County Manager Announces Retirement


After giving a report on the fiscal health of county government,
Dukes County manager Carol Borer announced Wednesday evening that she
will retire from the position she has held since 1997.

The statement caught county commissioners off guard: "Well,
that's a surprise," said John Alley of West Tisbury.

Ms. Borer will take advantage of an early-retirement incentive
program that entitles her to benefits she otherwise would not receive
for another five years. "I put a lot of thought into this and I
believe it's something I need to take advantage of," she

A West Tisbury resident, Ms. Borer said the terms of the incentive
program require her to resign by year's end. But she added that it
would be legal for her to stay beyond year's end on a contract
basis, giving the county time to find a replacement.

After that, Ms. Borer said, she hopes to travel.

"On the positive side, she's willing to stay on until we
find a replacement," said chairman Leslie Leland.

"It doesn't leave the county in a bad position at all in
this regard," commissioner Bob Sawyer told the Gazette Thursday.
"Carol has volunteered and assured us that she will stay on as
long as we need her."

Mr. Sawyer also complimented the outgoing county manager for her
five-plus years of service and hard work.

Ms. Borer is leaving at a time when the county is strong
financially. Before the unexpected announcement, accountant Christian
Rogers of Sullivan and Powers reported that the county's balance
sheet was in order.

There was no showing of weakness, he said, and the county's
unreserved balance of about 10 per cent of revenue is good -
enough to get the county through hard times but not so much as to make
the county appear to be hoarding cash.

The main issue that the county must confront in the years ahead,
said Mr. Rogers, is inventorying tangible assets like buildings,
equipment and land.

"Our financial statements are going to change and look more
like private enterprise," said county treasurer Noreen Mavro

Currently, Ms. Flanders said, only cash and receivables are listed.
She said new balance sheets will be required for fiscal year 2004.

The county has come a great distance since Ms. Borer's
appointment. In 1997, the Gazette reported that "the threat of
county abolishment is still pending, and several, if not all, of a
manager's responsibilities may be eliminated."

Ms. Borer assumed the post that September, after a state legislative
committee had voted to preserve county government on-Island.

At the time, she said, "The county charter government is
fairly new to the Island. There's quite a bit of networking and
learning that needs to be transported countywide and, based on the
legislative move of granting us another year, I think we have a lot of
work to do to prove to the state that we can manage ourselves
effectively and efficiently."

In a telephone conversation yesterday, Ms. Borer said the budget was
unbalanced five years ago. "The county departments at that time
were rather unorganized, and goals for the future had really not been
worked on or set," she said.

Her job, she added, has been to strengthen the county, and she
believes that she has done that - balancing the budget and
increasing regional programs and services.

For example, she said, the county is collaborating with Island fire,
police, and EMS departments to find a site on which to construct a
public safety training facility. She also said she is working with the
sheriff on plans to build a new jail and a community corrections

A new corrections building, Ms. Borer said, would house education
space for substance abuse programs.

Other projects underway, she said, are creating community meeting
space on the county's New York avenue property and obtaining new
funding sources.

"I say that the county charter speaks to providing services to
the towns and residents as needed, and I think that the county should
continue pursing that goal," said Ms. Borer.

As it was five years ago, some critics question the role of and even
the need for county government. Ms. Borer acknowledged that some mending
with the Island selectmen is required.

She said there was confusion surrounding last year's vote for
the Island's Steamship Authority governor. "I think that
caused a rift among county commissioners, it caused a rift among boards
of selectmen and has caused uncertainty in their minds about the
viability of the county," she said.

"I think it really is just a matter of time before there is
this collaboration and feeling of being able to work together and the
county being put in a positive light again."

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Borer spent nine years with the
Martha's Vineyard Commission - four as executive director
and five as a regional planner and coastal zone manager.