Incumbent selectman versus ZBA chairman
Tisbury voters will decide a race for a seat on the three-member board of selectmen Tuesday. Incumbent selectman Tom Pachico faces a challenge from Jeff Kristal.
The polls are open from noon to 8 pm on Tuesday at the American Legion Hall opposite the Tisbury School.
Tom Pachico, who is seeking a fourth three-year term, is deeply entrenched in Tisbury affairs. He grew up in Tisbury, attended Tisbury School, graduated from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and is employed by the town.
Mr. Pachico has worked for the Tisbury board of health as town health agent for 15 years. He also owns Pachico Septic Inspections, a private business service.
Mr. Pachico has served on numerous town and regional boards. He currently is a member of the embarkation fee committee that is charged with recommending how to spend money derived from a 50-cent per passenger fee on ferry tickets.
Mr. Pachico, with the votes of his fellow selectmen, has also served multiple two-year terms as the town’s self-appointed representative to the Steamship Authority port council since 2002. He represents the town at monthly port council meetings. The position includes the benefit of free SSA travel.
Jeff Kristal was born in Boston and grew up in Burlington. He graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration.
After vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard for many years, he and his wife Jynell left the corporate world and moved to the Vineyard in 1998 to pursue her dream of running a bed and breakfast business on the Island. They own and operate the Crocker House Inn in Vineyard Haven.
Mr. Kristal, a civilian member of the Tisbury Ambulance Association and a past president of the Tisbury Business Association, has been active in town and Island affairs.
He is treasurer of the Dukes County Charter Study Committee and chairman of the Tisbury zoning board of appeals, on which he has served since 2002.
This week The Times asked each candidate to provide email responses to four questions:
Why are you running for election (re-election), and why do you think you are the best candidate?
Mr. Kristal: I am running for Selectman because I have the experience and desire to do so. Having served on many town committees, boards and projects, as well as County-wide elected office, I feel we need someone that is not so entrenched in the past but someone who can move the town forward in a positive, constructive, and non-confrontational way. One challenge facing us is moving Tisbury into the future while retaining those important characteristics of the town that we have all come to identify with. We need someone that can repair the lines of communication so we can move forward and I feel I am the best candidate for that.
Mr. Pachico: I decided to run again because there are several projects that are important to the town that need to be completed...such as the affordable housing projects on Lake St. and Lambert’s Cove Rd., which are now entering the final stretch. I believe that all departments should be held accountable for their actions and spending habits. I believe it is up to the selectman to see that all departments make sure taxpayers get the best bang for the buck, and that projects get done on time and at the cost voted on at town meeting.
I am on top of ongoing projects and take my position seriously. I am available to everyone, and regularly receive calls at home on a vast array of suggestions and complaints. I am a strong advocate for our town, and never afraid to fight the hard battles on your behalf. I tell it like it is, not just what people want to hear. No one will ever have to figure out what I really mean when I talk. We may not always agree, but I will listen. Sometimes the best course of action for the town is not the most popular one.
How would you advise voters as they consider the sale of beer and wine in Tisbury restaurants?
Mr. Kristal: Educate, educate, and educate themselves on all the facts of beer and wine sales in Tisbury restaurants. It’s important that all voters have a better than "good" understanding of all the rules and regulations, ramifications and viewpoints being made on both sides of this contentious issue and then make a well-informed decision based on fact. Tisbury voters are well educated and informed on many issues that affect them, be it the war, healthcare, education, energy conservation, or technology, and I expect this too will be a topic discussed well after a vote is taken on the 15th.
Mr. Pachico: I would advise the voters of Tisbury to fight for what you believe in and vote your own opinion, which is why I insisted the vote be on the ballot and not at town meeting, so that no one would feel pressured to vote what they don’t believe in. I will abide by the wishes of the town, either way the vote goes.
Tisbury continues to face increasing costs. Please outline some of your solutions to control costs and restrain the tax burden placed on town property owners.
Mr. Kristal: The first priority is to keep Tisbury affordable for all residents, both young and elderly, while keeping a vibrant business economy bringing revenue in. Tisbury’s budget is being squeezed and it will take financial discipline and restraint during these tough economic times, which many believe will continue into the near future.
As a resident and business owner in Tisbury, I have to work within financial constraints, make proper capital allocations, prepare and adhere to budgets, and make hard and sometimes unpopular decisions. These decisions do not only impact my business but my family as well and during these times sacrifices must be made. I have that discipline now and would apply it in the future as a Selectman. We are being faced with some costly decisions in the very near future. A new emergency facilities building, combining town offices, the unfunded liabilities of pensions and healthcare benefits, and the declining enrollment in the school to name just a few. Committees have been formed, studying has been done, and shelving good ideas should be a thing of the past, we need to face these issues today. We need to take a fresh look at all ways to generate new revenue other than raising taxes. The time to act is now.
Mr. Pachico: We have a very good financial team in Tisbury, as is reflected by our financial health. We have aggressively paid down debt to be able to handle other important needs. I thank all the people involved and promise to continue to work with them and heed their advice. I will continue to look at the tax rate with the working class in mind, as I have always known what it’s like struggling to pay my monthly bills. I have four children fighting to live on this Island (their home), and will do whatever I can to give them and the rest of our young people every opportunity possible to stay here.
The incumbent in this contest is a town employee, the town’s appointed representative on the Steamship Authority port council, a member of the embarkation fee committee and a business owner. The challenger is a Tisbury business owner and an elected member of the Dukes County charter study commission. Should it be an issue for voters that selectmen often wear several hats?
Mr. Kristal: Voters have an expectation to be represented in the best-informed, transparent, and non-conflicting way possible, be it real or perceived. Elected officials have an obligation to be prepared and committed to be just that, transparent, informed, above reproach, and without conflict.
Wearing many hats in the same town may present a perceived conflict, whether real or not. My election to the Dukes County Charter Study Commission back in November of 2006 is over by law on May 5th of this year. If elected to the Board of Selectman I would voluntarily tender my resignation from the Tisbury Zoning Board of Appeals and its chairmanship. When it comes to serving on boards and committees in Tisbury, other than those deemed so by statute, a Selectman should step aside and appoint qualified candidates. Serving two masters is not best. Self-appointed positions such as the above-mentioned Steamship Authority Tisbury port council representative, should have a transparent process in the selection and appointment of that individual. Qualified individuals that have the time, dedication, commitment, and necessary skills to communicate to both the appointing authority and the town’s residents must feel comfortable stepping forward to be considered for such appointments without feeling that they will be overlooked by a self-appointment.
Mr. Pachico: I think you should ask accurate questions, and leave off the usual slant. My job is health agent, which puts me on top of things going on in the town, and allows people to have my ear. The port council position allows the selectmen to have firsthand insight and input, as well as a pre-screening of upcoming projects, schedules, and policy changes.
Have the controversies of old slowed way down? I get free travel while I’m the port council representative, most of it on town business, for which I use more than two-and-a-half weeks of vacation time each year. My "business" ownership consists of a couple of shovels that I use to dig up septic systems and do Title V inspections in other towns, so that I may be able to pay my bills...it’s called a "second job." Yes it should be an issue for voters that selectmen hold other appointments. All three of us do, and that shows that the three of us are concerned and involved, and not passing our responsibilities off to others.
No member of the public or press has attended a port council meeting in over two years, so how much interest is there from "other more qualified people?" By the way, Mr. Kristal was appointed as a member of the police advisory committee, from which he resigned, and he is currently also the chairman of the zoning board of appeals. Remember the rooster?