Melinda Loberg, chair of the Tisbury board of selectmen, says the posting of a specific agenda while board members were at a convention in Boston over the weekend was a mistake.
Loberg said the agenda was posted by town administrator Jay Grande on the advice of the town’s attorney, to cover the town should there be a chance meeting with counsel to talk about issues at the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) annual meeting in Boston. The convention brings together selectmen and town leaders across the state.
There was never any intent to take any votes while the board was there, Loberg said. “This is all a misunderstanding,” she said.
Loberg was joined in Boston by selectmen Jim Rogers and Jeff Kristal. Grande was there, too.
They never did meet to discuss any town issues, Loberg said after The Times raised objections.
There were two postings outside the town clerk’s office when The Times looked Friday — one of them what town clerk Hillary Conklin called a “CYA posting” to handle chance meetings, and the other with the specific agenda featuring four topics: Beach Road development projects, spring and summer festival schedule, committee mission statements and charges, and event planning. Though the meeting was posted by Conklin, it was not on the town’s website, and the typical email blasts of the agenda were not sent out.
“It wasn’t an official meeting,” Loberg said. “It was unnecessary. It was a mistake to have any specificity or to have an agenda.”
Grande said he compiled the agenda. The topics were ones that town counsel might weigh in on, with several projects for Beach Road before the town, some requests for festivals, like a return of Beach Road Weekend, and new ones, that the town may need guidance on, Grande said. “I worked on the agenda based on what I understood could be topics,” he said.
While Grande contends such a meeting would have been legal, “I understand the optics of it,” he said. “I think being sensitive to that is really important.”
Loberg said board members went to workshops and spoke with vendors at the MMA convention. For example, she said she spoke with a parking vendor to see what alternatives are out there after the town got some pushback on its idea to install parking meters at the Old Fire Station lot.