Oak Bluffs annual town meeting and election have been moved to May 14 and 16, respectively.
In a teleconference meeting Tuesday evening, selectmen approved the date change amid the growing coronavirus pandemic. Town administrator Robert Whritenour informed selectmen they would be able to move the meeting and election farther back, to June 16 and 18, if they desired.
One thing voters can expect to see on the warrant is a price for a new town hall.
Selectmen selected Dellbrook JKS as its construction manager at risk (CMAR) for the town hall renovation project.
Selectmen met with East Falmouth–based Dellbrook JKS, which is working jointly with North Billerica–based J&J Contractors, and Maron Construction, based in Providence, R.I., in separate teleconference interviews Tuesday.
After interviewing both companies, selectmen, along with Whritenour ranked Dellbrook and J&J as “highly advantageous.” The total costs for construction management services with Dellbrook and J&J are $1.5 million — almost $1 million less than costs for Maron Construction.
“In addition to having a slightly higher-quality proposal, the overall general conditions which are the profit on the project for Dellbrook are lower,” Whritenour said. “That covers all of their profit through the construction process.”
The CMAR will work with the town and Icon Architecture to develop a maximum project cost that voters will consider at annual town meeting.
Icon has been working with town departments to create a design which would feature three floors.
The decision for a CMAR comes after a lengthy and failed process to build a new town hall. In 2017, town voters approved $9.8 million for a new town hall, but the following year two separate bids for the project came in over budget, the last being as high as $11.1 million. A vote to approve an additional $1.3 million was shot down by voters at a special election in November. Town offices have been located at the former Oak Bluffs elementary school since 2000.
In other business, the board selected former Bourne Fire Chief Martin Greene as the Oak Bluffs interim fire chief, out of a pool of four finalists. Greene, who also serves as an instructor for the Massachusetts Fire Officer Training Program, will be compensated $2,700 per week for a six-month term, and will live on-Island while working for Oak Bluffs.
“The town is happy to announce the hiring of Martin Greene as the town’s interim Fire-EMS chief,” town administrator Robert Whritenour emailed. “Chief Greene will start his six-month appointment on April 6.” Whritenour wrote that he possessed “extensive experience in paramedicine and hazardous materials incident response.” He went on to write,
“Chief Greene will be a valuable resource in analyzing the structure of our fire and EMS services, and in developing our in-house talent and professionalism to help guide the department moving forward.”
Selectman Brian Packish told The Times Greene’s contract took some time to work out, but a deal was reached after Greene secured housing on-Island.
Greene was not immediately available for comment.
Greene’s hire comes two months after embattled former chief John Rose resigned from the position. Rose and the town parted ways following a dramatic meeting of the board of selectmen on Jan. 14 where the board released a statement about the chief, disclosed he had been suspended previously for 21 days, acknowledged an ongoing FBI investigation, and released executive session minutes that showed a divide among board members about Rose and his ability to lead the fire department.
The FBI and a grand jury are looking into the fire department’s ambulance billing. In October, the town revealed that it had overcharged Medicare and Medicaid by $37,505.
Selectmen also approved a business license for Seaweeds, a new bar in the building that formerly housed 20byNine. Danielle Pattavina and Olivia Pattison will head the new eatery, which will serve dinner and brunch.