A divided Tisbury select board voted this week to appoint two new members to the town’s sewer advisory board, along with four existing members — but not longstanding representative John Best.

Select board chair Jeff Kristal declined Mr. Best’s request to speak during Wednesday’s online meeting.

“No, John, I’m not taking comments,” Mr. Kristal said.

Select board member Roy Cutrer moved to consider Mr. Best for the slate of appointees, but found no support from members Larry Gomez and chairman Jeff Kristal. 

According to Mr. Kristal, town officials previously believed that Mr. Best served on the sewer board as a representative from the town conservation commission. In fact, Mr. Best has served as an at-large appointee to the board since 2016.

“Everybody thought we needed a conservation commission person on the (sewer advisory board), and that’s not true,” Mr. Kristal said, explaining his decision not to consider Mr. Best. “Mr. Best serves on several other committees in town as well."

The select board did reappoint Mr. Best to the community preservation committee on Wednesday.

Mr. Best has voted against increases in sewer flow allocations for downtown Tisbury businesses during recent sewer advisory board meetings, citing the town's overtaxed wastewater treatment facility. Mr. Kristal has abstained on the votes, but expressed support for the sewer flow increases. Mr. Best was also critical of the town's handling of an illegal sump pump connection at the Mansion House hotel.

The sewer advisory board acts in an advisory capacity to the town's sewer commissioners, who are the three town select board members. 

Mr. Kristal also said that Mr. Best did not submit a letter of interest in the position before Wednesday’s agenda was posted.

But Mr. Best provided the Gazette with an email to town human resources head Pam Bennett, dated Monday, Sept. 20, indicating his interest in remaining on the board. A classified advertisement in the Gazette requested letter submissions by Sept. 17. Ms. Bennett reached out to Mr. Best seeking a letter of interest on Sept. 14. 

With Mr. Cutrer voting nay, the select board appointed new sewer advisory board members Tomar Waldman and Chris Scott, and reappointed Jeffrey Pratt, Christina Colarusso, Constance Alexander and Mr. Kristal. Josh Goldstein, who had also served on the board, did not seek reappointment. Dan Seidman was appointed to the board on Aug. 10 to replace Nancy Gilfoy, who served as the board's financial committee representative. 

Mr. Scott is a user on the town sewer system and Ms. Waldman has previously served on the sewer advisory board and department of public works board, Mr. Kristal said.

When Mr. Cutrer pointed out that Mr. Scott’s letter of interest was dated Tuesday, Sept. 21, also after the Sept. 17 deadline and a day later than Mr. Best’s letter, Mr. Kristal said Mr. Scott was the only eligible sewer user to come forward, and had previously indicated his interest to the town.

Mr. Kristal offered to surrender his own seat on the sewer advisory board, where he represents the select board, to Mr. Cutrer, who demurred.

“I don’t think that’s necessary,” said Mr. Cutrer, a first-time select board member elected earlier this year.

Speaking to the Gazette by phone after the meeting, Mr. Best expressed his frustration with the select board and Mr. Kristal.  

“He’s a bully...What Jeff’s trying to do is stuff the (sewer advisory board) so that he can get a rubber stamp,” Mr. Best said. “The four members who are not in his camp are well aware of it, and we all figure it’s an ineffectual committee now.”

Wednesday’s public meeting followed an executive session in which the select board considered the “purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property (Parcel #7-F-17, 7-F-22),” according to the agenda.

The properties identified by those parcel numbers on the town assessor’s map are the Mansion House hotel and the long-vacant former Bowl and Board/Bunch of Grapes building owned by the Hall family.

Among other business during Wednesday’s open session, the select board agreed to conditionally approve a license for a proposed cannabis dispensary, but to hold the license in escrow until Main Street Medicinal receives approvals from the town planning board and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Businessman Joshua Silver's plans include a combination retail, cultivation and preparation facility at 65 Mechanic street, in an existing 4,900 square foot former auto shop with a proposed 600 square foot addition.

Mr. Silver also wishes to construct an exit-only driveway across town land to High Point Lane, a proposal supported by town officials.

“From a traffic circulation point of view, having this connection is going to prove very positive,” town administrator Jay Grande said.

The select board’s action will aid Main Street Medicinal in its pursuit of planning board approval, Mr. Silver said.

“We’ve really just been stalled out here for a very long time … as we work through these traffic issues,” he told the board.

Also Wednesday, the select board approved updates to the MVC’s hazard mitigation plan and received a presentation on the commission’s climate action plan.

Police chief Christopher Habekost introduced his department’s new administrative secretary, Samantha Gitschier, for appointment by the select board.

The board also appointed members to the computer, picnic and water resources committees, town cabinet and the Williams street historic and Tisbury historical commissions.

Mr. Kristal began the meeting by announcing the recent death of Bruce Llewellyn, a former longtime member of the town finance and advisory committee.

“I hope everybody remembers him as just an amazing gentleman,” Mr. Kristal said.