Edgartown selectmen revamp dredge committee

Edgartown selectmen shook up the town’s dredge advisory committee at their Monday meeting. The changes come in the wake of a private dredging job done without local, state, or federal permits in January.

Norman Rankow, who resigned as chairman of the committee, admitted that he ordered the dredging for a construction client, without the knowledge of other dredge committee members, or any town officials He is now the subject of a state ethics commission probe.

Acting on the recommendation of town counsel Ronald Rappaport, the selectmen voted to change the make-up of the committee to include a member of the marine advisory committee, conservation commission, shellfish committee, and two at-large members. The harbormaster, shellfish constable, and conservation agent, who formerly sat on the committee, will now serve as advisors, with no vote.

“This will give us a new beginning,” selectman Margaret Serpa said. “What got lost in the process is that as a committee appointed by selectmen, I don’t know as we were always kept up to date as we should have been, and we weren’t always aware of what was going on.”

Current committee chairman David Nash said he was surprised and shocked by some of the changes. “I didn’t have a chance to comment on any of this,” Mr. Nash told selectmen. “I think you need to consider making it a department. Treat dredging like any other department. If you decide not to have a dredge, sell the thing.”

Selectman Art Smadbeck did not agree. “I like the plan,” he said. “We have plenty of dredging to do. We’re going to be operating a dredge for the foreseeable future.”

Selectmen said they will advertise for the volunteer positions, and appoint a new board in May.

In other action, selectmen revoked the annual alcohol licence issued to Il Tesoro, a South Water Street restaurant. Owner and chef A.J. Black did not respond to any notices, or attend a hearing, according to town officials.