Chilmark selectmen may in the future consider changes to the rental policy for the Chilmark Community Center, including requiring a certified bartender or a designated supervisor for events where alcohol is served, following a recent incident involving alcohol when a Menemsha fisherman was arrested at a memorial service event at the center.
This week selectmen called for a review of the rental policy for the center, which is often used for social events such as weddings, birthdays and memorial services, where alcohol is served.
After debating the wisdom of making wholesale changes to the rental policy based on a single incident, selectmen settled on only minor changes.
“We have about 50 years of historic use of that community center; just because we have one person that can’t take care of themselves for some reason and creates a problem, to me that’s no reason to change all of our policies,” selectman Frank Fenner said.
But chairman J.B. (Riggs) Parker, in his last meeting, warned the board must remain vigilent when it comes to alcohol use at the community center. “We need to have enough supervision during these events so it does not come to be considered the Chilmark road house,” Mr. Parker said.
Selectman Warren Doty agreed.
“We should ask ourselves, are we being responsible landlords, and guaranteeing everyone has a designated driver. We know that there are 100 cars parked at the community center [at some events]; are we being responsible by not encouraging drunk driving? I think we need to be active in that . . . we know this is a place where most people are not walking home, they are driving,” he said, adding:
“I don’t care if it’s someone’s wedding or a teenage party. That needs to be part of our policy.”
Police chief Brian Cioffi said he supports requiring a certified bartender.
“It seems like this would be kind of the time and the place to say, if we’re going to have events, and they are going to have alcohol, then they should be required to have a bartender. Someone who can manage the amount of alcohol that some people are getting, just as they would at a local establishment off-Island,” the chief said.
After the meeting Mr. Parker commented further. “We don’t want to throw out the whole barrel because of one bad apple. But we did want to demonstrate concern for the recent problem, and show we will strictly enforce that policy already in place. I personally would like to see some type of sponsor for each event [where alcohol is served], who will be answerable if something goes wrong,” he said.