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Tisbury selectmen review response to January blizzard

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The town of Tisbury’s response to the blizzard of Jan. 26–28 was up for discussion throughout the Tisbury board of selectmen’s Tuesday-night meeting, with several town officials questioning whether the town could have done better at clearing roadways and emergency facilities.

Police Lieutenant Eerik Meisner, who serves as the town’s emergency management director, submitted a three-page report summarizing preparation and handling of the storm, titled “Blizzard Impact Statement.” Lt. Meisner was scheduled to discuss the report, but was called away to respond to a police call.

“Certain responses were very well done, others needed better coordination,” town administrator John “Jay” Grande said. “There are efficiencies that could be realized. Understanding it was an historic storm and quite a challenge, and there would be issues with a storm of this magnitude, I do think there were areas where some additional planning and effort would have mitigated some of those impacts.”

Planning board chairman Dan Seidman, at the meeting to deliver a traffic committee report, cited a number of issues relating the the storm response, including clearing sidewalks.

“We could have always done better,” said chairman Jonathan Snyder, “but I think we should always be able to do better. It’s a work in progress. This storm was a challenge for every town.”

Selectman Tristan Israel pointed out that under Tisbury’s government structure, selectmen have no authority over the five independently elected public works commissioners.

“The DPW board manages the roads, how they’re plowed, all of that,” Mr. Israel said. “We have no statutory authority to tell them to do anything. On those matters their decisions and their managerial stuff, at this point, is independent of us, believe it or not.”

DPW director Glenn Mauk did not attend the selectmen’s meeting.

In other business, selectmen went into executive session to discuss collective bargaining and to hear a union grievance involving the DPW, according to the meeting agenda.

Selectmen voted unanimously to request that the Steamship Authority study the feasibility of moving its Vineyard Haven terminal to an alternate location somewhere along Beach Road.

On the recommendation of the Shellfish Committee, the selectmen closed Lagoon Pond to scalloping after a harvest of 1,980 bushels.

On a humorous note, the selectmen considered a Telling Fortunes for Money license for Karen Coffey, who offers psychic tarot card readings. “She already knows the outcome of this vote, of course,” Mr. Snyder said just before the board voted to renew the license.

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