Ms. Scott leads Oak Bluffs selectmen
Peter Forend named fire chief
In their first meeting in more than a month, the Oak Bluffs selectmen elected Kerry Scott chairman and appointed Peter Forend fire chief. In addition, the selectmen referred two town projects to the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) as developments of regional impact (DRI).
They chose Ms. Scott unanimously, and they voted Ron DiOrio vice chairman. Ms. Scott, who will take over the chairmanship from Duncan Ross, was reelected to the board by a wide margin at the town elections two weeks ago.
Ms. Scott didn't say much after the vote, but she received a hearty round of applause from the audience. She refused to take the gavel Tuesday, saying she would assume official responsibility the following morning.
The decision to pass the chairmanship on to Ms. Scott comes from virtually the same board that passed her over for that job last year. Mr. Ross, selectman Greg Coogan, and former selectman and current town administrator Michael Dutton voted against making Ms. Scott chairman last year. Selectman Roger Wey was the only one to vote in her favor. Mr. DiOrio has succeeded Mr. Dutton, who is not the town's administrator.
Ms. Scott said at the time that she was passed over for the chairmanship because she differed with the selectmen publicly at the annual town meeting over a proposal for a land swap. Mr. DiOrio is the town's newest selectman, and was strongly supported by Ms. Scott and long-time Oak Bluffs political veteran Linda Marinelli.
A new chief
Also unanimously, the selectmen chose Mr. Forend to take over the fire department when Dennis Alley retires July 1. Selectmen whittled down a field of five local applicants to two finalists, and made their final selection when the board publicly interviewed Mr. Forend and fellow candidate Tony Ferreira Tuesday night.
Both candidates have been with the Oak Bluffs all-volunteer fire department for several decades, and both agreed that whoever was chosen, the town would be well served. Selectmen proposed a series of identical questions to each candidate, and the pair agreed that the town would benefit from a full-time chief, but differed when it came to regionalization.
"You have to weigh the safety end with the saving end, and I don't think you save money with regionalization," Mr. Ferreira said.
Mr. Forend said regionalization could work in the future. "The Island could benefit from a full-time Island fire department," he said.
After the vote, Mr. Ferreira gave a congratulatory pat on the back to Mr. Forend, who returned in November from a 15-month tour of duty in Kuwait. While in Kuwait, Mr. Forend served as a fire chief for his unit, the Army National Guard's 3rd-126th Aviation, Blackhawk helicopter unit, out of Camp Edwards, Calif. He had trained state-side for a few months at Fort Dix before heading to where his unit was based in Kuwait, about 20 miles from the border of Iraq.
Mr. Forend spent three years on active duty in the U.S. Army and then joined the Army National Guard, serving a total of 24 years. He is the general manager at Bruno's, a trash hauling business in Edgartown.
On Tuesday, selectmen revisited a previous discussion about a potential daycare facility on Ryan's Way. Valci Carvalho, the pastor of the Assembleia de Deus Nova Vida church, came before the selectmen last month to apply for a permit to run a child daycare center out of the church. The hospital asked the church to host their daycare facility during its reconstruction phase.
At the time, selectmen raised concerns about a business being run out of a church, how the facility turned into a church in the first place, and rumors of it being used as a boarding house.
Selectmen enlisted the help of town counsel Ron Rappaport, who advised that the selectmen cannot rule either way on the use of the church as a daycare facility, but they can refer the church to the MVC as a DRI, due to the increased parking that a daycare would incur. Selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday to do just that.
A project to expand the baseball facilities at Veira Park was also referred to the MVC. At town meeting, voters agreed to spend $200,000 in Community Preservation Ave funds to add an additional field, parking, and concession stand to the park.
A circulating petition against the project has over 100 signatures. "We are not opposed to Little League baseball, but strongly feel this is not the right place for the Project as there are other more appropriate alternatives and the high expense is not one the citizens should bear," the petition reads.