Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Leslie Leland called the County Commissioner’s meeting to order at 5:12 p.m. Commissioners Tristan Israel, John Alley and Melinda Loberg, Roger Wey were present.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Martina Thornton, Dukes County Treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders, Tad Crawford of the Charter Study Commission, Cristina Wiley and Mike Joyce of Youth Task Force and Joanie Ames of MVTV.
John/Tristan moved to approve the Minutes of September 10, 2008. All in favor.
Tristan/ John moved to approve the Minutes of September 24, 2008. Leland, Israel, Alley, Loberg in favor. Roger Wey abstained.
Youth Task Force Report
Associate Commissioners for Youth - Mike Joyce, Cristina Wiley
YTF Packet presented to the Commissioners including the History of the YTF including the overview of the program and grants awarded, information about the Drug-Free Communities Grant and clippings from articles in the newspaper about the program. Mike Joyce reported that Cindy Doyle, the Chair did most of the grant writing. We are very fortunate that we now have money to do this. In January 2008 a one year $90,297 grant was awarded by the MA Attorney General’s Office to hire a coalition coordinator and support the implementation of the YTF substance abuse prevention plan targeting 7th and 8th grade middle school students and their parents. In July 2008 a three year $300,000 ($100,000 a year) - possibly extending to 5 years - grant was awarded from the MA Bureau of Substance Abuse Services to continue middle
school substance abuse prevention efforts. Last year we applied for a federal Drug-Free Communities Grant, but did not get it. They told us what we did wrong and this year at the beginning of October we were awarded a 5 year $625,000 grant ($125,000 a year) – possibly to be extended to 7 years - to provide substance abuse prevention targeting high school students and their families. We hired a coordinator and are in the process of hiring another coordinator for the federal grant. The first two grants are focused on middle school (7-8 grade); the third is focused on high school kids. Both focus on identifying the positive things that kids are doing and to literarily advertise to influence the decisions the kids make and their behavior when they are trying to make friends and be “cool”. That it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to drink and smoke pot, but just be themselves. This approach is called - social norms. And studies show that they were able to reduce the
negative behavior by 10-15%. It was first used to target smoking. It is becoming a standard formula to reduce negative behavior. Instead of stressing the negative message, we advertise what is the norm. What is normal is that most people do not use drugs. They did a parent survey, a student survey and have all the data and the misperceptions. They want to advertise the positive norms. Cristina stated that she started with the program last year. They hired Theresa to coordinate the grant and she did groups and trainings. They had a booth at the Tisbury Street Fair and surveyed what people like to do on weekends and nights instead of drinking. From the information collected that started the social norms campaign with posters and book covers. Mike added that the posters would be put up all over the island and the bigger ones in each school on the island. They include over 100 ideas, generated by high school kids, about the things they can do instead the drinking. The pictures on the
campaign materials will always be positive, not here are the beer cans….and some scary slogans. Cristina continued that YTF started the sticker shock campaign and put stickers on all beer and alcohol cases and the coolers at Jim’s and Tony’s package stores in Oak Bluffs. This is so adults will see the consequences of buying alcohol for underage people. Mike added that these two businesses were very cooperative. The orange stickers really stand out. We also put it on the paper bag that they put the 6-pack into. Their plan is to do it again right before the Thanksgiving. It is simple and quick and effective. Cristina added that they also had a focus group at the high school and had two women from the Southeast Center of Healthy Communities that gave presentations on how to properly run the social norms campaign. In the past they used the shock method to scare people from the behavior - like drinking and driving by having a picture of crashed car and message how many teenagers die
each year from alcohol related accidents, stating that 5 minutes later kids will forget about the message. Instead give them alternative to the drinking and drugs by asking “What are you doing this weekend? What about .… “ They also said that after the state wide campaign against smoking worked and how 80% of MA kids choose now not to smoke. Mike also pointed to the book covers that every kid at junior high is going to get and that it included a part where they should come up with slogans with positive message. The idea is to come up with 10 slogans not only to kids but also to parents. There is a new situation for the parents when kids go to high school as they get new friends and parents my not know, where are their kids going. YTF wants to build a network so people feel comfortable to call other parents to communicate about what the kids are doing. YTF also was giving out small badges at the street fair to let people know that there is the Task Force here. Research is showing
that the later the kids start drinking the less damages it will do and less chance to get addicted. From two grants the County gets $5000 a year. The County is donating the office space. This is part of the memorandum of understanding to show those organizations that there is a wide coalition (over 20 people now) from diverse parts of the community. YTF is trying to maintain the broad coalition for the support of the grant. You can log on to their parents support web site. They are also preparing a web site for students. They are also working with the police departments to do compliance reviews at all the liquor stores to find what are the issues and how can they help, which is part of the requirement for the Attorney General’s grant. The ABCC and Mothers against drink driving are coming to do the police training with students who want to go and check for compliance. We did chat and chowders to find out what the parents are worried about. One of them was liquor storeowner and
we explained that we are not trying to trap anybody we are trying to help with the problem. Mike added that they have lots of deadlines to be met to comply with the grant requirements and that they are working on all the tasks. Roger praised Mike for his enthusiasm for this program. Mike said that the YTF has a great executive committee and complimented Cristina Wiley and Mark Reppert, who are also working hard. Mike added that they are trying to encourage students to tell them the truth about what they think about the ideas and the campaign. They don’t want them to say what the adults want to hear, they want to know if they are missing the point. Tristan said that the approach is great and the scare tactics don’t work and asked if there is still an educational component to this subject. Mike answered that the schools have health courses that explain what it does to the body and the YTF serves as supplemental to the schools. They handed out to all the parents’ recommendations on
how to talk to their kids about this. Melinda stated that she sat on the Health Counsel and there was a push to get this done and she is very pleased to see that the YTF is doing it. She also asked if there is an overlap with the Save Rides Programs. Cristina answered that she and Max Nunes are also on the Save Rides. Melinda added that as a volunteer on the ambulance she thinks that it is a great program, but there are mixed messages out there. Mike stated that they did not take a position on that but the important think is to get the kids home save. Cristina added that the Save Rides is the most popular club in the school and everyone supports it. John and Les also thanked them for their great work. Russell stated that the County is an umbrella organization to YTF, supplies office space and is ready to support it any way needed. Cristina Wiley and Mark Reppert are Associate Commissioner for youth as well as Mike Joyce.
Old business – Auditors
Noreen apologized for not being able to attend the last meeting to answer question about the letter from the airport commission regarding the audit. She stated that it would be counter productive to change auditors at this time. The auditors are here this week and she hopes to have draft of the report by the end of the week. Last year’s audit was delayed for many reasons, biggest of which was that there were couple of items that needed to be reconciled with Sheriff’s department. Noreen stated that they are ready to do the exit conference at the next county commissioners meeting and report for FY 2008 will be soon after. Tristan commented that it would be good to put out a RFP. Noreen commented that there was discussion about it with the prior County Manager already but she was not able to do it last winter. We had a 3 year’ contract with the
present auditors which ended with FY2007. We surveyed other counties to find out whom they use. Unfortunately one of the principals of the firm that most of the counties use is a paid treasurer of the Cape Cod Municipal Health Group of which Noreen is a Chairman and it might be a conflict. Noreen said she is planning on doing the RFP after the FY08 audit is done. Roger stated that the same firm the county is using now Powers & Sullivan was used by Oak Bluffs for 12 years in a row and they are doing a great job.
County Manager’s Report
Recommended changes to MGL Chapter 34A, Section 18 (changes underlined):
SECTION 1. Subsection (B) of Section 18 of Chapter 34A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out paragraph (i) and (ii) and inserting in place thereof the following 2 paragraphs:
(i) The county manager shall be qualified by administrative and executive experience and ability to serve as the chief executive of the county. He shall be appointed by a majority vote of the commissioners and shall serve at the pleasure of the commissioners. He may be removed by majority vote of the board subject to due notice and a public hearing. Such notice shall be in writing and shall be accompanied by a written bill of particular charges and complaints and said public hearing on these charges shall be held no less than fifteen nor more than thirty days after personal service of notice and charges.
At the time of his appointment the manager need not be a resident of the county but must reside within the county after the incumbent’s initial probationary period.
(ii) The salary of the county manager shall be fixed by the commissioners; such salary shall be reasonable and commensurate with the fact that the position of county manager is and shall be a full or part-time position.
Roger suggested that we should spell out that the probationary period is 6 months. Les added that the Board could also decide that the probationary period will be a shorter or longer then 6 months. Martina stated that the probationary period is defined for all the County employees at the Personnel Bylaws. Noreen suggested to put in “the agreed upon probationary period”.
Russell noted that we white out the sentence saying: “The salary of the county manager may not be lowered during his tenure in office”. Russell spoke about those changes with the house counsel David Nimitz, our State Representative Eric Turkington and Senator O’Leary. The house counsel suggested that we file this now as it might not require a row call vote and could be voted on. If it does not make it by January 1, we can refile it in January for the next session.
Melinda/ Tristan moved to approve the recommended changes to MGL Chapter 34A, Section 18 as written. Discussion: Russell stated that initially Representative Turkington said that one way to help get legislation pass is to exempt yourself from the provision and not change the law for everybody in the state that could start up discussions. Tad Crawford stated that he talked to Russell about it and Eric’s advise was as Russell stated. To exempt Dukes County from the provisions that we want to change and that shaped the recommendations the Charter Study gave. Tad continued that he is now satisfied after the conversations about this approach but if it would be less controversial and it would help it to pass the changes this year if it only applies to Dukes County, he would like to do
that. Right now Dukes County is the only one using this Chapter. It is most important to have it passed this year if possible. Russell asked Tad if the proposed changes are what the Charter Study wanted. Tad answered absolutely yes and you even went beyond it. Tristan added to the motion that the administrator should proceed in the way that will most likely get this passed, if it is by excluding Dukes County from the provision on law, that is ok too. All agree on this.
All in favor.
Tristan asked Les to allow Tad Crawford speak about what the Charter Study Commission is proposing as far as the ballot question on the November ballot regarding the County. Les agreed. Tad said that there are two initiatives that the Charter Study Commission is required to take. One is to put before the voters any change in the Charter. There is only one change the Charter Study Commission is recommending and that is the change from a four year to a two year term and being concurrent for the County Commissioners. The second requirement is to publish in both papers twice the Charter of the County as well as the findings and recommendations of the Charter Study Commission. After the discussion we agree that the fist two paragraphs of the Charter are the only once that we need to publish
as the first paragraph references the provisions of Chapter 34 that spells out the Manager form of county government and it states very clearly what chapters are part of our charter. We could have a reference to the web site so everybody can look at the language there. The second paragraph deals with the specifics regarding the number of commissioners, how long they serve and how they are elected etc. The second recommendation is that the Summary Findings and Recommendations be our executive summary. This way we can do the publicity with the little money we have left. We would also like to use other ways like press releases to explain clearly to the voters what the issue is regarding the change of the Charter on the ballot. Tad said that the Charter Study Commission would like to see the voters vote yes to this questions, but they are told that some people see the No vote as no we don’t want county government. It is important that voters know that a No vote means we keep the
Charter as it is, with no changes and a Yes vote means that the only thing that changes in the Charter is the term the Commissioners serve. All Commissioners would be elected at the same time for a two years term. Les stated that the question clearly is if the term of the commissioners will be two year’ concurrent term or four year non-concurrent term as it is now. Tristan said that some people who are not so familiar with the issue think that it is a referendum on the county. Russell said that we would put this issue on the agenda for the next meeting for discussion. John asked if the Charter Study Commission could print in the paper the ballot question and a summary of what is the issue so everybody can read it. Tad stated that what is printed is a very specific wording that was crafted after discussions with the state and he will have the wording ready for the next meeting. Les stated again that the No vote means that there will be no change and if you vote Yes – the only change
will be the two years concurrent term. Russell read the ballot question:” Shall the county manager plan be adopted for Dukes County with the provision for Board of Commissioners of 7 members for concurrent two years term and elected at large.” Roger and John stated that it is very clear. Tad said that what is not clear is what the No vote means. Les said that we would put it on the next meeting’s agenda.
Charter Study Recommendations to be adopted as resolution
Russell said that some of the Charter Study recommendations were adopted as part of the Administrative Code. For some of the recommendations it was not the way to address it. Some recommendations should be formally adopted by the Commission by a resolution. Russell read the proposed resolution:
WHEREAS, the Dukes County Commissioners received these recommendations from the Dukes County Charter Study Commission,
WHEREAS, the Commissioners believe that those recommendations will improve the performance of the County government and strengthen the County’s relationship with other regional organizations,
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Commissioners of the County of Dukes County, that the Commissioners will:
· Work with town Selectmen to strengthen the All-Island Selectmen organization as a forum for addressing issues of multi-town and regional concern;
· Require representative County Commissioners and the County Manager to meet periodically with individual Town Boards of Selectmen;
· Expect the County Manager to participate actively in all regularly held meetings of the Town Administrators group;
· Expect the County Manager and/or the County Treasurer to participate in the all – island Finance Committee meetings.
· Assign to each County Commissioner a liaison responsibility with one or more inter-municipal/regional organizations.
· Form ad hoc working groups of community and subject matter experts as needed to address specific issues of regional concern.
Russell stated that we already do some of this, we have Commissioners on regional organizations’ boards and we would like to at the next meeting assign each Commissioner with liaison responsibility to various areas of interest as many are already involved in and we will address the ones that we do not have anybody involved it yet. We also form sub-committees for specific subjects like we did with the Beach Rules and management issue or the Charter Study Recommendations implementation.
Melinda pointed out that in the 2nd paragraph of the resolution the word “believe” is missing.
Roger/Melinda moved to approve the resolution as amended. All in favor.
Tristan asked where does the resolution go after it is approved as he does not want it to be forgotten. Les said that there is a folder in the Manager’s office where all the resolutions are kept. Tristan suggested that we give it to the new Commissioners when they come on board. Martina said that in January she would like to give the new Administrative Code and couple of other things that matter to all the Commissioners not only the new ones.
VHCA Program Support Letter to Governor
Russell informed us that the state budget which was already passed is now being reviewed by the Governor to find some cuts for the $200 million shortfall. Normally the budget is done by July 1, but now they are reviewing new cuts and one might be the VHCAP grant money. Sarah asked Russell to pass to the Commissioners this letter of support to send to the Governor. The letter explains that the money is vital to the program. Tristan asked if we only send letter to the Governor. Russell said yes, because he is the one making the decision about the cuts. Tristan/John moved to approve the letter with one change to add “is” in the third paragraph. All in favor.
Chappaquiddick Road – Assent to the Petition
Martina informed the Commissioners that after our last meeting about the discussion regarding the ownership of the road, she called Edgartown Town Clerk and she confirmed that Chappaquidick Road is an Edgartown Public Road. It was election week and she did not have time to look for the document that transferred the ownership from the County to the town. Martina called Karen Burke of Reynolds, Rappaport & Kaplan and asked her to follow up on this issue and make sure that their request in the Petition to the Land Court to issue a new Certificate of Title for the small triangular piece in the name of County of Dukes County is in fact correct and let her know the results of her research. A week later we received a letter from Reynolds, Rappaport & Kaplan that you have in your folders that they are no longer asking the County
Commissioners to sign the Assent and they are also not asking the Land Court to issue a new Certificate of Title in the name of the County. We did not give them the Assent and they do not want it anymore.
Charter Study Recommendations – not yet addressed
Russell asked Les to have a discussion about the rest of the recommendations that are still not addressed. John wanted the whole board to be there to discuss it. Tristan suggested we put it on the next meeting’s agenda. John added that also the recommendation about the 2 or 4 years term should be added to the list.
Tristan noted that he would like to have the auditor give the summary of the report at the meeting. Les said that Noreen said that the auditor would be here to give the report at the next meeting. Melinda questioned if there will be enough time to do all this at the next meeting. Russell suggested we put the auditor off until the following meeting. Roger said that this is a good idea and we should focus on the election issues and not get rushed through. He and Melinda feel that then they will not be rushed through it and can ask the auditors questions.
Tad said that he is very happy that those recommendations were adopted in a timely manner and were taken into account. He is thrilled that the others are being worked on.
Tristan informed us that the Eastville Beach Committee is applying to the CPA for Oak Bluffs and Tisbury for $15-30,000 to improve fencing, the driveway, parking etc. If they receive these funds, can an account be set up with the county to put these funds in and Noreen said yes. Nobody objected.
John/Roger moved to adjourn the meeting. So voted. All in favor. 6:30pm
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts