Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
Stunned! Heartbroken! Furious! These are but three of the emotions I was feeling after reading about the rejection of the Island’s application to the state for federal funds to assist members of our community because of a clerical error. That is $2 million lost.
Lost for parents who are trying to provide quality day care for their children. Lost to help the elderly properly maintain their homes so they can be warm in the winter. Lost to people with leaky roofs and windows that can ultimately lead to structural damage and mold issues which could cause health concerns for a family. Lost to the myriad of vendors that service these families who rely on this business to put food on their tables, pay their rents and provide for their children. These are the faces of the people that will be significantly affected because someone made a clerical error.
Upon regaining my composure from feeling heartsick for everyone that will be affected I was left feeling furious at the company that is responsible for this situation. I appreciate the fact that Ms. Boyd of Bailey Boyd Associates took ownership of the error and I truly believe that she is very sorry and (understandably) embarrassed by this mistake. I feel it takes a big person to do that and I have to commend her for that. But after finishing the article, my analytical business side took over and I began to wonder just what’s involved in being able to do such an important job that can impact hundreds of lives. They must need a license or at least a permit from the state at least, right? Wrong. While the state requires licensing for just about any profession you can imagine there does not appear to be any for grant writers. Perhaps inexperience? No, according to Ms. Boyd they have been writing grants for over 20 years. Perhaps this was the first time this company had attempted to procure this grant for us? No, they have applied for this same grant for us for years. Perhaps this was an isolated incident? No, of the eight applications rejected for this same grant, four of those rejected were written by this same agency and rejected for the same reason.
Thankfully my hotheaded Italian side receded and my Christian side took over and I thought, everyone makes mistakes. It is how they correct their mistakes that really shows the depth of their character. So it would seem that at the very least Bailey Boyd Associates would submit an appeal of the decision, right? Oh, but it seems we have no funds left for an appeal. Really? Did I read this correctly? This company won’t submit an appeal because we don’t have the funds? Shouldn’t Bailey Boyd Associates foot the bill for this since it was their company’s error that put us in a position to need an appeal? If they won’t do this, then perhaps they carry errors and omissions insurance like the rest of us with small businesses? This type of insurance is designed to cover errors just like this and then perhaps even a portion of this loss can be recovered?
If they won’t file for an appeal on their dime and do not carry insurance to cover clerical oversights, then why is this company still poised to do the grant writing in December for our Island? At the very least to insure that this never happens again we should be interviewing other agencies that do this type of work, have a proven track record and do carry insurance to cover clerical errors, don’t you think? To all of those in our community that will now be affected by this error, please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers and as a community we’ll be here for you.
SELECTMEN MUST LEAD
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
I must take exception to the Gazette editorial of July 15 indicating that it takes both leadership and management skills to become an accomplished town administrator. If, by leadership, one means getting out in front and literally leading, that couldn’t be more wrong. Leadership is the primary responsibility of the board of selectmen, supported by the key person who provides complete, timely and truthful information in the form of analyses and options and potential impacts of those options. Town administrators need to have significant management skills and a strong sense of professionalism as they pursue their primary task, which is to find ways to make the board of selectmen function as a team in taking care of the town’s business. And that means that the administrator’s only agenda should be to support the entire board of selectmen to arrive at its own decisions. It also means that the board of selectmen needs to learn over time more about what information it needs and what questions it should ask instead of depending entirely on the town administrator.
JOB WELL DONE
Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
Michael Dutton, thank you for your service to the town of Oak Bluffs. You have been kind, fair, tenacious, hardworking, thoughtful and diligent in your efforts on our behalf. As a taxpayer, business owner and public office holder, I am thankful for the job you did. I wish you the best in your next endeavor.
The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters to the editor on any subject concerning Martha’s Vineyard. The newspaper strives to publish all letters as space allows, although the editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed, and should include a place of residence and contact telephone number. The Gazette does not publish anonymous letters.