Selectmen in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown are within their rights to make new appointments to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, but their process and choices suggest special interests are at play.

The unexpected naming of Brian Packish from Oak Bluffs and Ted Rosbeck from Edgartown, both businessmen closely aligned with real estate and development interests, was clearly a fait accompli by the time the selectmen met in public to announce their decisions.

In Oak Bluffs, selectman Brian Packish is a businessman who dabbles in real estate development and is part owner of the building that houses a prominent downtown restaurant. His Red Cat Restaurant redevelopment project was before the commission last year.

In Edgartown, Ted Rosbeck is the owner of a pool and spa construction company and a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Builders Association, a local lobby group for the construction trades. Late last year the builders association openly railed against the recent changes to the commission’s so-called development of regional impact checklist that will give the commission wider latitude in reviewing developments on the Vineyard.

It is difficult to see their appointments as anything but a not-so-subtle attempt to stack the deck at the regional planning agency, whose central mandate is to protect the unique resources on a fragile Island.

As the commission convenes a new year, it is facing a heavy docket of development projects. In Edgartown, major expansions of the Harbor View Hotel and Hob Knob Inn are riling neighbors who have deep concerns about commercial creep in the downtown historic village. In Vineyard Haven, the traditional working waterfront on Beach Road flanked by the deep-water harbor on one side and Lagoon Pond on the other is slated for much potential new development — from a massive commercial housing project at the old Hinckley’s lumberyard to a multi-million-dollar expansion at the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard.

All in various stages of planning, these projects will eventually land in front of the commission for review. And when they do, commissioners will be faced with nuanced evaluations and tough decision-making, always keeping the broader interests of the Vineyard in mind.

Nearly 50 years ago, the architects of the commission, established by the Massachusetts state legislature, wisely structured it to be a diverse mix of elected and appointed members. The nine members who are elected at large by Island voters every two years comprise the core of the regional body, followed by seven who are appointed annually, one by the selectmen in each of the six Island towns, and one by the Dukes County commission. One member is appointed by the Massachusetts governor.

In reviewing projects, every member is responsible for representing the whole Island — not a specific town or government agency. And while promoting sound Island economies is one factor commissioners must weigh, it is not the only one.

Can Mr. Packish and Mr. Rosbeck put aside personal interests to consider the greater good of the Island? Time will tell.