West Tisbury to study new police station
West Tisbury selectmen approved the formation of a committee to plan a new police station. The town will advertise for volunteers to serve on the committee.
Selectmen Diane Powers and Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter voted last week to form the committee. Richard Knabel voted no.
The vote came against the background of the retirement on April 13 of long-time police Chief Beth Toomey. Last month, selectmen approved the appointment of Sgt. Dan Rossi as acting chief.
Mr. Knabel argued that the new police chief should be actively involved in the planning process. "We need to find a new police chief," he said. "It would be unfair to whomever that person should be. They should have a major role in the project from the beginning."
Mr. Knabel also cited a presentation by Chuck Hodgkinson, chairman of the former space needs committee, that included a timeline for the construction of a new station. "Nothing is going to happen for another four years," he said.
Selectman Dianne Powers said that nothing would happen quickly. "It is going to take the committee the first six months to a year to gather the needed information," she said. "The capital improvements committee for a couple of years has been asking us to get this committee going." She added that there will be plenty of time for the new police chief to advise the committee.
Mr. Knabel also objected to Mr. Manter, a West Tisbury police sergeant, voting on the motion. He said that as a police department employee, Mr. Manter should be ineligible to vote on the issue of committee formation. Ms. Powers disagreed.
In other business, Bruce MacNelly, in a letter to the selectmen, resigned from the town hall renovation committee. Selectmen took the opportunity to downsize the committee from six to five. The selectmen thanked Mr. MacNelly for his service.