Three candidates seek selectman seat in Edgartown

Town election is June 18.

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Edgartown town officials are gearing up for town meeting. — MVT File Photo

Ahead of Edgartown’s town election on June 18, we reached out to incumbent Margaret Serpa and challengers Joe Monteiro and Juliet Mulinare, who are all running for one seat on the Edgartown board of selectmen. Each candidate shared responses on three key issues. The election will be held at the Edgartown Town Hall (70 Main St.). Polls are open from 10 am to 7 pm.

 

Why are you running for selectman, and what separates you from your opponent? 

Juliet Mulinare: I have nearly six years of administrative experience with a variety of town departments and committees, and I am eager to do the job. I am prepared to take on challenges, and promote community involvement through transparency and approachability. I have a clear understanding of the laws that govern public entities, and I think accountability to the public is of the utmost importance. I see a need for more proactivity in addressing issues the town will face, such as climate change and affordable housing. I am already involved in tackling some of these issues, such as raising the Memorial Wharf, improving the Katama boat ramp, and participating in the state’s required process for the town to be designated in the Municipal Vulnerability Program. 

I have also been volunteering my procurement experience to assist with the Meshacket RFP, and I serve on the Habitat for Humanity board. I am a certified Massachusetts public purchasing official, with five years of public procurement experience in Edgartown. I am actively involved on multiple boards, and I was recently appointed to the Master Plan Steering Committee. I have served in an administrative capacity to the dredge department, the Memorial Wharf committee, the financial advisory committee, the cemetery department, the personnel board, and others. I am willing to participate in Island-wide discussions, and I support initiatives to pursue opportunities that would benefit the Island as a whole, particularly inter-municipal agreements, which keep work local and less expensive for our towns, and generate revenue.
I support and would assist in the pursuit of collective purchasing agreements that would reduce the cost of bringing materials to the Island for all towns. I also have experience with project management, grant writing, municipal policy drafting, and contract administration.

 

Joe Monteiro: I think we all have our respective goals that we want to achieve, but we also share a common goal to improve our town and its efficiencies. My unique addition to that is that I am a business person. As an owner of two restaurants and a beer company on the Island, I have gone through every hoop, and experienced the inner workings of our town from inside out. While I am so appreciative of what the town has done for me, I have noticed areas of improvement that I am uniquely qualified to enact positive change for. I can offer a different perspective to the town budget and decisions because of that experience. Running restaurants is strikingly and surprisingly similar to running the town, and it has developed my financial eye, that would be so important for the town’s success. While I am not and don’t claim to be a politician, I love this town, and I am here for the long haul with my family, and would never have the desire to help any town more than I would Edgartown. 

 

Margaret Serpa: I am running to be re-elected to the Edgartown board of selectmen, a position I’ve held since 1999, because I have the experience, knowledge, and financial expertise necessary to do this job well. Prior to being a selectman, I was on the Edgartown zoning board of appeals for many years. I have always lived in Edgartown, and have enjoyed this beautiful town, its friendly people, and the opportunity to contribute what I can to help the town move forward in a positive way. I previously worked for 34 years at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School as an administrative assistant, with my primary duties dealing with financial matters, filing state reports, and addressing personnel issues. This experience has helped me in my role as a selectman. 

Edgartown has a three-member board, and we all work extremely well together. We each have our special talents, and I believe that municipal finance is mine. I enjoy meeting people when walking around town, listening, and answering questions. I point to my record of accomplishments as selectman as the primary reason why I should be re-elected.

 

Do you support how the town reacted to COVID-19, particularly with regard to construction? 

Mulinare: I don’t think anyone could have exercised too much caution in the face of a global pandemic, and based on the low number of cases here, so far, the Island has been successful in managing the outbreak. I think there was probably a way to allow the continuation of construction in a safe way, but I understand the importance of consistency and the complications of trying to regulate such a situation. It is unfortunate that the timing could not have been worse for a two-month hiatus; I know many who were severely adversely affected by the stoppage in work. Right now, we need to put our resources toward the recovery of all the local businesses that were affected, and try to get the most out of the next few months. 

The focus of town governments should be to closely monitor the impacts of reopening businesses, with the goal of providing a fair opportunity to everyone to continue to enjoy visiting, shopping, and dining in downtown Edgartown this summer.

 

Monteiro: Without a doubt, James Hagerty did a fantastic job managing an incredibly difficult and unforeseen situation. He was innovative, composed, and efficient in his leadership decisions, and with the help of the selectmen’s office, they implemented a logical and effective plan to move our town forward. While I witnessed some very real frustrations from my friends in the construction industry, almost all of those limitations and regulations came from the state level, and were not preventable on the municipal level. I think with more jurisdiction on the town level, our town would have lobbied for some more leniency as it relates to construction limitations — like allowing multiple workers to be on a job site that was large enough to allow for ample social distancing. 

 

Serpa: We have been experiencing a pandemic which we never could have anticipated. As a town, in my opinion, we have done a very good job in making sure that everyone stays healthy and that the government continues to function. As difficult as the initial shutdowns were, everyone has done their part. Special recognition goes to town administrator James Hagerty, for keeping the town running smoothly. And I also want to praise all town employees for their work under very difficult circumstances.

 

Do you support the Meeting House Place development? Why or why not? 

Mulinare: I will not say at this point whether I support this specific development or not, because more information is needed; it is still under review, and there are many variables to consider. It should be noted that this project does not fall under the purview of the selectmen, but rather, the planning board. I will say that I support all initiatives to increase affordable housing on the Island. The developers for this project have been conscientious of that need, with numerous financial offers to help with our crisis; however, perhaps a donation of land would be more beneficial to the town, especially considering the development’s proximity to town-owned land already designated for affordable housing. The Edgartown Great Pond watershed is impaired, and the increasing effects of nitrogen runoff should not be ignored. There should be ample opportunities for experts on the health of the pond to present those risks and discuss ways to reduce them during the public process. That said, based on the zoning, these developers could build a much larger development than what is proposed, consequently leaving a lot less nature intact. If elected, I would certainly be present for and involved with the public process.

 

Monteiro: I am 100 percent a proponent of this initiative. As a business owner, I know firsthand that housing for employees is one of the most valuable assets for the success of any type of business on the Island. We have been in a housing crisis for many years, and the solutions have been very limited thus far. We as a community need to come together and find avenues to become one voice of change, and create a viable plan for affordable housing in order for our businesses and therefore economy to survive. 

 

Serpa: The Meeting House Project is presently before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, which goes over the submissions in detail. The project will be referred back to the Edgartown planning board and other town permitting boards once the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s review process has finished. I support that process, and believe that the town boards will take

thoughtful and appropriate action once the project returns to them from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. 

2 COMMENTS

  1. “Running restaurants is strikingly and surprisingly similar to running the town….” How would Mr. Monteiro know this, never having held public office? We are all the unfortunate beneficiaries of how “trust me, I’m a businessman” has worked out for the country.

  2. Collectively, our three Selectboard members have been sitting in those seats for a collective 69 years. We fully support Juliet Mulinare. She will bring fresh ideas to Edgartown. And she knows her stuff. Thank you for running, Juliet! Time for CHANGE in Edgartown.

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