MVC must plan for an aging Island


To the Editor:

It’s clear from the recently published job description that the future leadership of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission is critical to the future of the Island.

The commissioners and their recruiting consultant, the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston, have done an excellent job of describing the Island, the ideal candidate for a new executive, and the process for selection.

The MVC lists key critical issues for the new executive: transportation, water quality, affordable housing, coastal planning, economic development, historic preservation, and regulation of development.

However, what it does not do is include the critical issue of social planning. The MVC is not responding to the explosive changes in the social environment being caused by the exponential growth of the baby boomer population.

In 2010, one in six Islanders was 65 or older. By 2030 — less than 15 years from now — one in three Islanders will be 65 and older (Donahue Institute, UMass).

This growth puts pressure on absolutely every aspect of Island life, not only our transportation and housing, but all the services which support living on this Island, and the infrastructure which makes this Island such an attractive home.

The new MVC executive must be able to help the county, the towns, the business community, major stakeholders, and all community members understand, plan for, and develop new solutions to these challenges. He or she must be a leader, able to bring diverse groups, personalities, and generations together in a sustained and collegial way.

This process starts now. We urge the MVC to: include social planning as a priority in planning and financial resources in its 2016 budget; amend the job description to include planning for the social environment (as well as natural); and seek candidates with the experience and capacity to meet new challenges with openness and new ideas about how people of different generations can work together to improve Island life.

Patricia “Paddy” Moore


Healthy Aging Task Force