Dukes County Commissions Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 5p.m.
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Commission Chairman Paul Strauss called the meeting of the Dukes County Commissioners to order at 5:00 p.m. Commissioners Roger Wey, Tristan Israel, Carlene Gatting, John Alley and Les Leland were present.
Also present were Acting County Manager Noreen Mavro-Flanders, Temporary Executive Assistant Erin Leighton, Sheriff Michael McCormack, VHCAP Director Sarah Kuh, Health Council members Tad Crawford and Cynthia Mitchell, Dean Bragonier Steve Myrick of the MV Times, Woody Williams, Julia Rappaport of the Vineyard Gazette, and MVTV.
Cynthia Mitchell, Chairman of Dukes County Health Council and executive director of Island Health Plan, Inc.. Ms. Mitchell has “gotten wind” that some non-mandated programs may be eliminated with the new budget. She stated that the County is responsible for 1/3 of the Vineyard Health Care Access Program (VHCAP) budget, and through other means VHCAP has had 1.7 million dollars of additional revenue. Over a five-year period this program has grown to this level. Health Care Access has offered the residents of Dukes County a health clinic, medical interpreter, portable dental services and assistance in applying for medical insurance with the Commonwealth. The public is looking at the County Advisory Board needs and she is asking to keep these programs in the budget.
Sarah Kuh, Director of the VHCAP, stated that she was asked to start this program in 1999 to provide health care and access to insurance to people who were not able to obtain it through other means; 1 in 8 people now have health insurance. This is done with the help of many grants and the County’s appropriation is the core foundation. She hopes this will continue to be offered to the residents of Dukes County.
Tad Crawford points out very real funding constraints of the County. The Health Care program has received a good amount of money from the County but additionally has also been supported by grants. He would like to see the programs remain in effect to ensure the best service for the residents of Dukes County.
Commissioner Gatting stated that the County is faced with very real financial constraints. She asked the members of the Heath Care Access where they can find sustainable funding. Ms. Mitchell stated they are looking into other ways to add revenue to the program for sustainable income. Commissioner Israel would like the residents of the County to be aware of the contributions of health care programs. Commissioner Wey added that this is the last department he would like to see taken away from the residents of the County.
Lights Out Martha’s Vineyard
Dean Bragonier, a member of Lights Out Martha’s Vineyard, spoke ot a larger event called Lights Out America. This program is to stress conservation of electricity. He requested support from the commissioner regarding citizens voluntarily turning off their lights for one hour on March 29, 2008 from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Acceptance of Minutes
Commissioner Les Leland Moved to accept the Minutes of March 14, 2007, seconded by Commissioner Roger Wey
So Voted (6-0-0),
Acting Manager’s Report- Noreen Mavro Flanders reported:
· That the County’s delegate to the Martha's Vineyard Commission needs to appointed at the next meeting. All parties interested should have a letter of interest to Ms. Flanders prior to that meeting.
· There is a County Advisory Board meeting scheduled for December 11 to discuss an additional 1% COLA increase as well as an increase of the temporary executive assistant’s hours.
· We are in receipt of Information from the Defense Environmental Restoration Program regarding US Navy bombing practice area, Gull Island, an uninhabited island in Buzzards Bay that is part of the Elizabeth Islands. It is eligible for restoration.
County Manager Position
Chairman Strauss pointed out that there was some interest about going into executive session, but he did not feel there is a need to do so. Commissioner Israel would like to go into executive session, to not discuss each candidate, but to discuss what would be offered to the chosen candidate. After Chairman. Strauss explained the open meeting laws, Commissioner Israel withdrew his request to go into executive session.
Commissioner Israel stated that the County Charter Study Commission’s evaluation would not be available until November 2008, therefore, he would like to offer the County Manager position to the chosen candidate for one (1) year. This would give the county short-term help until the decision of the Charter Commission is final and voted. Chairman Strauss stated that he had looked into this matter by researching Chapter 34A Section 18 the section on the County Manager form of County Government. He reported that it states, “He shall be appointed by a majority vote of the commissioners and shall serve for an indefinite term”. Chairman Strauss does not want to see this changed or challenged. Commissioner Alley respectfully disagrees with Commissioner Israel; the position has been advertised and
it should remain as the Charter states. Depending on what the Charter Study Commission’s final decision is, this will dictate how the County will proceed and it should not be changed. Commissioner Leland agreed with Commissioner Alley.
Commissioner Leland made a motion to re-advertise the position of the County Manager.
Commissioner Wey would like the conversation with Commissioner Israel to be continued before entertaining the Motion. Commissioner Wey would like to see the commissioners’ vote on the candidates, with four (4) votes being needed to be appointed. There are three candidates, and the options are to choose one of the applicants or to vote to re-advertise the position.
Commissioner Leland withdraws his motion to re-advertise the position of the County Manager.
Commissioner Gatting likes Commissioner Israel’s idea in theory but in practice does not think it would work due to the contract and what the statute states. Mr. Strauss passes out the ballots to each Commissioner stating that they must sign their ballot and pass them back to Ms. Flanders. After reviewing the ballots, Ms. Flanders stated that no candidate had received four votes.
Commissioner Wey: Tom Bernardo
Commissioner Leland: Blank
Commissioner Strauss: Russell Smith
Commissioner Alley: Tom Bernardo
Commissioner Israel: Blank
Commissioner Gatting: Blank
Commissioner Israel asks Ms. Flanders if she is willing to continue to act as County Manger. She stated that she was. He then commented that he would also like to see more money added to the salary of the County Manger.
Commissioner Alley made a Motion to re-advertise the position of County Manager, and expand the areas of advertising. Commissioner Israel seconded the Motion.
Commissioner Israel pointed out that two candidates had withdrawn their applications due to the amount of money the position is paying. He asked Ms. Flanders if more money could be available to offer for the position. Ms. Flanders stated, if the commissioners negotiated more money, then yes, money can be transferred from Unreserved Fund Balance with the Advisory Board’s approval. Commissioner Israel would like to go to the Advisory Board to ask for additional money. Commissioner Gatting agreed; she would like to see more money available for the position. She would like to see this done prior to advertising. Commissioner Gatting would like to have the education requirement lowered to open the position to more applicants. She believes that this requirement reduced the number of applicants and closed the
door to those having work experience. She would like to see the Bachelor’s Degree requirement taken out of the next round of advertising. Commissioner Alley disagreed with Commissioner Gatting He believes that the educational requirement should remain the same as it has in this search and in past searches.
Commissioner Israel would like to see members of the Commission attend the County Advisory Board meeting.
With no further business, the Commissioner adjourned the meeting at 5:55 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts