Dukes County Commission
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Dukes County Administration Building
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA
Commissioner Present: Tristan Israel, Melinda Loberg, Les Leland, Lenny Jason, Tom Hallahan, Carlene Gatting, John Alley.
County Staff present: Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Martina Thornton – Ex. Assistant, Noreen Mavro Flanders – Treasurer, T.J. Hegarty – Integrated Pest Management Director, Carol Grant – Assistant Treasurer, Jo Ann Murphy – Veteran’s Agent, Charles Cotnoir – Emergency Management Director *
*Others: Melanie Becker, Adam Wilson, Remy Tumin of Vineyard Gazette, Joanie Ames – MVTV.
Meeting was called to order at 5:00 PM
Tom/Melinda moved to approve the Minutes of 7-27-2011 and 8-10-2011 as presented. So voted. In favor: Tristan, Melinda, Les, Lenny, Tom. Abstained: Carlene, John.
2. County Personnel Board appointment
Russell said that the job descriptions reviews are completed and people are placed on the new scale accordingly. He presented his recommendations for members to the County Personnel Board.
John/Carlene moved to appoint the members as recommended by Russell:
Airport Commission representative: Norman Perry;
County Advisory representative: Jim Newman;
Employee representative: Jo Ann Murphy;
Town personnel board representative: Michael Joyce;
At large: Sheriff Michael A. McCormack.
So voted. All in favor.
John/Carlene moved to stagger the appointments as follows:
For three years: Norman Perry and Michael McCormack;
For two years: Michael Joyce and Jim Newman;
For one year: Jo Ann Murphy;
All appointment to end on June 30th. So voted. All in favor.
3. Appointment of an alternate representative to the Cape Cod Municipal Health Group (CCMHG)
Noreen said that since Michael Dutton is no longer a member so he can not continue in his position as an alternate representative to the CCMHG. The two Dukes County representatives are Noreen Mavro Flanders (currently a chair of CCMHG) and Dr. Weiss – Superintendent of Schools. Noreen would like the Commissioners to appoint a new alternate. There are two candidates: Adam Wilson – Aquinnah Town Administrator and Melanie Becker – Chilmark Treasurer. Lenny asked if we could have more than one alternative. Noreen said that it is reasonable and she would make the case for it.
Carlene/John moved to appoint two alternates to the CCMHG: Adam Wilson and Melanie Becker. So voted. All in favor.
4. Health Insurance Reform – Noreen Mavro Flanders
The CCMHG took a preliminary vote to eliminate all current plans as of 7/1/2012 and replace them with Group Insurance Commission (GIC) look-alike plans, which will have deductibles (there was no deductibles previously) and higher co-pays. The legislation allows for expedited union negotiations with deadlines along the way. Noreen notified all the Island’s selectmen, benefit administrators and treasurers. There will be a CCMHG Steering Committee meeting on the Island on September 20th at 10.30am at the VTA building and all are welcome to come and voice their concerns. The final vote on the new plans will be taken in Centerville on October 5th. There is provision for a mitigation plan to be established from 25% of the savings for the first year only to help offset the deductibles. Noreen suggested the Commissioners create
a sub-committee that will look into how they would like to deal with this change for non-union employees (to set up a mitigation plan or to provide same benefits as for the union employees), otherwise people are talking about unionizing to gain the bargaining power. Noreen was for keeping the current plans and to give the units the option to choose which plans they would like to offer, but the CCMHG voted overwhelmingly against it. Dukes County has 16 units and only two votes. Lenny asked if we need to stay with the CCMHG. Noreen said no, but if we want to part, there are obligations to CCMHG that we would have to fulfill. Lenny suggested creating our own group. Noreen suggested to all that feel this way to come to the Steering Committee Meeting and raise their concerns & desires.
Tom asked about provisions for retirees. Noreen said that retirees who are eligible for Medicare will be forced to go to Medicare. The ones who are not eligible will be affected the same way as non-union employees. More information about the reform can be found on the CCMHG website. The predicted savings to towns should be 3-5% on the premiums, however the CCMHG subsidized the premiums last year by $6M from surplus, which reduced the rates be about 2%. If there is no surplus to be used to subsidize the plans in the future the savings will not be as significant. The CCMHG is having an actuary study done to see what the impact will be. The CCMHG has a policy to put 8-12% of prior year’s claims into reserve, which is now about $20M. The GIC has no reserve. Russell said that the health insurance cost went up 8-10% annually in last couple of
years and asked how the reform will affect that. Noreen said that the true increase in health cost was 13-16% but the CCMHG has things in place to help offset the cost like the international drug purchasing program, which the GIC does not have.
*Melanie Becker and Adam Wilson left the meeting.
5. Social Security Services on the Island
Tristan said that the Social Security Administration used to send someone from the Falmouth office once per month to Oak Bluffs Council on Aging to meet with our constituents, but stopped coming this year supposedly due to security reasons. They were here once in May to facilitate eastern European student visas for the summer only. This is a hardship for islanders as they now have to travel to Falmouth for these services. Tristan asked Russell to send a letter of concern to our federal and state representatives and to contact the Falmouth office as well.
6. Code RED
It was discussed at the all island selectmen’s meeting last week. Some towns were not happy with the protocol for use of the system. Chuck reported that the Emergency Management Directors had a meeting last night where Sheriff as administrator of the system asked them to find out what the selectmen in each town expect from the system. He will continue to administer the all island emergency messages. Right now the protocol is that all island wide messages (emergency and non-emergency) are being approved by the Sheriff, the chairman of the selectmen and the emergency manager from the town that wants to send the message out. Some towns expressed at the all island selectmen’s meeting that they would like to approve all messages that are being sent to people in their town. There will be an annual meeting of the emergency managers next month where
a new protocol will be developed for Code RED. Each town pays annual fee for this service, which includes all emergency messages to be for free and certain number of non-emergency message minutes. The town has to pay for additional non-emergency minutes. Tristan clarified that unlike the paper article suggested County is not involved with Code RED coordination. The Sheriff’s department is now part of the State, not the County anymore. Russell said that before hurricane Irene there were three island-wide meetings that were well attended and unlike the paper suggested, there was a close coordination among the towns in preparations and during the storm.
7. Manager’s Report
Capt. Smith historic painting is fixed and will be put back to the courtroom with a little ceremony. Russell will send thank-you letter to Mr. & Mrs. Perkins who paid for the restoration.
Courthouse windows repair project will continue through the winter. Three windows are being done at a time. Courthouse gutters are done.
Broadband for MV – Vitrium Co. from Oklahoma is applying for a $66M loan to bring fiber optic cable to the island from Woods Hole and wire the whole island.
Barrier Beach Task Force – Russell met with the Friends of Sengekontacket today and they agreed to plant some beach plumbs this fall. We are also having an invasive species study done.
Video clips for all island towns, the County and the Chamber were done by the CGI Company thanks to NACO to promote the island on the towns’ and county websites. They are being revised right now and should be ready for release soon.
*Noreen left the meeting.
Veterans Services -Tom will coordinate with Congressman Keating’s office, Sen. Brown, Tim Walsh (MV Hospital CEO) and Sen. Wolf to come next month to the island to talk to the veterans about the lengthy process of putting a contract in place with the hospital. We could talk to our representatives about the social security office issue as well. Russell said that four contracts left the Providence VA office and are being reviewed by their lawyers now. After that they will go for review to Washington. Our input would be most likely at the time the hospital (Partners) gets it and we will ask for a copy to review. However we are not party to the contract. Jo Ann said that originally they agreed that the veterans on the island would have some input, but nobody contacted them so far. Russell said that Mr. Antonaccio is planning to come
There was no response to our ad for beach patrol on State Beach. Tristan would like Russell to research if we do have a ticketing power for next season. Russell said that Sheriff is patrolling the beach every day during the summer and agreed to respond to the dog complaints and ticket people if necessary. We will provide him with tickets for the no dog violation with a $50 fine. In September dogs are allowed on the beach before 9am and after 5pm. Starting October until April 1st the dogs are allowed all the time.
The next meeting will be in Aquinnah on September 28th at 5pm to be advertised in newspaper. A public comment will be added as item on the agenda for anyone to address the Commissioners if they want to.
Tom would like to talk at the next meeting about the 3 acre lot at the Airport Business Park that the Steamship Authority is willing to give up and how could the County utilize the property. Russell said he did not hear back from the Airport regarding setting a meeting of the Land Use Sub-committee for the PV installation projects discussion, which would be a good place to discuss this. Tristan asked Tom and Lenny to follow up.
John/Carlene moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:10 p.m. All in favor.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts
Documents presented at the meeting and part of the official records:
- Letter from Cape Cod Municipal Health Group
- Letter from Mass DOT regarding Taking in Tisbury
- Copy of Resolution 01-2010 constituting a County Personnel Board
- E-mail from Woody Williams
- Old Business List
- Cape Light Compact July report
- Steamship Authority August 16th, 2011 meeting memo