Tisbury town moderator Deborah Medders has one more annual town meeting to go before the end of her eighth and final three-year term. Ms. Medders recently announced she would not run again for moderator, a position she has held since 1999.

“It is a thought process I began prior to my last reelection [in 2020],” Ms. Medders told the Gazette this week. “The town was beginning a public process, including town meetings, for the Tisbury School building project, and I realized I wanted to serve the town as its moderator through the approval process.”

Ms. Medders has been a full-time Island resident since 1988. While three other candidates vied for the moderator job during her first election in 1999, she has run unopposed ever since.

“I took it as a compliment,” she said.

A mediator by profession, Ms. Medders spent more than 25 years with Martha’s Vineyard Mediation and still does some work in the field, she said.

The election of a new moderator this year will free her from the yoke of impartiality she has worn for more than two decades, abstaining from casting her own town meeting vote or even breaking a tie — an option under state law that Ms. Medders has chosen not to exercise.

“The first time I was sworn in, I went on record saying that I would not [cast a tie-breaking vote],” she said. “I’ve set that standard for myself of neutrality.”

The town moderator’s job is pivotal to a form of government Ms. Medders views with reverence.

“I am actually in awe of the town meeting and government by the people,” she said. “[I]n my role as moderator... I sort of took my awe and, I think, assisted the town meeting floor and registered voters to participate in their legislative process.”

“I hope individuals have come to realize that they hold incredible power in a vote,” she added.

Asked what words she might have for Tisbury residents considering a run for moderator, Ms. Medders advised following the voters’ lead.

“The town meeting floor, I have found over the years, is very smart,” she said. “They want their meeting conducted in a fashion that allows people to speak and to take care of the town business in a time-efficient manner, [while] maintaining civility.”

“One learns the statutes, one learns the town bylaws governing town meting, and then you look to your town meeting floor.”