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DCC Minutes 2-29-2012
Dukes County Commission
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
3 p.m.
Special Meeting
Dukes County Administration Building
9 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA

Commissioner Present: Lenny Jason, Melinda Loberg, Tristan Israel, Tom Hallahan via Skype, John Alley

County Staff present: Russell H. Smith – County Manager, Erin Leighton – Temp. Ex. Assistant, Noreen Mavro Flanders – Treasurer, Martina Thornton – Exec. Assistant

Others: Steve Myrick – MV Times, Remy Tumin – Vineyard Gazette, Joanne Ames – MVTV

Meeting was called to order at 9:14 a.m.

1. Budget Transfer
Russell asks the Commissioners to transfer $3,500 from Martina Thornton’s salary line to line item 51100, the temporary employee line. He also asks to have $400 transferred that was in the line of the Associate Commissioners which was in previous years used for the membership of the RC&D, he would like it transferred to department 300 under Dues and Membership and use the $400 for the membership for the Mass. Municipal Association.

Tristan/Lenny moved to approve the transfers. So moved. All in favor.

The advertisement for the open County Commissioner position will be in the two local papers in the two upcoming weeks. Candidates cannot be from Tisbury.

2. Job Description for County Manager
Melinda asks the Commissioners if they have any comments or questions about the job description. Tom feels the job summary is written stating that the County Manager has jurisdiction over all agencies, this is not the case. There are departments that do report to the County Manager but it is not so for all cases. He would like it to be rephrased to make it more reality based. Tristan feels it could be addressed by writing each department down. Russell adds he has direct supervision over Health Care Access, Integrated Pest Management, Emergency Management, Veteran’s Agent and the Executive Assistant. He does state that in addition to those departments he has administrative supervision of the other departments.  

Noreen adds grant employees are also part of the County and in the building, she asks how they fit in and feels they need to be defined. Tristan feels that the County is not involved in the day to day workings of the grant employees and they should continue to come to the Manager or Commissioners on as needed basis. Martina adds Russell signs the warrants and contracts for grant programs, Russell is the final supervision for warrants for the County and Airport. Noreen states the County Manager has always signed them, previously the Commissioners had done so but the duty was moved to the Manager. Tom asks when and why it changed that the Commissioners stopped signing the warrants. Lenny answered in 1995 the change was made when the first County Manager was hired. Melinda feels that the grant employees are under the Associate Commissioner or people being appointed to do separate things, there is a relationship because the Associate Commissioners are in direct contact with the Manager. Noreen disagrees, she feels they are hired by the County Manager or the County in general but based on recommendation by these appointed people, some of them are county employees or independent contractors but the Manager signs their warrants.

Melinda states the Personnel sub-committee recently went through the state statute and administrative code, the administrative code now reflects what the state statute says. Tristan would like to discuss changing the manager’s position as part-time leaving the executive secretary to be full time. Lenny wants a full-time person. He wants someone who understands the relationship between the towns, local and political issues, policies and grant writing and who is a problem solver. Melinda adds the person should have a presence in the community, attending a lot of meetings out of the office, being a liaison to the county, a person that is available as issues arise with the county, and budgeting, she feels time needs to be given for these items to be done. Melinda asks the commissioners what other items are non-negotiable for the job.

Lenny said trust, skill to show the community that this is their government, financial skills with budgeting, to be able to take advantage of volunteers, someone who can go out to the towns in a non-threatening way and set something up for a minimal cost. Tristan feels that the person should have a skill to fit in the building as well, the candidate needs to be a team player and grant writing should be in the job description. Melinda feels that grant writing requires specific knowledge of the item they are writing about, so must be done in collaboration with those seeking the grant. Tristan believes the executive assistant could take over some additional administrative items to have the position be part-time. Tom feels that grant writing would be an added plus but he feels they are very different skills than the above mentioned items. Melinda asks if Commissioners feel the job would be full-time. Tristan states he is not certain and he feels the part-time model could work. He commends the executive assistant for all the duties that are completed, some of the burden could be taken off the County Manager, the work would go to the executive assistant, there is $63,500 in the manager’s budget line and $54,600 in the executive assistant’s line. He does not feel that there is a lot of money to pay the new applicant. Noreen feels it is a full-time job; she had been an acting County Manager previously. She feels all of the items that are required of the Manager as well as adding grant writing make the job a full-time job. Lenny adds he was the first County Manager the County ever had, unless you have held the position you have no idea how time consuming it really is. Melinda adds that when the Personnel sub-committee reviewed the job descriptions of the manager and the executive assistant, they felt the position of the executive assistant cannot add any additional job duties. Lenny feels this is the job and what the job pays, hopefully in the future a grant comes into the County to help increase the pay of the Manager’s position.

Russell adds while it is known he manages three people he has never had any problems staying busy. Martina has taken on much of the administrative support freeing up his time to tend to other issues. He had been asked to account for his time, special projects accounted for two-thirds of his time, with about one-third of his time going to administrative support.

Tom asks if the Commissioners are ready to create the search committee and give them directions. Melinda answers yes, and that they should place an ad for the position. Tom sees where Tristan is coming from for a part-time employee if there was no grant writing but with the Commission wanting a grant writer he feels it is a full-time job.

Tom/Lenny moved to place an ad for a full-time County Manager with grant writing experience. So moved. All in favor.

3. Budget
Melinda states that Noreen provided an update on the cost of the Maintenance of Effort (MoE). There is a substantial decrease in the MoE as FY2013 is the last year to pay. With the budget written as it currently is there is a surplus of $194,162. Also the $11,000 for the new computer service can be removed from the coversheet as it is already included in the Treasurer’s budget. These two figures combined leave the County with a surplus of $205,162.

John arrives at the meeting. 10:06 a.m.

Tristan/Lenny move to reduce the assessment to the Towns.

Russell adds another option is to change the IPM and Health Care Access programs back to 50%/50% split between the County and the Towns. Tom feels it should be kept at 90%/10% and reduce the assessment to the towns. Tristan agrees with Tom, he hopes to have a business plan in place for the IPM program prior to budgeting time next year.

Melinda calls for a vote.
The motion passed. Lenny, Tristan, Melinda and Tom – aye. John- abstained

Tristan/Lenny move to appoint the names listed on a letter for the DCC February 22, 2012 meeting to the Insurance Advisory Board. So Moved. Lenny, Tristan, Melinda – aye. John and Tom – abstained.


Lenny/Les moved to go into executive session pursuant to MGL Chapter 30A, section 21 (a) and section 21 (a) 10 – Energy procurement discussion. Lenny – aye, John – aye, Tristan – aye, Melinda – aye, Tom – aye. So voted.  All in favor.  

The meeting was adjourned at 10:14 a.m.   

Respectfully Submitted by:

JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts

Documents presented at the meeting and part of the official records:
  • Agenda
  • Email from Martina re: budget transfers
  • Clarification letter re: budget
  • County Manager job summary
  • Commissioner’s Questions for Applicants
  • MGL Chapter 34A, Section 18
  • County Manager and Exec. Assistant job descriptions
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