Tisbury town administrator John Bugbee traveled to the state house this week to testify in favor of a bill that would reduce the amount of time taken by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) to act on cases.

The commission against discrimination is the state’s chief civil rights agency and hears complaints about, and sometimes awards damages for, discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry.

Filed late last year by Rep. Tim Madden on behalf of the Tisbury selectmen, the bill seeks to speed up the hearing process for MCAD complaints to take place within a year. The town of Tisbury has seen a number of complaints in recent years.

On Tuesday Mr. Bugbee appeared before a hearing with the joint committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.

“The point I was trying to make and the point I think they understood is that it’s difficult for towns to manage personnel with pending MCAD claims,” he said this week after the hearing. “What we’re asking in this bill is not that a decision be made in a year. We only ask that the MCAD decide whether or not there’s enough evidence to warrant a hearing. Just let us know, yes or no. Up until now we’ve been waiting one year, two years, sometimes three and a half years for decisions to be made. That’s a lot of time to wait on a decision while you have people working together, sometimes with one another, sometimes with claims against each other.”

Mr. Bugbee said the town recently saw two cases dismissed that had been before the state commission for a year and a half. One involved a claim of sexual harassment in the town police department. That case was later filed in superior court, Mr. Bugbee said.

He concluded: “We have two additional cases filed recently that have only been there for a month or two, but who knows? We were told by the investigator that is handling the two most recent cases that she strongly encourages mediation because these cases could, and most likely will, last, quote, ‘many, many years’.”

It is unclear whether the bill will make it out of committee and onto the house floor for a vote.

Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel said he thinks the bill would benefit everyone.

“We feel it’s unfair to all parties involved: the person making the complaint or the person being complained against or the town,” Mr. Israel said. “We’re just asking for the cases to be expedited quicker.”