In one of the least surprising decisions in the history of the Edgartown board of selectmen, the board unanimously voted 3-0 to reappoint longtime harbormaster Charlie Blair at its regular meeting on Monday.
“What can I say, we’re never going to let you go,” chairman Art Smadbeck said to Blair. “What an amazing job you’ve done in all these storms. We’re very, very lucky to have you.”
“I have a really good team behind me; they make it happen. I just run around like the Dutch boy, putting my finger in the dike,” Blair said. “Our team is so strong it makes me look good.”
Blair said that there has been an outpouring of concern for deputy harbormaster Michael Hathaway, who sustained serious injuries last Monday when a boat fell on him while it was being mounted on blocks. Hathaway was airlifted from the Island to Massachusetts General Hospital with a broken leg, a broken back, and multiple other broken bones.
“Over 200 people have called about him from all over the world,” Blair said. “He’s been our ambassador for over 23 years on the harbor, and I don’t think he ever said no to anybody. He’s sorely missed.”
Blair said that Hathaway “has a long road ahead of him,” and will hopefully be moved to the Spaulding rehabilitation hospital in Sandwich as soon as next week. “He was severely injured, but he’s strong as a bull. That saved him,” Blair said.
In other business, selectmen unanimously voted to reissue a request for proposals for the Yellow House renovation. Smadback said that during negotiations with the developer, “issues were identified which would have altered the developer’s proposal as evaluated by the Yellow House committee, specifically to best protect the large shade tree.” Town counsel Ron Rappaport advised a modified RFP be reissued. Yellow House committee chairman Chris Scott said the committee is meeting on Tuesday to draft the new RFP.
“We’re all hoping to get through this process again in time enough for the applicant to start this fall,” selectman Michael Donaroma said. “We’re not losing a whole lot of time; they couldn’t start now anyway. Hopefully we’ll get back on track and attract more people.”
Gail Gardner, candidate for selectman who is running against Smadbeck, told the board that she did not anticipate a final vote on the new police chief to come on the same day as the final interviews. “I just want to reiterate that back in a January meeting, I did point out that we were going to be hiring Bruce [McNamee], and I wanted to share that with the group today,” she said.
Gardner said she’s sent many emails to the selectmen’s office about the hiring process, and received no answers. Smadbeck said that many of the inquiries are related to personnel issues, which cannot be released to the public.
“I think a lot of what we were getting were things that we were totally unaware of, being accused of covering up and so on,” selectman Margaret Serpa said. “There’s obviously a connection to the police department that she has that’s getting information we’re not getting.”