Kristal is not on the ballot for Tisbury

Jeff Kristal, shown here during a Zoom meeting, isn't on the ballot for select board.

Tisbury select board chair Jeff Kristal didn’t seek another term in office. Nomination papers were due by 5 pm on April 5. The only person to hand in select board nomination papers to the town clerk’s office was Dukes County commissioner and port council member John Cahill.

Kristal, a bed and breakfast owner, has served multiple terms as a select board member. Kristal narrowly beat burrito shop owner Seth Gambino, 490 to 462, in 2019 to gain his recent term. Kristal has taken some heat during the past three years. He has been accused of suppressing information about an illegal groundwater connection to the town’s sewer system, of attempting to bully a local business owner via a traffic officer, and of sidelining a perennial critic of his on the sewer advisory board. During an earlier term which encompassed 2012, Kristal joined his fellow board members in handing out light to nonexistent punishments for some officers who participated in a botched police response which led to the rape of a teenager. 

One of the major achievements during his recent time in office has been advocating for Beach Road Weekend, a summer concert series in Veterans Memorial Park that began in 2019, was suspended due to the pandemic in 2020, and returned in 2021. As chair of the board in January, he oversaw a vote that granted three consecutive years of concerts. Kristal also backed a move to allow alcohol to be served in Tisbury without food. A home rule petition on the subject is pending in the state legislature. Long a dry town, only a short time ago did Tisbury permit the sale of alcohol with food in town eating establishments.

Kristal couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about his decision not to seek re-election.

Cahill, owner of the Hertz rental car franchise at the airport, told The Times he was ”expecting others to file,” and was “pleasantly surprised” he was running unopposed. Being a lone candidate wasn’t something he felt could be predicted. “It’s safe to say you never know who is or isn’t going to take out papers,” he said.

Cahill said fostering greater collaboration was among his goals as a prospective select board member. “I would like to bring about more collaboration — more committees’ involvement during decisionmaking,” he said. “Change is inevitable, but at what expense to our character and uniqueness?”

There are no contested races on the ballot. Tisbury’s annual town election will take place on Tuesday, May 24, from noon to 8 pm at the town’s emergency services facility. 


  1. Is Jeff still holding court on the many other boards he had been? Like so many before as town select person, it was time to step down and persue other endeavors outside of town politics.

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