County Makes Offer on Manager's Post

By ALEXIS TONTI

Dukes County commissioners last night offered the job of county manager to E. Winn Davis, executive secretary of the town of Hanson. In his return visit to the Island, Mr. Davis described himself as a consensus builder who believes that Dukes County can set a positive example for county government across the commonwealth.

"A lot of towns in other counties don't have the relationship that exists here," he said. "The like conditions and like needs of these seven towns allow for efficiencies that are achievable."

Mr. Davis accepted the job subject to contract negotiation.

He said he could start in two to four weeks, and suggested a transition period during which he would work several days on the Island while still attending to his responsibilities in Hanson.

The commissioners invited Mr. Davis for a second interview after rescinding Laurie Perry's job offer due to uncertainty regarding her education credentials. Mr. Davis had been selected with Ms. Perry as a finalist for the position in May.

Mr. Davis has served as the executive secretary of the town of Hanson since 2000, a job characterized on his resume as being the chief administrative official. Hanson has a population of almost 10,000 and an annual operating budget around $14 million.

The Island's year-round population is 15,000 (summer population 105,600) with a county budget of more than $4 million for fiscal year 2004.

Mr. Davis's past record of municipal service also includes a three-year tenure as the assistant town manager of Provincetown and three years as a senior regional planner to Franklin, Norfolk and Wrentham.

Mr. Davis was graduated from Northeastern University with a master of public administration degree in 1975; from Harvard Graduate School of Design with a master of city planning degree in 1976, and from Boston University School of Law with a doctor of law degree in 1979.

He served in the United States Air Force from 1969 to 1974, when he resigned with the grade of captain.

In the half-hour interview yesterday, the commissioners reviewed his credentials and questioned him about his commitment to the Island, his belief in county government and the logistics of commuting from his home in Falmouth.

"I've lived four miles away for 24 years. I've always looked over and thought this is a place I'd like to work," said Mr. Davis. He said moving to the Island was a question of economics: He cannot relocate until he finishes paying the final two years of his daughter's college tuition.

He said, however, that residency has no bearing on his dedication: "If the chemistry is right, I could see staying here until the federal government says it's time to retire - maybe 12 years from now. I intend to stay, and to move as soon as is practical.

"Bringing in someone who's not a local has its advantages," he added. "I come without a particular bent or favoritism toward any town and will treat them all equally."

Speaking of his tenure in Provincetown and his current job in Hanson, he said the two had different citizenries that required attention to different needs. In Provincetown health services was a critical issue, while Hanson residents called for him to focus on housing; he said he's recently spent time working with developers, affordable housing and Chapter 40B issues.

Mr. Davis laid out his management strategy for moving employees and elected officials forward at the same pace and in the same direction. He said he tries to reach agreement among those concerned, but added that as chief executive official he will not hesitate to take action when necessary.

"County government has been in the spotlight for a number of years, and a lot of other counties have serious financial problems and leadership problems," Mr. Davis said. "When it's too big, there can be too much bureaucracy. But I think that, on a certain scale, county government works. Here, it can."