Warren Doty to pass the torch

Chilmark select board member won’t seek re-election.

Longtime Chilmark select board member Warren Doty won’t seek another term. -Rich Saltzberg

Longtime Chilmark select board member Warren Doty announced Tuesday he would not seek re-election. Doty said his service to Chilmark spanned 35 years as a school committee member, planning board member, and select board member. On the select board, Doty said, he served 24 years. “So it is time for me to step back and someone else to take out nomination papers and run for election for the Chilmark select board,” Doty said. 

Doty recalled several of the milestones of his time on the board, including construction of a new school, a complete rebuild of the library, a complete rebuild of town hall, conversion of the old schoolhouse to a police station, capping the landfill, repeated dock work in Menemsha, including the major rebuild following the U.S. Coast Guard boathouse blaze, Middle Line Road and Nabs Corner affordable housing projects, beach restoration as part of managed retreat at Squibnocket, and currently underway, a new fire station and Tri-Town Ambulance facility. 

Each one of the projects Doty mentioned, he noted, required “a lot of attention from the select board — sometimes from me when I’ve been the chairman of the building committee, sometimes it has fallen to another board member, such as this time to Bill Rossi for being chairman of the committee for the fire house and ambulance building.” 

Doty said there are two major projects on the horizon: the rebuild or replacement of the Menemsha’s commercial wharf, and the affordable housing development at Peaked Hill. 

“And all of that is just part of a huge amount of change that has gone on in this town over the period that I have served in elected office,” Doty said. 

Doty recalled taking a trip down to North Carolina for a folk music workshop when urgent messages came to him from town hall. The gist was the president was to visit Chilmark, and the Secret Service wanted to close South Road in August. 

“And if there was ever an example of things that happen that you never expect …” he said. “I spent a lot of time on email and telephone calls to the Secret Service saying, We can’t close South Road, and they said, ‘Oh yes, you can.’ And of course the Secret Service won, and we closed South Road for a period of time that the president was visiting because they were scared of a terrorist attack.”

Doty recalled thinking from the room he was staying at in North Carolina that of all the towns in Massachusetts, “Why does the President of the United States decide to come to our town?”

Doty described it as a “privilege” to serve the town of Chilmark. “I’m hoping that somewhere out there, there will be a few people who are really interested in joining this board, and will take out nomination papers this month and stand up and run for election,” he said. “So I will serve on this board for another couple of months, and then it’s time for somebody else to step forward.”

“That’s a pretty impressive lineup of accomplishments,” select board chair Bill Rossi said. “Congratulations.” 

Rossi went on to say, “That’s an impressive amount of time — 24 years, wow — eight terms. God bless you. Good for you. Thank you.”

In other business, Chilmark town administrator Tim Carroll told the board that to date seven complete and two incomplete applications have been received for chief of police. Carroll said the applications come from interested people both on- and off-Island. He said the prospect still existed that the two incomplete applications would be rounded out before the application deadline at the end of the evening. The applications come following Chilmark Police Chief Jonathan Klaren’s announcement in the fall of 2022 that he would retire

The applications will be placed in a packet and delivered to a preliminary screening committee on Wednesday, Carroll said. 

Doty asked Chief Klaren what his last day of service would be.

Klaren said his contract runs through March 20. However, he noted that at the prior select board meeting, a timeline was approved that could see a new chief by Feb. 7. So Klaren speculated he would bow out between Feb. 7 and March 20.

Rossi expressed skepticism the process could reach a conclusion by Feb. 7. 

Carroll said if the candidate selected was an in-house person, the promotion could be immediate; however, other folks will likely need to give two weeks’ notice to their present employers. Carroll noted Klaren has accrued vacation time, and if he uses it between now and the end of his contract, it would be less expensive than the town paying him out for vacation time at the conclusion of his contract. Klaren agreed with Carroll’s assessment.

Select board member Jim Malkin was absent from the meeting. 



  1. Good to see a public official call it quits and let new blood in. Warren served the town well and he will be missed at the meetings but still around for his thoughts. Change is constant and change is good. Thank you for the service to your town and the island.

  2. Thank you so much Warren Doty for your dedicated, devoted and very loyal service to the Town of Chilmark for the last 35 years. We live in Tisbury, but have observed and felt confident in your leadership knowing that you were helping to guide the direction of Chilmark town affairs. Your public service has been exemplary as you have always worked for the best interests of your town.

  3. Warren has done a superb job of representing the core interests of Chilmark. This can be such a thankless job. One just has to hold the town’s interests close to heart. Thank you Warren- a tough job well done.

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