Tisbury selectmen select Jay Grande to be next town administrator

Tisbury selectman have offered John "Jay" W. Grande the job of town administrator. — Photo courtesy of John J. Grande

The Tisbury selectman agreed Tuesday to offer John “Jay” W. Grande the town administrator’s job. Mr. Grande is now the director of the planning board of Framingham, a position he has held for 16 years.

The vote followed a four-month search during which a group of more than 30 applicants was winnowed to three finalists. A search committee presented the three names to selectmen at their meeting on January 22. In addition to Mr. Grande, the short list included Sally Rizzo, project manager at the Massachusetts State Retirement Board, and Peter Graczykowski, city manager of the city of East Providence, R.I.

All three have close ties to Martha’s Vineyard. Ms. Rizzo and Mr. Graczykowski own homes on the Island. Selectmen interviewed the finalists Saturday at the town library.

Tuesday night, Tristan Israel, chairman of the selectman, suggested a straw vote to see where each selectman stood. Each said he thought all the candidates were qualified and would bring excellent, but different, skill sets to the job.

Selectman Jonathan Snyder said his first choice was Mr. Graczykowski.

“Everyone had great ideas,” selectman Jeffrey Kristal said. Mr. Kristal argued for Mr. Grande who, he said, understands seaside communities.

“What do we need?” Mr. Israel asked rhetorically. “We have been in an administrative vacuum, and we’re lacking a clear direction in personnel issues. Peter might be better at that.”

He said that he thought that in the long term, Mr. Grande might be the best choice because of his proven ability as a planner who has the skill set to bring ideas to completion. “That’s something we have had difficultly doing over the last couple of years.”

“If the negotiations don’t work out, we have two other excellent candidates to fall back on,” Mr. Israel said.

In a recent conversation with The Times, Mr. Grande said he views the Tisbury job as an opportunity for advancement and a chance to use the years of experience he has had working with all facets of municipal government, including local, state, and federal processes.

Mr. Grande has spent many summers on the Vineyard, some working in restaurants and construction. He said the Vineyard feels like home to him. He has friends and family on the Island and is a frequent visitor. He lived on the Island year-round with his young family in 1990. He has three grown children in their twenties.

Mr. Grande’s family bought a summer home in Oak Bluffs in 1977. They moved here year-round in 1981, when he was in college. His mother was a teacher and was elected to the Oak Bluffs planning board. His dad, retired from Raytheon, worked for the town of Oak Bluffs in the personnel office. His sisters attended Oak Bluffs School and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. In his spare time he likes to ski, golf, sail, bike, and other outdoor activities.

According to his resumé, he is responsible for managing professional staff and consultants for technical reviews and planning studies for Framingham, a town of almost 70,000.