West Tisbury appoints new animal control officer

West Tisbury’s selection committee voted unanimously to appoint Kate Hoffman as the new Animal Control Officer on Wednesday. Board members Skipper Manter and Jessica Miller took turns asking questions of the candidates. These included topics such as mediation skills, West Tisbury candidate appreciation and storyline questions based on issues that have already occurred in the town. The scenarios included were a person wanting a neighbor’s rooster gone and a dog who is nice to people, but has a history of killing a neighbor’s chickens.

Hoffman competed for the position vacated after former West Tisbury animal control officer Anthony (Tony) Cordray’s died in may, against two other candidates – Heather Maciel and Chris West. All three have a connection to the city, but their careers have been quite different.

Hoffman was an assistant animal control officer at West Tisbury for just over three and a half years, then became Tisbury’s animal control officer in April 2020. Hoffman then decided she wanted to go back “fighting for this work”.

“You got me through the academy. I learned everything about the city,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman developed knowledge of how to handle small animals in other positions, such as groomer. She has also volunteered with Kickass K9 Rescue in Boston and as an assistant animal control officer in Everett. When it comes to bigger animals, Hoffman learned a lot about Martha’s Vineyard.

“Now I’m very experienced,” Hoffman said. “I remember my interview with Tony and his first question was ‘How do you catch a goat?'”

Maciel operates Maciel Land & Tree in West Tisbury with her husband, but she had experience raising animals while growing up in the town, including cats, dogs and chickens. She also helped perform a cesarean birth for a puppy litter. During her teenage years, she helped on a farm which developed her familiarity with horses and cows.

“I feel like at this point in my life, I want to try to give back to my city,” Maciel said.

Maciel also has experience mediating disagreements over trees between neighbors in his current job.

West is West Tisbury’s assistant animal control officer and replaced Cordray after the death. He hoped to take over to fill the position full time.

“Tony is a good friend of mine, so I volunteered to work with him really to spend more time with him, honestly,” West said. “But it turned out to be something I like. I have loved dogs and horses all my life. I love working with animals and this seemed like a good next step.

As well as being the Assistant Animal Control Officer, West also has experience serving the Island as a member of the West Tisbury Fire Department and working for the Regional Communications Center in Dukes County emergency.

“I grew up in the community, so I know a lot of people who reside here,” he said. West moved to the island when he was in seventh grade.

After the interviews, the jury deliberated who to choose. For greater transparency, Manter said the board knew each of the nominees personally to varying degrees.

Manter said Cordray “spoke very well about Kate Hoffman,” and he leaned in to pick her. However, he said the other two were good candidates as well.

“I expected it to be very clear, but it’s not so clear because they were all wonderful,” Miller said. She said Hoffman’s experience and recommendations set her apart from the other two candidates.

Since Hoffman has worked for West Tisbury before, the select committee will discuss with the personnel committee the appropriate remuneration for her.

Furthermore, the Select Committee unanimously approved the Staff Committee’s request for access to a lawyer. It was to clarify the rules of the staff council.

The board also unanimously endorsed West Tisbury Town Administrator Jennifer Rand sending a letter of endorsement for Cape Light Compact’s Main Street Initiative, an energy assessment program for companies. It is a letter that the city also signed last year.

The Complete Streets Committee received a $115,000 grant from MassTrails for design work on the Old County Road shared-use trail. The municipality has one year to use the subsidy.

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