Tisbury selectmen mint new police chief

Israel axes MVC director’s report mid-delivery, old fire station lot takes criticism.

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Mark Saloio, second from left, was unanimously appointed as Tisbury's new police chief at Tuesday's selectmen's meeting. The selectmen, from left: Tristan Israel, Melinda Loberg and Jim Rogers. — Rich Saltzberg

Updated Oct. 12

Tisbury selectmen signed former Sturbridge Police Lt. Mark Saloio to a three-year contract as the town’s next chief of police Tuesday night.

Saloio will start at $155,000 per year with the stipulation he does not need to live in Tisbury, just in one of the six Vineyard towns. He also received a $2,000 relocation stipend.

Saloio previously came before the board for a public interview on Sept. 13. At the conclusion of the interview, the selectmen voted to authorize the town administrator Jay Grande to begin contract negotiations with Saloio. Those negotiations bore fruit on Tuesday with Saloio’s designation as chief. Lt. Eerik Meisner and several members of the Tisbury police force were present for Saloio’s ascension to top cop, as were members of Saloio’s family.

As Worcester-area paper The Landmark reported, Saloio went head to head with former  Tisbury Police Officer Nicholas Monaco for police chief of Rutland last year, with Monaco getting the job.

Selectmen also beefed up the department’s depleted ranks by unanimously appointing Johnathan Goeckel. He recently graduated from the Massachusetts State Police Academy, and was recommended by outgoing Chief Daniel Hanavan.

The board went on to slog through edits to waterways regulations, projecting draft language with various crossed-out passages on a screen behind where they sat. Only a skeleton crew of local mariners, as well as a small percentage of the harbor management committee, were in the audience to weather the tedium of over an hour of what appeared to be committee and administrative work executed at a public meeting.

After waiting in the audience two hours to go before the board, Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) executive director Adam Turner, gave a truncated annual report to the the selectmen — truncated because Turner was given the vaudeville hook by chairman Tristan Israel when his multi-subject report touched upon Beach Road design.

Turner had begun to explain that the safety of children bicycling on Beach Road, among other things, was of concern to the MVC, when Israel cut him off.

“Let me just finish,” Turner said.

“I’m sorry. We have a very full agenda,” Israel said.

Turner managed to get a few additional points across, and also to pledge commission assistance to Tisbury on Beach Road matters, should the town ask for it, before he was obliged to relinquish the floor.

Israel thanked Turner for his appearance and apologized for “hustling him along.”

Before Israel went to another topic, MVC chairman Jim Vercruysse, who’d also waited hours in the audience, piped up, “I just wanted to go on record as saying that the commission unanimously voted to support the SUP [shared-use path] project. And we think it’s going to be a great thing for the Island — for the town of Tisbury and the whole Island. I think it would be a really great first step to connect the two towns in a safe way.”

The Beach Road SUP has been a contentious issue in town for months, with several property owners asking selectmen to scrap the plan and go with a symmetrical design on Beach Road instead.

Asked after the meeting about cutting the MVC director short, Israel emailed, “He got to say what he needed to say. I did not want to get into a lengthy discussion about Beach Road, of which we have had many, as it was late and we were going to meet with the Finance Committee at 6:30.”

A very short joint meeting with the finance committee was held. Former selectman Larry Gomez was voted onto the finance committee to fill a recent vacancy. Gomez was then authorized to be the committee’s collective bargaining representative.

When they returned to regular session, the selectmen took up buying land to facilitate the SUP project, land near Beach Road restaurant. The land would help make a bike path.

Grande described it as a property that would “eventually connect Beach Road to Lagoon Pond Road eventually through Tisbury Wharf.”

“I’m not in favor of the commission plan that the commission is in favor of, but I am in favor of that bike lane,” Israel said.

Selectman Jim Rogers came out against the idea.

“Even if we buy this property, we haven’t completed the link all the way to Lagoon Pond Road,” Rogers said. “So we’re buying a property in hopes we can complete a link that we may never complete, and I just think it’s a waste of money.”

Selectmen Melinda Loberg said it wasn’t as cut-and-dried as that. Among other things, she said, the application for CPC funds is really designed to “open the door for grant applications. It’s not designed to have the town taxpayers fund the rest of it.”

The board voted 2-1 to approve the application for CPC funds for the parcel, though no price was mentioned.

Tisbury shellfish constable Danielle Ewart told the board warm water necessitated a later start to the bay scallop season this year. The board unanimously approved the following dates:

For Vineyard Haven Harbor, outer Vineyard Haven Harbor and outside the ponds: Oct. 13 for recreational and Oct. 15 for commercial. For Lagoon Pond, Oct. 27 for recreational and Oct. 29 for commercial. For Tashmoo, Nov. 17 for recreational and Dec. 3 for commercial.

Ewart cautioned not to expect the bumper harvest of last year.

“I just want to also add the caveat that we’re not going to have a great scallop year this year,” she said. “It was a great year for growing seed, and we did grow a lot, but it is not going to be an exceptionally great scallop year. And I’ve talked with other constables about it and they’re also in the same boat — it’s not just Vineyard Haven.”

In other business, harbormaster John Crocker told the board he intended to apply for a Seaport Economic Grant, similar to the one that facilitated the Lake Street Landing rehabilitation, for a redo of the Owen Park Pier. The board unanimously approved the undertaking.

The board discussed the site of the former Tisbury Fire Station on State Road, which is now used for inexpensive parking.

Grande told the board leases there are first come, first served.

“We’ve paid for the demolition three times over,” he said.

“You’re reaping a whopping $3.28 a day for 24-hour parking within walking distance of the Steamship Authority,” Fire Chief John Schilling, a member of the traffic roadway safety committee, said after waiting almost three hours to speak. “I think you could be a little more competitive than that.”

The board declined to vote in a rate increase, but did vote to extend the current leases until it can further review the matter.

Updated to correct the town where Monaco spent most of his time on Island and also where he competed with Saloio for police chief. -Ed.