Aquinnah selectmen appoint Jeffrey Madison town administrator

Aquinnah Police Chief Randhi Belain congratulates newly appointed town administrator Jeffery Madison with a handshake on Friday morning as Aquinnah selectmen look on. —Rich Saltzberg

Aquinnah selectmen unanimously appointed Cape attorney and Mashpee Wampanoag district court Judge Jeffrey L. Madison to be Aquinnah’s next town administrator at a special Friday-morning meeting. Mr. Madison was chosen over Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society executive director Douglass Finn for the position.

“I think they’re both good applicants,” selectman Gary Haley said prior to his vote. “I spoke to Douglas before, and to Jeffrey also. They both have a good background, and I think they’d both work out well for the town. But I believe Jeffrey has the edge because he’s pretty knowledgeable and has been here in town — knows pretty much the direction we’re going in.”

Chairman Jim Newman said Mr. Madison brings “history to this community, and experience.” He later told Mr. Madison that his contract would be for a year.

“If I can’t show you my mettle in a year, then I don’t deserve to be here,” Mr. Madison said.

Mr. Madison later told The Times he attended Aquinnah’s one-room schoolhouse (now the town library) for six grades before continuing school in Vineyard Haven and then at the high school, before leaving the Island for college. He raised his family on the Island, and while he currently lives in Mashpee, he also keeps an apartment with his daughter in West Tisbury, he said.

Reached by telephone after the meeting, selectman Juli Vanderhoop said she was glad the town’s search was at an end. She also said she was “ecstatic” that Jeffrey Madison had been appointed, in part because of his lifelong ties to the community.

Mr. Madison replaces Adam Wilson, who left the town’s top job as of July 6 to enter the private sector. Mr. Wilson is also an elected member of the town’s board of assessors.