Constable’s career closes; shellfish season opens

Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall, left, and Oak Bluffs shellfish constable Chuck Fisher in 2019. Bagnall is set to retire later this year. — Paul W. Bagnall

Longtime Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall is set to retire after more than 30 years of service.

Saying he turned 66 this year, “I’m looking at retirement or resignation,” Bagnall said. “If it’s all right with the board, I’d like to set Jan. 1, 2022, for resignation.”

He added that he felt the lack of a raise was a sign it was time for him to resign. “I got my reappointment this year, but after 30 years, I didn’t get my last merit raise, so I’ll take that as a kind of indication that it’s time for me to step down and let younger people take over,” he said.

Bagnall thanked the board for appointing him, and said he would be happy to work longer or shorter at the board’s discretion.

The board thanked Bagnall, and said they would take his request under advisement.

Bagnall’s decision comes three months after a property defacement charge against him was dropped. The charge was related to an alleged incident that he tore up a neighbor’s lawn on purpose with a town pickup truck. He agreed to make restitution.

Speaking to The Times Wednesday, Bagnall said he had no malice against his neighbor. 

Bagnall said several claims made by his neighbor that he was upset about cutting down trees and building a guesthouse were not true. Additionally he said a video tape allegedly showing his truck being caught on camera could not have been him, since his truck was at a different place at the time. 

In the end, Bagnall said he decided to pay restitution rather than continue to fight a legal battle that would end up costing him more money. “I’ve apologized to the select board, I’ve apologized to the people of Edgartown. The comments of support bring tears to my eyes,” Bagnall said of the comments section on The Times website.

In separate shellfish business, Edgartown will commence the family scallop season Friday, Oct. 1, with a limit of one level 10-gallon washbasket per week, including shells. No dragging is allowed in Cape Pogue until Friday, Oct. 29. The season will end on March 31, 2022. All shellfish regulations and rules apply.

“We hold off on dragging in Cape Poge to give the family people a chance to harvest scallops,” Bagnall said.

The commercial scalloping season will begin Monday, Nov. 1, with a limit of three level 10-gallon washbaskets per day, including shells. Harvest is allowed Monday to Friday, 7 am to 4:30 pm. Season ends on March 31, 2022.

“The scallop season we’re looking at is probably a little better than last year, but no bonanza,” Bagnall said. “On a thin year, we have 30 boats, on a really good year we’ll maybe have 50 or 60.”

“At least we’ll have some scallops. It doesn’t sound like it’ll be any worse than last year, but you never know,” select board member Michael Donaroma said.

In other business, the town extended its outdoor dining end date to Oct. 31.

The town implemented the popular outdoor dining program at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic stretched into its second summer, the town once again adopted outdoor dining. The original end date for outdoor dining was set for Oct. 11.

“The situation for COVID on the Island has changed multiple times, for the good and for the worst,” town administrator James Hagerty said. “I think that is appropriate.”

Donaroma and Margaret Serpa voted 2-0 to approve the extended date. Board member Arthur Smadbeck was not present at the meeting.


  1. Thank you Paul for your service you have been good for the town and the Shellfish. Enjoy the next phase of your life. Your much deserved retirement package from the town will help see that the next chapter is successful.

  2. Great job, my brother. All good things must transition to other good things. You gave it your all and many have benefited from your knowledge. Stay out of the hot sun 🙂

  3. Thank you Paul for all you have done within and beyond the dictates of your job. You are much appreciated and will be missed. Now you can join us on the beach!!!!

  4. Hey Paul thank you for your years of service to the town. Now its time to enjoy your life and the people around you that you care about. Good luck

  5. Paul Bagnall was a very knowledgeable and hard working public servant and a good man all around. He will be missed. Wishing him happiness in the next life stage, whatever it may be.
    Dick Johnson

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