West Tisbury Ousts Veteran Selectman

Challenger Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter Is Winner by Large Margin Over Incumbent John S. Alley

By JULIA WELLS

Nine-term selectman John S. Alley lost his seat to Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter in a surprise trouncing in the West Tisbury annual town election yesterday.

Mr. Manter beat Mr. Alley 593 to 357.

"I'd just like to thank my supporters - they've entrusted me with a challenge and I will try very hard not to let them down," said Mr. Manter when the final tallies came in just before midnight last night.

Mr. Manter is a sergeant with the West Tisbury police department, where he has worked since 1976. He is also chairman of the Up-Island Regional School Committee and chairman of the town finance committee.

A career Vineyard politician, Mr. Alley is also the chairman of the Dukes County Commission and he holds numerous other appointed positions. Last night he thanked his supporters over the years.

"It's not easy but it was 27 years and life goes on and I'll find something else to do," he said, admitting that he was somewhat shaken by the election results.

Mr. Manter, who challenged Mr. Alley three years ago and lost by 18 votes, had no comment about whether there was a message from the voters this time around.

"I'm not going to read anything into that - not at this point. I have to evaluate what's going on and the most important thing now is that I work with my colleagues because we are a team," he said. He also had gracious words for Mr. Alley and his many years of public service.

"I would like to reflect an appreciation for Mr. Alley and what he has done - he certainly deserves to be treated with dignity and respect for what he has done," he said.

In the only other contest on the ballot, Katherine Logue beat Donna Michalski 616 to 308 for town treasurer. The one-year post was opened up to newcomers after longtime treasurer Cynthia Mitchell decided not to seek re-election.

"I just want to say I think I am very pleased and terribly grateful to the West Tisbury voters for their confidence in me and I am excited by the new challenges ahead," Ms. Logue said last night.

After several days of cold, rainy weather, the sun came out for election day, although temperatures remained chilly. For most of the afternoon the four candidates stood on a patch of grass in front of the town public safety building holding their signs and waving as voters drove by.

In the end voter turnout was high, with 986 voters casting ballots, or 51.8 per cent of the 1,904 registered voters.

A long list of 18 separate Proposition 2 1/2 override questions saw mixed results. Most of the big money requests were approved, including a $337,714 override for the town share of the up-Island regional school budget, and $221,186 for the town share of the regional high school budget.

Voters killed $62,000 in funding for the town police department and a request for $15,000 to hire a consultant for the personnel department. A $3.7 million town hall renovation project was defeated on the town meeting floor, as was a request for two new police cruisers for the town, and voters were consistent yesterday, defeating two corresponding override questions for the same articles.

The following candidates were elected without contest:

George Manter, board of health; Michael Colaneri, board of assessors; Brent Taylor, tax collector; Prudence Whiting, town clerk; John Gadowski, tree warden; Timothy Barnett, constable; Irene Hallie Mantzel and Leslie Baker, library trustees; David Douglas, planning board five years; Eileen Maley, planning board two years; Peter Costas, finance committee; Richard Reinhardsen, park and recreation committee.