Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Les Leland called the County Commissioner’s meeting to order at 5:10 p.m. Commissioners Lenny Jason, Tristan Israel, Carlene Gatting, Roger Wey, John Alley and Paul Strauss were present.
Also present were Acting County Manager Noreen Mavro-Flanders, Temporary Executive Assistant Erin Leighton, Chuck Cotnoir, Marc Hanover, Rodney Eldon, Rick McElhinney, and Julia Rappaport of the Vineyard Gazette.
Chuck Cotnoir discussed the Martha’s Vineyard Commisson’sCommission’s (MVC) pre-disaster Mitigation Plan for Dukes County. NEMA asked the MVC to write a pre-disaster plan. Mr. Cotnoir explained within the plan the parts effecting Dukes County are
· Structural, protection – beach nourishment, dredging and structural reconfiguration of inlets and inlet protections to improve natural defenses and circulation, in order to minimize storm impacts, particularly beach nourishment at Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach; vegetation management for dune restoration.
· Public information – to establish a Dukes County Citizens Academy for the education of Martha’s Vineyard residents, both full time and part time, in the areas of family and individual emergency preparation and response to natural and manmade hazards, including but not limited to hurricane preparedness, floor awareness, and wildlife risks.
· Emergency services – to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the public service entities of all island towns and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay head to improve incident support, whereby the Dukes County Emergency Management Agency would provide the services of the vehicles, manpower, and emergency management computer program services etc. that re owned or managed by the Dukes County Emergency Management Agency. C
· Continued support to Martha’s Vineyard Medical Reserve Corps in partnership with the Island towns Board of Health, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, and the Cape & Islands Health Coalition and to continue to host the offices of the MVMRC.
· Continue to work with the Island Boards of Health in their Emergency Dispensing Site and other program planning efforts for Pandemic outbreaks and other infectious disease outbreaks, both natural and manmade.
Commissioner Israel stated that a memorandum of understanding had tried to be developed as an understanding between the towns, coordination of communication for the Towns. He suggested that Mr. Cotnoir come to the next All Island Selectman’s meeting. Commissioner Gatting asks if the Commissioners are endorsing the whole plan. Chairman Leland stated that NEMA has approved the Plan. Commissioner Israel is concerned that there be good communication, but feels if each town looks at this; he is all right with it. Commissioner Gatting asks if this Plan makes recommendations for implementations for various disasters, Chuck answers, yes. She does not feel comfortable endorsing it without having read it; she would be interested in reading it. Chairman Leland understands that once the approval happens FEMA, the
towns and County are eligible to apply for grants to implement what is in the Plan. Chuck adds that Emergency Management is excluded from a lot of grants. This is a good thing for the County; he feels what is being asked is just approving the County portions.
Tristan Israel makes a Motion to Endorse the MVC’s pre-disaster Mitigation Plan for Dukes County, Roger Wey seconds. Commissioner Strauss points out he would have liked to have a copy available for the Commissioners to review.
Motion voted on, Vote Passed. (6-0-0)
Steamship Authority: There were three applicants for this position, Rodney Eldon, Marc Hanover, and Rick McElhinney, so Chairman Leland took them in alphabetical order.
Rodney Eldon has lived on Martha’s Vineyard in Oak Bluffs for 2 years. He has over 60 years’ management service running ships. He has overall safety issues with ferries on island and off the island. He has done consulting work for four companies to help them with their safety issues. Commissioner Israel asks if he has volunteered for any of the local municipal entities, Rodney answers yes, but not locally. Commissioner Wey asked why he wants to be appointed to this position. Rodney responds due to ferry tragedies in recent years he feels he could add to the safety of the boat. He was looking to volunteer somewhere and with his experience he wanted to apply.
Marc Hanover thanked the Commissioners for the last 3 years, he is proud of the accomplishments in that time; he is in the middle of a lot of things right now. He, along with the SSA Board, made the decision to hire Wayne Lampson, which was the best choice. Efficiencies that have been implemented are: fewer boats running with more passengers, more spaces available on more traveled boats, website improvement, credit cards are taken at parking lots. The rates have not gone up in two years, with no increase expected again this year, customer service training for staff. Marc informed the commissioners that in the next two years Nantucket Sound will become a no dumping zone. This regulation will cost $2.5 million in shore side assistance. One of the boats has no room to install the proper equipment.
Chairman Leland pointed out that there is newly appointed safety training. Mr. Hanover answered that each month employees get a drill log with monthly, and quarterly drills. Commissioner Leland asks if the money for the shore side assistance exists, Mr. Hanover answers they are filing for grants. Commissioner Gatting asks where the facility would be built, Mr. Hanover answers Tisbury does not have the space, so the SSA is looking elsewhere.
Rick McElhinney worked for the SSA for 22 years. In that time he has seen many changes and heard a lot of things from Island people; things he thinks there cause holes in the services, i.e. not full boats, having your car shipped the day before you leave to help you and keep the boats full. At this time for students to purchase a book of tickets they have to travel to Mashpee. Commissioner Strauss asked what he did for the SSA; Mr. McElhinney started selling tickets, then putting cars on the boats. He does not feel the rates will ever go down. He would also like to see an Island person working in Woods Hole in the high paying positions. Commissioner Gatting asks what the morale of the SSA employees is, Mr. McElhinney answers medical insurance has been cut, pay is the same, so it is not good. Commissioner
Israel asks if Mr. McElhinney attends any SSA meetings. He attended one meeting but felt it was rushed. He would like to see the people running the meetings and running the SSA to be more of a face to the Islanders.
Commissioner Israel adds he liked hearing from Mr. Eldon, he knows a lot about boats. He would like to hear Rick and he likes that he came forward. Tristan will be voting for Marc but he would like to see Rick attending the SSA meetings. Commissioner Jason voted for Marc, but would like to see the other candidates put their names in for the Port Council to get experience there and move up. He also believes that Marc has brought stability to the job. Commissioner Wey believes Marc has done a great job over the past three years. Commissioner Alley believes Marc has been one of the commissioners’ best appointments and he is voting again for him. Commissioner Strauss likes that Marc sees an importance in customer service, Mr. Eldon has a lot of experience and he would like to see it used as an associate, and
Rick can bring a lot with all of his years working for the SSA. Commissioner Gatting feels Mr. Eldon’s experience is hard to match in the marine industry. Rick has some good ideas and a passion for the SSA and she hopes it can be directed to the SSA. She thinks there is a big learning curve and she will vote for Marc. Chairman Leland suggests to Marc to keep Mr. Eldon in mind for consultation because of his background. He would like to see Rick look into the Port Council, also call Marc with any of your ideas, he listens well and gets back to you. He voted for Marc.
Vote to re-appoint Marc Hanover to the Steamship Authority. So Voted. (7-0-0)
Commissioner Gatting asks if there are term limits, the commissioners’ respond, no.
Roger Wey makes a Motion to appoint John Alley and John Coskie to the Airport Commission, Lenny Jason seconds, So Voted. (5-0-1) John Alley abstains.
Lenny Jason makes a Motion to appoint TJ Hegarty to the Pilgrim RC&D, John Alley seconds. So Voted. (6-0-0)
Roger Wey makes a motion to appoint Peter Hefler to Cape Light Compact, John Alley seconds. So Voted. (6-0-0)
Lenny Jason makes a Motion to appoint Chuck Cotnoir to the Assistant Representative to Steamship for Emergency Affairs, Roger Wey seconds. So Voted. (6-0-0)
Paul Strauss makes a Motion to appoint the Representative to Medical Reserve Corps Chuck Cotnoir, Carlene Gatting seconds. So Voted. (6-0-0)
Tristan Isreal makes a Motion to appoint Noreen Mavro Flanders, Dr. James Weiss as delegates, and Michael Dutton as the alternate to the Cape Cod Municipal Health Group, Carlene Gatting seconds. So Voted. (6-0-0)
Tristan Israel makes a Motion to extend the date for an additional two weeks for naming health council members, Carlene Gatting seconds. So Voted. (6-0-0)
Acting Manager’s Report
· A letter had been written to the State Ethics Commissioner regarding the County Engineer and Martha’s VineayrdVineyard Commssion’sCommission’s Joint Transportation Committee, The reply letter was about 8 pages long with the bottom line being that someone should have been appointed other than the County Engineer if the MVC was going to pay for the Engineering services. We now know that moving forward.
· Commissioner Jason had asked us to look into the new building and electrical codes. The State does have a speaker who has done a seminar on the Cape; he will contact us when he sees he has a few days available to come to the Island.
· The Mass Fair homeowners insurance has been contacted, and we have been told, unless they get a letter from Senator O’Leary or Representative Turkington they are not interested. They feel a seminar on the Cape is sufficient. Commissioner Israel asks if we can write a letter to Senator O’Leary and Representative Turkington.
· Tristan Israel makes a Motion to write a letter to Senator O’Leary and Representative Turkington asking them to hold a seminar, Paul Strauss seconds. So Voted. (6-0-0Commissioner Wey had asked us to look into what the Towns’ were doing with the articles we sent them. A letter was received from the Town of Edgartown explaining why the articles will not be on the Annual Town Meeting Warrant Tisbury will have them on, Oak Bluffs will have them on, West Tisbury is waiting to hear what happens at the CAB meeting, Aquinnah will have them on, Gosnold will have them on, and Chilmark has not returned our calls. Commissioner Israel points out 10 signatures can be brought to the Town of Edgartown
to appeal and file a late article. Commissioner Gatting adds, Art Smadbeck had again brought up his feelings of wanting the Towns’ voters the option on voting for these articles.
Tristan Israel makes a Motion to send 2 representatives, Carlene Gatting and one other Commissioner to Edgartown to file a late filed article, Paul Strauss seconds.
Commissioner Jason asked Tristan “How would you feel if Tisbury was approached with this?” Commissioner Israel says he would have no problem with it as he feels the people should be able to decide. Commissioner Jason feels there are other ways to go forward with this process. Commissioner Israel stated that every year one or two late articles are filed; it is part of the process. Commissioner Strauss stated that on the basis that a process exists, we won’t take a lot of the finance boards time and energy. He thinks we should submit the request. If the selectmen vote to not allow a late filing then it is done, no damage. Commissioner Gatting asks if the motion was passed to file the Articles in December 21,2007 and then were received by the towns on January 2, 2008. Ms. Flanders answers, yes.
Commissioner Alley talked with Selectman Hearn who said that two selectman of the Town of West Tisbury were opposed to the articles. Commissioner Wey thinks it is worth it for 2 Commissioners to go to Edgartown.
Vote on Motion: Motion passed. Yes: Les Leland, Paul Strauss, Roger Wey and Tristan Israel, No: John Alley, Carlene Gatting and Lenny Jason.
Commissioner Israel asked why other Commissioners would not want the Commissioners to go to the Town of Edgartown. Commissioner Alley would like the articles to go forward but doing so by having it go through another process. Commissioner Gatting feels it sounds as though it has already happened, one Selectman tried to push it forward and they are not willing to budge on the late filing. Commissioner Israel feels that the Edgartown Selectmen have basically killed the initiative and he is looking from input from the Towns; he is trying to fight for some of these programs to continue. Commissioner Jason does not want to say is has been killed, but rather that we have hit a hurdle but it is not dead. Commissioner Strauss stated that if he reads the letter literally, it stated “your email was received a
day late”; He thinks we should go to the Town or try another way to get us on the meeting warrant. Ms. Flanders states we did know Edgartown had a deadline of November 20, 2007, but we were unaware of a second deadline, we were at their mercy. Chairman Leland feels letting the residents of Edgartown vote on this is important.
Commissioner Gatting asks if there is financial information to show to the FinCom. Ms. Flanders says we do not have it now; she does not have the time to call all entities to find out all of that information. No way to measures the Access Program. Commissioner Israel points out Rat Control brings in revenue, which off sets the costs to the Towns. He also would like having a Commissioner attend the next West Tisbury Selectman’s meeting.
Commissioner Strauss talked with Bill O’Brien and asked if should we seriously consider a County manager or the Board Chairperson form of county government. Does the Commission have a view on this? Commissioner Wey says he will attend the meeting to answer some questions. Commissioner Alley leans towards a modified form of County Manager form of government. Chairman Leland looks favorably on the Chairperson form with the board hiring an executive manager who reports to the chair and the board. Commissioner Gatting also leans towards to the Board Chairperson form so there can be a term and the hours are flexible.
Commissioner Wey says he will be in Washington the early part of February, he will bring anything anyone needs or to bring up any issues, if needed.
With no further business, the Commissioners adjourned the meeting at 6:58 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts