANDER RECONCILING ALL FIGURES; MS. CONNIE TEIXEIRA SECONDED; MOTION PASSED: 4 AYES, 1 NAY – JOHN ALLEY; 0 ABSTENTIONS.
Mr. Alley thanked Ms. Flanders, Mr. Flynn and Mr. Davis.
Discussion of Treble Damages:
Mr. Davis reviewed the appeal to dismiss treble damages (see 12/3/05 MVAC Minutes p.13). Judge Moses issued decision in a conference call with the attorneys of record (see documents on file). He did not find the necessary evil motive and reckless disregard and declined to enforce treble damages. Payment of attorney’s fees and court costs were still found against the County. The County had thirty days from this decision to appeal the underlying decision.
• Mr. Sawyer strongly urged that the Dukes County Financial Advisory Board be part of any decision at it had implications beyond that of immediate moneys.
• Mr. Davis noted that although he disagreed with the original decision, he suggested, that in the interest of the Towns, moving forward and with the agreement of the new MVAC that the matter be put to sleep.
• Mr. Wey agreed and felt the matter had dragged on for too many years.
• MR. LELAND MOVED THAT THE DUKES COUNTY COMMISSION NOT PROCEED WITH FURTHER LITIGATION NOR APPEAL THE JUDGMENT AS IT STOOD; MR. WEY SECONDED; MOTION PASSED 4 AYES, 1 NAY – MR. SAWYER, 0 ABSTENTIONS .
• MR. COSKIE MOVED THAT THE MARTHA’S VINEYARD AIRPORT COMMISSION NOT PROCEED WITH AN APPEAL TO THE JUDGMENT AS IT STOOD; MS. TEIXEIRA SECONDED; MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY: 5 AYES, 0 NAYS, and 0 ABSTENTIONS.
• It was noted that there was still work to be done on an agreement on how the Airport and the County would operate.
• After a brief disagreement on whether there would be public comment Mr. Williams asked how the County knew this was the end of the matter. Chair John Alley stated the County did not know. Mr. Williams then asked about payment of back salaries and attorneys fees. The Airport had escrowed back salaries and interest. Mr. Flynn stated he had not been in the suit for the money. Ms. Flanders stated the County had frozen their unreserved fund balance when the original judgment came down.
• MR. LENNY JASON MOVED TO ADJOURN THE DUKES COUNTY COMMISSION AT 6:27PM; MR. WEY SECONDED; MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
• THE MVAC ALSO ADJOURNED AT THIS TIME.
Documents on file:
MVAC Agenda 5/24/06
DCC Agenda 5/24/06
Sign-in Sheet 5/4/05
Draft Letter to LaVerne F. Reid, FAA 5/24/06
DC Treasurer’s Memo re: Recovery of rent and past support (7 p.) 5/22/06
MVY Airport Rent Calculations (3 p.) 5/22/06
Michael Gilman email re: Superior Court order in Airport litigation 5/24/06
Massachusetts Superior Court Department Order on Motion of DC to alter or amend Judgment and on plaintiffs’ request to reopen trial record to submit evidence of County’s bad faith. (10 p.) 5/23/06