Oak Bluffs selectmen this week tried to broker a compromise solution in a heated dispute among town shellfishermen over the closing of Sengekontacket Pond to bay scalloping. Shellfish constable David Grunden opted to close the pond to scalloping this year because of a large number of seed scallops and small number of adult scallops. The decision was unanimously backed by the town shellfish committee.

On Tuesday night Kyle Peters, a commercial scalloper, asked selectmen to allow him to dive for scallops in Sengekontacket, arguing that he only takes adult scallops, not take seed . He said his method is unlike dragging for scallops, which brings up both seed and adults, and the seed must be thrown back.

“That’s environmentally safe, dragging, no,” Mr. Peters said. “If you don’t get them [the adult scallopes] they’re just going to die.”

Mr. Grunden said he stood by his decision to close the pond, and said he has the authority to do so under state law. He said Mr. Peters can appeal his decision to the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, which has formally closed the pond to scalloping.

The discussion descended briefly into shouted accusations, with Mr. Peters claiming the shellfish committee and the shellfish warden were trying to drive him out of business.

Mr. Grunden said over the years Mr. Peters has been disciplined for taking under-sized shellfish and once had his license suspended by the board of selectmen. “I’ve had issues with him before,” Mr. Grunden said. “I’m just asking him to play by the same rules.”

Selectmen took no action, except to ask the shellfish committee, the constable and Mr. Peters to try to work out a compromise and return to the board with recommendations.

In other business selectmen agreed to allow the town to share the services of building inspector Mark Barbadoro with the town of Aquinnah. Mr. Barbardoro proposed opening the Oak Bluffs building office one hour earlier, at 7:30 a.m., five days per week. That will allow him to work 40 hours for Oak Bluffs, and spend five hours in Aquinnah on Friday afternoons.

Mr. Barbadoro was questioned about his recent request to raise building fees in Oak Bluffs in order to hire more help, because the office cannot adequately cover its responsibility. He was asked if working in Aquinnah would reduce services in Oak Bluffs.

“I’m confident I can keep it going at the rate its going,” Mr. Barbadoro said. “In Oak Bluffs it’s not an ideal situation, because I don’t think Oak Bluffs is getting the service it deserves. I am still hoping we can get another guy, because it will really improve the outcomes for the people of Oak Bluffs.”

Also Tuesday, selectmen voted unanimously to increase the number of slots for senior “work off” tax abatements, from 10 to 15. Seniors can work for the town at minimum wage to offset their tax bill by up to $1,000.

“I have places to put them,” said human resources administrator Wendy Brough. “I can place three straight away. It’s very helpful.”

Town administrator Bob Whritenour said money is set aside that can be used for the program, and it will not negatively affect the town’s tax revenue.

Selectman Walter Vail offered an update on the new fire station construction project.

“The state fire marshal will be here Thursday, he’s got some things he has to sign off on,” Mr. Vail said. “We expect a certificate of occupancy by Monday. Things are coming together nicely. There are always hiccups, and the weather is not helping us.”

Mr. Vail said fire trucks and ambulances will move into the building soon after Thanksgiving.