After 10 years at the podium in West Tisbury, Daniel Waters will close out his tenure as town moderator following the 2024 annual town meeting.

The decision to retire, said Mr. Waters in an interview with the Gazette, was made in an effort to bring new blood to town government.

“I’d like to see our town passed into the hands of some younger people,” he said. “We’ve seen, nationally and locally, people staying in office way beyond their time. It’s time for a new generation to step up.”

Mr. Waters took over the role of moderator in 2014, after the death of longtime moderator Pat Gregory, the victim of a homicide. Taking over under those circumstances, without the mentorship of his predecessor, was a challenge, Mr. Waters said.

“It was difficult. Town meetings run on tradition and a lot of it is not written down,” he said. “I want to have the chance to work with whoever comes next.”

Looking back, Mr. Waters said he felt his moderation style was too rigid at first.

“I was too focused on controlling the meeting,” he said. “I quickly learned over the first few years that flexibility and adaptability are important.”

Among the most important qualities of a prospective moderator, Mr. Waters said, are a good sense of fairness and an ability to listen.

“A moderator should speak as little as possible,” he said.

Despite whatever challenges come with the tradition, he said, the culture of democratic discourse in West Tisbury is strong.

“Even when they disagree, they disagree in such a friendly way,” he said of town voters. “Neither I, nor my predecessor, ever used a gavel, because you don’t need to make loud noises to make your voice heard here.”

Mr. Waters will moderate his final town meeting this April. His successor will be selected by voters during town election.