Frustration over Tisbury harbormaster hiring process

Vineyard Haven Harbormaster John Crocker in 2016. — Stacey Rupolo

Updated, June 24

In the coming weeks, Tisbury will likely have a new harbormaster.

John Crocker, who has been the lead on the town’s waterfront, is retiring on July 2 after nearly a decade leading the waterfront. Crocker has been employed by the town for 19 years in total.

The Tisbury select board could choose a new harbormaster on Tuesday during a meeting Tuesday. When a new hire would start isn’t clear, but they’ll be starting at the height of the summer season.

The three candidates — Michael Gately, Michael Wilson and Gary Kovak — are scheduled to be interviewed during a special select board meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

It will have taken several months from when the town was informed about Crocker’s retirement. Crocker told The Times that he informed the town in March that he would be retiring in July.

Some in the community, including town leaders, are frustrated about how long it has taken the town to present possible candidates to the town’s select board to be able to choose and hire a new harbormaster.

There’s also concern that there might not be any overlap between Crocker and any new harbormaster.

Select board member Christina Colarusso said that she pushed to have Crocker and a new hire overlap on the job for at least a few months. “If we have to pay for two harbormasters for two weeks, so be it,” she said.

Crocker’s departure on July 2 raises questions of who will be leading the office on the July 4th weekend. With the select board potentially naming a new harbormaster on Tuesday, two weeks would fall on July 9.

“I’m a little disappointed that there wasn’t an overlap,” Colarusso said. “[The new harbormaster] is potentially working on the busiest day of the year without an overlap.”

Town administrator Jay Grande could not be reached.

Colarusso said that the town has brought three good candidates to the board for a decision. Adding to the frustration, the town has known about the candidates well before Tuesday’s meeting.

Tisbury resident Lynne Fraker said she’s also frustrated with the time it’s taken for the town to move forward. “It has been a terrible, terrible process,” Fraker said. “Because they’ve known for such a long time.”

She added that she feels bad for a new hire that would be starting at the height of the season when she said that could have been avoided.

Still, Fraker is excited to have a new harbormaster on board. “I’m looking forward to seeing a new vision for the office,” she said.

Crocker says that he’s had a good career working with the Town of Tisbury. “I made a lot of acquaintances and friends on the job,” he said. “And that’s the part of it that I will miss.” He said he’ll have some time to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday for the first time in a while. “I’m going to be able to go to the parade this year,” he said.


  1. Going to miss you on the water, terrific Harbor Master and human being. Thanks for your years of service.

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