Mincone minted police chief in West Tisbury

Selectmen say no to the thought of a Tri-Town fire department.

Lt. Matt Mincone, left, was appointed West Tisbury police chief Wednesday afternoon, effective March 31. Police Chief Daniel Rossi, right, joins him at the selectmen's meeting.

In a move that surprised no one, West Tisbury selectmen promoted Matt Mincone from lieutenant to police chief Wednesday afternoon.

Selectman Cynthia Mitchell briefly prefaced the appointment by pointing out Mincone had the endorsement of outgoing Police Chief Daniel Rossi, as well as the entire West Tisbury police force. After interviewing Mincone two weeks ago, Mitchell said it’s “no secret” who the selectmen plan to appoint.

“Kent, I would ask you maybe to offer your thoughts about this,” she said.

Selectman Kent Healy’s sole comment was an act of support.

“I move we appoint Matt Mincone police chief,” he said.

Upon seconding the motion, Mitchell thanked Mincone and Rossi for their service to the town, and Rossi in particular for his leadership.

The vote was 2-0 in favor, with selectmen chairman Skipper Manter abstaining because he is a member of the police department.

Mincone’s promotion will become effective on March 31, Mitchell said. Chief Rossi told the board he will retire the day before.

In other business, the selectmen buried a fire ax in the notion of a Tri-Town fire department with a unanimous decision not to enter into discussions about merging the up-Island departments.

“I don’t think it’s any secret our fire chief does not support it,” Manter said.

There’s a lack of support among the volunteers, he added.  

“I think probably the Chilmark selectmen are maybe regretting that they didn’t have a conversation with their fire chief first,” Mitchell said.

As The Times reported on Jan. 31, Chilmark Fire Chief David Norton was upset about not being consulted on the idea of regionalizing the three departments before Chilmark selectmen sought opinions from the Aquinnah and West Tisbury boards. Chilmark selectman Jim Malkin proposed the idea at a Jan. 24 board meeting. West Tisbury Fire Chief Manuel Estrella III took issue with his colleague, Chief Norton, being kept out of the loop on the subject and said he was opposed to combining the three departments.

“I think it’s important for each town to have their own volunteer group,” Healy said.

The selectmen authorized town administrator Jennifer Rand to send the Chilmark selectmen a letter of disinterest.