Town administrator John Bugbee will step down after nine years on the job, Tisbury selectman and board chairman Tristan Israel announced this week.
Reading from a brief written statement near the end of the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, Mr. Israel said the selectman had decided it was time for a change.
“This is simply about a change and a re-energizing for our administration and nothing more,” Mr. Israel said. “We are grateful for the nine years our current administrator John Bugbee has been with us and the hard work he has done on the behalf of the town. The board wishes only the best for John and his future endeavors.”
Mr. Israel said the board would begin a search for a new town administrator and that he hoped Mr. Bugbee would stay on the job for two to four months.
Mr. Bugbee attended the meeting in his capacity as town administrator but made no comment. A short time later the board voted to go into executive session to discuss litigation strategy and contract negotiations, which did not relate to Mr. Bugbee, Mr. Israel said later.
Selectman Jon Snyder was also present; selectmen Jeffrey Kristal was absent from the meeting.
Mr. Bugbee was appointed as town administrator in 2004. His current three-year contract expires on June 30, 2013. His annual salary is $106,384.
In a telephone conversation after the meeting, Mr. Israel expanded little on his announcement at the meeting, except to say that the selectmen were simply “exercising [their] rights under the contract.”
He also said: “He didn’t do anything wrong. I think the statement speaks for itself. We really just need a change.”
Mr. Bugbee was out sick yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
There has been tension between him and the board in recent months following a complaint early this year about his voting eligibility in Tisbury.
At the March 6 primary election, Mr. Bugbee was listed as inactive on the Tisbury voter rolls after failing to return his census form to town hall. When he arrived at the polling place that day he signed an affirmation of current and continuous residence for a Tisbury address, under penalty of perjury, to vote in the election. As it turns out, Mr. Bugbee, who splits time between Fall River, Sandwich and Vineyard Haven, had a Fall River apartment as his home in 2007 and as a result was not eligible to vote in Tisbury. Mr. Bugbee also had not lived at the residence listed on his driver’s license, which served as proof of residence, for three years.
The matter was brought to the attention of the board of registrars by a town resident.
Mr. Bugbee later apologized and said he had corrected the problem by changing his voter registration to Fall River. The town administrator said he was genuinely confused about where he was eligible to vote and thought that he had signed a voter eligibility form rather than an affidavit.
“I didn’t know where I was supposed to be voting,” he said at the time. “I was wrong, I made a mistake. I should have known. When I found out it was incorrect, I fixed it that day.”