Amid ongoing talks about the distribution of some $3 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Dukes County Commission pushed back this week against inquiries from the county advisory board over its own jurisdiction in the process.

At a Jan. 13 advisory board meeting, selectmen from Island towns criticized the commission’s current administrative process for the grants. A recording of the meeting shows Ms. Thornton informed the board that the county has yet to decide whether to use steering committee recommendations as a basis for grant approval, or continue to accept and review new applications.

“It just seems like the steering committee maybe wasted a lot of time,” West Tisbury advisory board representative Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd said.

Among other concerns, members of the advisory board took issue with the potential expenditure of around five per cent of ARPA funds for administrative costs.

“It sounds to me like they’re going to spend $150,000 of this money on CPAs and lawyers,” Edgartown representative Arthur Smadbeck said. “Seems like a waste of $150,000 of the windfall money.”

The advisory board requested a legal opinion on its level of authority over the final say of expenditures related to the ARPA funding. When Ms. Thornton updated the commission on the discussion Tuesday, some commissioners bristled.

Commissioner Tristan Israel accused the advisory board of “strong-arming” the county, and said the county had been highly deferential to the board in its process so far.

“We wanted to include the selectmen and not do what they often do to us,” he said.

Others urged commissioners to watch a recording of the advisory board meeting before jumping to conclusions.

“Let’s give it a chance,” commissioner John Cahill said. “Let’s watch the MVTV [recording] and decide.”

Commission chairman Christine Todd said she would contact the advisory board to discuss the situation and try to sort the issues out.

“I think we’re doing everything we need to do,” she said. “I’ll reach out to the chair of the county advisory board and update you guys next week.”

In other business Wednesday, the commission updated its vaccination policy for county employees, potentially changing the definition of fully vaccinated.

County employees must currently be vaccinated under the county’s policy with either a one-dose Covid-19 vaccine or the full schedule of a two-dose vaccine. On Wednesday, commissioners approved a change in the policy to reflect the department of health’s definition.

“This will . . . assure we keep with what it means to be fully vaccinated according to the department of health,” county manager Martina Thornton said.

The current health department definition of fully vaccinated does not include boosters. But some county commissioners predicted that will change in the near future.

“I’m happy to vote for this,” commissioner Keith Chatinover said.

The vaccination policy covers 20 county employees including janitors, registry of deeds employees and those in all county offices.