The Dukes County commission finished interviewing candidates for the position of county manager Wednesday evening, as two out of five finalists — Martina Thornton and Jessica Burgoyne — took the floor. The other three finalists were interviewed Monday evening. The interviews were open to the public.

Mrs. Thornton is currently executive assistant to the county manager, and Mrs. Burgoyne is property manager for the Morgan Woods affordable housing development. Candidates interviewed Monday included Christopher Knowles, health director for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and Jeffrey Madison, an attorney on the Island. Katherine Rogers, also interviewed Monday evening, is an attorney for Merrimack County in New Hampshire. She is the only off-Island candidate.
“We are looking for someone who will manage the programs of the county and establish a presence in the community,” said Melinda Loberg, chairman of the county commission. “We need someone who will work to provide services the Island needs without additional cost.” The county manager position is full-time and pays an annual salary of $62,000.
 The candidates, each allotted a half hour, were first invited to share any preliminary information with the commissioners regarding their suitability for the position. Then each of the five candidates was asked a series of nine questions. Candidates were asked about their experience with preparing a budget, grant writing and collaborating with community members and government leaders.
Noreen Mavro Flanders, current county treasurer and interim county manager, said grant-writing skills are a top priority due to a changing economic climate. “Some things are coming down the road that weren’t there five years ago,” she said.
Following the interviews, commissioners ranked the candidates one to five on slips of paper. The results of the tally will be announced Wednesday at 5 p.m. as commissioners convene to discuss three finalists in public and make a final decision. The tally information will not be available to the commissioners or the public before Wednesday evening.
The previous county manager, Russell Smith, resigned May 1. He held the position for four years. After receiving 19 applications in late April, the search committee, chaired by commissioner Carlene Gatting, narrowed the candidate pool from nine to five finalists via interviews conducted mid-May.