County treasurer position still vacant

The commission struggles to find replacement despite advertising.

Former treasurer, Ann Metcalf in 2020 holding a sign in Tisbury in support of keeping the county treasurer’s position elected. The county is struggling to replace her.— Rich Saltzberg

Barely making quorum at their Wednesday meeting, Dukes County Commissioners discussed the next steps in their search for a new county treasurer. 

The full-time elected position, which touts a $100,000 capped annual salary plus benefits, has been vacant following the departure of former treasurer Ann Metcalf in July. 

“We have interviewed a couple of candidates,” said county manager Martina Thornton; one of which the county feels “could be a fit … however, she is very limited on hours that she can work.” The number of hours is about 23 per week. Thornton said discussions need to be had among the treasury department, the airport, and the county in order to “figure out if that’s even feasible … but we don’t have any other [suitable] candidates.” 

With few options left, commissioner Tristan Israel proposed hiring the candidate on a short-term basis, while optimistically waiting for more interest. But, he said, “We’re pushing into late fall … what if we have no one?”

Thornton explained that any new hire would have to stay on for the remainder of the term until the next election. Commissioner Leon Brathwaite agreed, and said temporarily filling the role with someone “we don’t feel could do the full job” would not be a good practice. 

Commission vice chair Don Leopold asked if bringing someone in as a consultant would be an option. Thornton said the commission can hire consultants, but it doesn’t remedy the underlying problem. 

“The problem is that somebody needs to be appointed to the position [and have] that liability of the treasury on their shoulders, [in addition to having] the signatory powers to all our accounts,” Thornton said. She said existing county employees cannot fill the role, and the candidate must be from Dukes County. 

Commissioner Keith Chatinover reiterated previous statements about considering changes to the legislation that would allow for “at a very minimum, broadening our search, during times when there is a vacancy, to off-Island.” 

Chatinover also expressed interest in pursuing changes to the laws that would make the treasurer position an appointed role, rather than elected.

In a 2018 letter to the editor announcing her retirement, former Dukes County treasurer Noreen Flanders, who was the longest serving county treasurer statewide at the time, outlined what the duties of the position were: “Please let me remind all that the county treasurer’s position is very different from a town treasurer, since the duties are that of both the treasurer and accountant for all county departments and programs,” she wrote. “The county treasurer is also the chairman of the retirement board, and has fiscal responsibilities to the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank.”

“I love the 20,000 people who call the Island home,” Chatinover said, “but it’s not as if there are a plethora of individuals that fit this unique job description.” 

In other business, commissioners approved the distribution of $50,000 from the state to go to the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, a nonprofit focused on restoring the Vineyard’s shellfish resources. 

“This money goes to a great program,” Danielle Ewert, Tisbury shellfish constable and president of the Shellfish Group, told commissioners. “We use it wisely to propagate all of our ponds.”

The Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, which is made up of the six Island towns and established in 1976, is geared toward increasing shellfish production and protecting habitat.

“I’m really impressed with what you guys do,” said Leopold, after approving the request. 


  1. Looks like the county is going to finally destroy it self and Commissioner Keith Chatinover certainly has a been a big help doing that. He is the island`s AOC.
    No body wants to work for the county no matter what they pay & I dont blame them one bit!

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