New County Manager Starts Today
After more than eight months without a full-time county manager, all seven Dukes County commissioners signed a three-year, $71,750 contract with E. Winn Davis of Falmouth, the county's new manager, during a brief meeting last Thursday.
Mr. Davis, executive secretary of the town of Hanson, is to begin work at the county administration building today. A county department head meeting this morning will be his first piece of business.
For the next two to four weeks, Mr. Davis will split his time between Hanson and the Island during a transition period. According to the contract, his salary will be pro-rated until he begins work on a full-time basis.
The commissioners drafted Mr. Davis's contract in executive session on Aug. 28. At last week's meeting, the commissioners briefly discussed several changes to the contract before unanimously agreeing to it. Mr. Davis was not present at the meeting.
The one item that drew any debate was the number of sick days Mr. Davis will receive. According to the contract, "the county manager shall be granted a reasonable number of sick days per year."
"Am I the only one bothered by 'reasonable number of sick days?" asked Lenny Jason, commissioner form Chilmark.
"Should we define the number of sick days?" asked Roger Wey, commissioner from Oak Bluffs.
Dianne Powers, acting county manager and Dukes County register of deeds, said employees under the county personnel bylaws receive 1.25 sick days a month, totaling 15 days a year.
Robert Sawyer of Tisbury, county commission vice chairman, said the personnel bylaws do not apply to the county manager. "This is an exempt employee, we have discussed this. This is a person who as a chief executive should determine his own circumstances.... If he takes a day off, he takes a day off. If he works seven days a week, he works seven days a week. That is normal and typical in a chief executive position. There should not be a specific number of sick days [in the contract]," he said.
"I don't agree. I think it should be specified whether he takes it or not. 'Reasonable' is arbitrary," said Les Leland, commissioner from West Tisbury.
"I'm not concerned about abuse. What I'm concerned about is leadership. If the man is going to be the chief executive officer he should lead by example, and if 15 days a year is good enough for the employees of this county, it should be good enough for him," said Mr. Jason.
"I have dealt with an awful lot of chief executive contracts in my career. I have never, ever seen a contract for a CEO where you put in such details as the number of sick days," said Mr. Sawyer.
Mr. Jason and Mr. Leland ultimately deferred to Mr. Sawyer, and the commissioners signed the contract without changes.