At their regular meeting last week, the Chilmark selectmen took up the ordinarily routine business of making annual appointments and used the opportunity to make some changes.
Selectmen considered 48 staff appointments and the makeup of some 26 committees.
In the end they eliminated one staff position and postponed reappointing the town clerk, the assistant to the executive secretary and receptionist who also serves as the assistant town clerk and the plumbing and gas inspector.
The position of shellfish constable — held for 20 years by longtime fisherman Stanley Larsen — has been eliminated. Last year selectmen reconfigured the town shellfish department by creating a shellfish advisory committee and full-time shellfish propagation officer. The changes were approved by voters at the 2007 annual town meeting. Later the selectmen reduced the constable’s weekly hours from 20 to 14.
Last Tuesday the board voted to eliminate the position, effective June 30. “We have made a lot of changes over the past 12 months, adding a full-time [shellfish] propagation officer, and now we just need to review how all the positions fit together,” selectman Warren Doty said following the meeting. Mr. Larsen was not present at the meeting Tuesday.
The duties of constable will now fall to shellfish propagation officer Isaiah Scheffer who is also the assistant shellfish constable. The position of assistant constable was not eliminated.
In other appointment business, Annette Anthony, the assistant to the executive secretary and receptionist has been placed on probation for 90 days, and her reappointment will be discussed when the probation period ends in July. The reasons for the probation have not been made public and were discussed in executive session. “I expect she’ll be reappointed no problem,” board chairman Frank Fenner said following the meeting.
Selectmen also postponed reappointing town clerk Margaret Orlando due to disciplinary matters. The clerk was suspended for a few days this past March. In 2004, she was also disciplined following complaints from coworkers. Selectmen gave no explanation and said the issue remains in executive session.
The reappointment of Leonard Jason Jr. as plumbing and gas inspector was also delayed, due to Mr. Jason’s reportedly gruff demeanor with the public. “I am concerned about his representation of the town to the public,” Mr. Fenner said at the meeting. Mr. Fenner said he will discuss the issue with Mr. Jason, who is also the Chilmark building inspector and a town assessor.
Also, the board reconfigured the community center advisory committee and eliminated an appointee to the skate park committee after learning that Chilmark was the only town sending a member. They also thanked Jim Morgan for his service on many town boards. Mr. Morgan most recently served on the harbor advisory committee, but announced he would not seek reappointment this year. The board discussed eliminating their mooring assignment committee and will hold a public hearing on the subject on June 17 at the town hall.
Currently openings still exist on the community preservation committee, the housing committee, the beach committee, the harbor advisory committee, the cable television advisory committee and the MVTV board. An alternate is needed for the zoning board of appeals.