Jeffrey L. Madison, an attorney, a former longtime selectman and leader of the Wampanpoag Tribe, was appointed as the new Aquinnah town administrator Friday.

Selectmen voted unanimously to appoint Mr. Madison at a special meeting Friday morning.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate to have had several careers,” said Mr. Madison, who was born and raised in Aquinnah. “Maybe this will be last one.”

The selectmen also interviewed Douglas Finn, a former executive assistant and interim town administrator for the town of Deerfield.“Both have a good background, and I think they would both work out well,” selectman Gary Haley said after the two interviews at a well-attended meeting. But he admitted Mr. Madison had an edge. “He’s pretty knowledgeable and has been here in town; he knows pretty much the direction we are going in.”

Mr. Madison listed his work in helping broker the historic 1983 Indian land claims settlement agreement between the tribe and the town, his 17 years as a town selectman and his career as an attorney at Wynn and Wynn, P.C. in Hyannis as among his greatest successes.

But he also noted some failures along the way.

“I’ve been divorced twice,” he said candidly, drawing laughter from friends and acquaintances in the room. “It’s funny in one respect, but it’s a life lesson that sticks with you. I regret those incidents deeply. So on a personal level, I see that as my biggest failure.”

In response to questions about rising taxes, Mr. Madison, who is also a former assessor, noted the challenges of providing services in a town where the tax base doesn’t keep pace with rising costs. He said Aquinnah cherishes its open spaces, including along Moshup Trail, which could otherwise be developed and contribute to the tax base. “So if you are not going to do that, if the town decides that they want to keep those open spaces, then there’s a cost to be paid,” he said.

As one solution, he encouraged continued improvements at the shopping area at the Gay Head Cliffs, where increased business could help defray taxes.

The selectmen wasted little time in selecting Mr. Madison for the position, after which people applauded and offered warm congratulations.

“You bring such history into this community — and experience,” selectman Jim Newman said.

Former town administrator Adam Wilson stepped down in July after six years on the job.

Mr. Madison will begin work on August 14.