County commissioners and manager agree on terms of his departure
Almost two months after the county manager submitted his letter of resignation (available here), the Dukes County commissioners reached agreement with Winn Davis on the language of a letter by which they formally accept his resignation.
This week, Mr. Davis downplayed earlier reports of any disagreement or reluctance on his part to sign a mutual release agreement. He said a misunderstanding by the county's lawyer, Michael Gilman, led to a first draft of a letter that did not accurately reflect the dates of his departure or the agreed upon terms
Although the letter references job claims, Mr. Davis said he does not know what he might have said that would have led anyone to think he was contemplating a job action. "I had no intention of suing," said Mr. Davis.
Mr. Davis said that once he received the release he told the commissioners that he wanted to make a few changes. They met, and he signed it, he said. "I resigned, they accepted. It's that simple," said Mr. Davis. "I've been happy."
The letter (available here), dated July 6 and signed by the seven county commissioners, acknowledges "receipt and acceptance" of Mr. Davis's resignation. It specifies the terms under which he will depart. Although the resignation date is September 14, four weeks of vacation time will make his last workday August 17.
The letter includes language stating that the terms satisfy any employment claims Mr. Davis may assert against the county. The agreement also states that the commissioners and Mr. Davis will not "disparage the other in public statements concerning matters of integrity, reputation and/or character."
In their letter, the commissioners thank Mr. Davis for his accomplishments on behalf of the residents of Dukes County during his three-year tenure and express appreciation that he provided the county with "sufficient notice and lead time so as to enable completion of ongoing projects and allow for a smooth transition."
The seven county commissioners are chairman Paul Strauss of Oak Bluffs, vice chairman Leslie Leland of West Tisbury, John Alley of West Tisbury, Roger Wey of Oak Bluffs, Lenny Jason Jr. of Chilmark, Tristan Israel of Tisbury, and Carlene Gatting of Edgartown.
Mr. Davis delivered his one-page resignation letter at a meeting of the Dukes County commissioners on May 23. He said that he believed in the future of county government, but that his presence had become a distraction.
His resignation comes almost three and a half years after he signed a contract on Sept. 3, 2003 that paid him $79,194 annually to be the county's chief executive.
Mr. Davis's resignation was made against the backdrop of an ongoing, thorough, and far-ranging examination of county government by a specially created county charter study commission elected last fall and headed by William F. O'Brien 3rd of Oak Bluffs, a retired lawyer and New York State Supreme Court justice.
As part of a continuing series, tonight at 7 pm tonight in the Tisbury Senior Center, the study commission will host the second of three public forums on the future of county government.
The speakers will include representatives from Franklin and Hampshire counties. Some years ago both communities decided to replace county government with regional councils of governments.