Oak Bluffs hopes to reinvigorate shellfish committee

The Oak Bluffs select board said they hope to entice potential shellfish committee members by better defining the overall charge of the committee — Stacey Rupolo

The Oak Bluffs select board announced last week that the search for the town’s new shellfish constable has been narrowed down to two applicants, who will have their final interviews in the near future. 

At the same meeting, the select board discussed an ongoing problem of the Oak Bluffs shellfish committee often being unable to meet quorum at meetings, and falling short with trying to engage new participants. 

Select board member Brian Packish said the “tumultuous” history of the committee could be part of why membership is low. “The whole thing’s off the rails,” Packish said of the committee, adding that communication between the shellfish committee and the select board has often been disrupted by the tendency for committee members to update the shellfish constable rather than the board. There’s “a whole lot of disconnect,” he said.

Select board member Jason Balboni noted that the “charge” of the shellfish committee needs to be thoroughly looked at and understood, after which people may be more “energized” to join.

The select board subsequently voted to appoint vice chair Gail Barmakian as a temporary liaison to the shellfish committee.