Dukes County leaders takes energy talks out of public view

Dukes County leaders takes energy talks out of public view

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An agenda item, “energy procurement,” listed for executive session at the Dukes County Commission meeting on Wednesday, drew an objection from veteran county commissioner John Alley. Mr. Alley said the matter properly belonged in open session.

Present for the discussion were executives of the Cape and Vineyard Energy Cooperative (CVEC), as well as Peter Cabana, the county’s representative to CVEC.

CVEC is assisting Edgartown and Tisbury in the development of solar panel projects.

Prior to moving into executive session, commission chairman Melinda Loberg of Tisbury cited an exception to the state’s open meeting law that allows a government body to discuss “trade secrets or confidential, competitively sensitive or other proprietary information provided in the course of activities conducted by a governmental body as an energy supplier… or municipal aggregator.”

“It’s a proposed contract, we don’t know yet,” Ms. Loberg said when asked by The Times to clarify the reason for the executive session.

In the roll call vote required by law, Ms. Loberg, Tristan Israel, who is also a Tisbury selectman, Lenny Jason of Chilmark, and Tom Hallahan of Oak Bluffs voted to discuss the matter secretly. Mr. Alley dissented.

“I don’t believe it should be in executive session,” Mr. Alley said. He left the meeting, declining to take part.

Mr. Jason pursued Mr. Alley as he walked to his car and persuaded the Island’s longest serving county commissioner to return.

CVEC manages a comprehensive bidding and contract process for member towns building solar energy projects. Mr. Cabana has been pushing county and state officials to establish solar arrays on airport and State Forest property.

Commissioners Carlene Gatting of Edgartown and Les Leland of West Tisbury did not attend the meeting. Mr. Hallahan participated by video conference from Jordan, where he is on a teaching assignment.