New County Manager Still on Hold; She Says Nothing Wrong with Resume

By MANDY LOCKE

One week after Dukes County commissioners hoped to restore their government image with a new leader at the helm, recently-hired county manager Laurie Perry has not yet reported to work.

Commissioners ducked behind closed doors again Wednesday night to discuss \"non-union personnel contracts.\"

They took no action, and said they would hold another meeting next week.

The seven-member board chose Ms. Perry in early May to fill a position left vacant after former manager Carol Borer retired in December.

But now it is understood that doubts are being expressed about the education credentials Ms. Perry listed on the resume she submitted when applying for the post.

Freshman commissioner Nelson Smith tried to block another executive session discussion Wednesday, saying: \"We\'re past the point of contract negotiations,\" meaning that details of the contract, including pay, have already been worked out.

\"We have been [done] for a while,\" he said. \"We will be discussing the professional competence, character and reputation of Laurie.\"

\"We had hoped to have her on board July 7,\" said John Alley, chairman of the county commission. \"There is and has been some concern with the final details of the whole contract picture so that all commissioners can be comfortable. Once that is completed, we expect to have Laurie Perry on duty. We hope to have her on board by the next meeting.\"

Ms. Perry, who left her position as tribal administrator at the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) in May, has an extensive resume full of business and human resources-related positions. Her resume lists an associate\'s degree in business management from Newbury Junior College in Boston in 1975 as well as a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Northeastern University in 1977.

But officials in Northeastern University\'s student enrollment verification department yesterday said they could find no record of Ms. Perry\'s attendance or graduation. Neither their computer system nor student transcripts kept on microfilm in the registrar\'s office showed verification of her enrollment, they said.

According to the job description for the post of county manager, advertised in January, applicants were required to have a bachelor\'s degree.

Ms. Perry, in a telephone conversation with the Gazette yesterday, would not comment when asked why Northeastern apparently cannot find her records. But she reaffirmed that she was a student there, from 1975 to 1977.

Separately, referring to the delay in getting started in the new job, she said: \"That\'s being resolved right at this minute.\"

She also said: \"Commissioners are just doing their job so that we can get on with county business. It hasn\'t been resolved, but it will be.\"

And noting Mr. Smith\'s comments before the executive session Wednesday night, she said: \"Every public official is subject to scrutiny and crucifixion. It comes with the territory.\"

Mr. Smith did not vote for Ms. Perry when the board originally chose her as their candidate.

Waiting for resolution on this, Dukes County register of deeds Dianne Powers has been pulling double duty, acting as county manager from her office in the courthouse since January. Mrs. Borer retired Dec. 31, and did not return to the job after the new year, despite an earlier commitment to stay on temporarily until a new county manager could be hired.

Mrs. Borer ended her five-year relationship with the county in a swirl of controversy surrounding vacation and sick time pay; before departing, she wrote herself a check for unused vacation and sick time pay. When asked later by commissioners, Mrs. Borer could not produce accurate documentation of unused time.

\"Dianne\'s role was supposed to end a while back. The county\'s been limping along,\" said Mr. Smith yesterday.