For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Chilmark select board agreed to hold meetings in person. The board will meet in town hall starting July 6, with the stipulation the meeting will also be available to viewers remotely. The board agreed to the change Tuesday night without taking a vote.
“I’ve noticed that West Tisbury has already started meeting in person, and I think a lot of other boards are going to be meeting in person,” select board member Warren Doty said, “and I think it’s time for us to do that also. So I would be glad to have our July meetings in person in the town hall.”
Select board member Bill Rossi agreed, though he suggested meetings go forward in hybrid fashion.
Chair Jim Malkin supported a hybrid model, though he made it clear it was his wish for attendees to be vaccinated, and for there to be adequate distancing.
Former Chilmark Police Chief Tim Rich took issue with Malkin’s stance on vaccinations, framing it more as a decree than a request.
“I said I would be much more comfortable if people were vaccinated who were in the room, yes,” Malkin said.
“So is that going to be a requirement, or is that just your comfort level, personally?”
“I don’t know how legally to make it a requirement, Tim. So I guess that it’s my preference that people who attend are vaccinated,” Malkin said.
“It’s a recommendation, Tim,” Rossi said.
Malkin went on to say the town cannot “legally force people to be vaccinated,” and that it was his opinion the select board shouldn’t “preclude people or do testing of people” relative to vaccination status.
“And you’re the chairman of the board, and you don’t think that carries any weight other than your personal opinion, by saying that?” Rich asked.
“It doesn’t carry any legal weight,” Malkin said. Malkin said he cannot inquire about vaccination status or require people who attend select board meetings to be vaccinated.
Rich appeared unsatisfied with Malkin’s responses.
“So can you ask someone if they’re on birth control if they came in a meeting, or if they have AIDS?” Rich asked.
“I just said I can’t ask them if they’re vaccinated, so I’m certainly not going to ask them if they’re on birth control,” Malkin replied.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to approve road closures for the return of the Chilmark Road Race on August 14. The race was virtual for 2020. The vote also granted parking permission at the police station and at the Tabor House Road lot.