The Dukes County Commission voted to appoint Beth Toomey of West Tisbury to the seven-member airport commission. The county commission chose from an unusually large group of applicants, with eight people applying for the single spot.
The airport commission is appointed by the Dukes County Commission, which is scheduled to vote next week to fill the vacancy left by Peter Bettencourt who resigned in August. The new appointment comes amid ongoing conflicts between the two commissions.
The Hon. Richard Chin said in a written opinion that the county manager may not serve as an ex officio nonvoting member of the airport commission, and that the county treasurer may not refuse to pay airport legal bills. The ruling clears the way for the case to go to trial.
A superior court judge heard arguments Tuesday afternoon on both sides of a dispute between the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission and the county. The hearing saw spirited debate about the legal independence of the airport, and also whether the dispute belonged in court in the first place.
The Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission is working on new bylaws and an employee handbook to better codify how business is done at the Island airport. The county manager has urged the commission to make the process more open and public.
The Martha’s Vineyard Airport expects to spend nearly 11 times as much as it budgeted in legal fees during the fiscal year that closed last week. Unusually high legal spending led to a last-minute scramble to adopt a supplemental budget for the airport.
Members of the airport commission have declared they will serve out the remainder of their terms, despite a call from the Dukes County Commission to consider stepping down. A letter was sent to the county commission this week.
The manager of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport has been granted a medical leave for an undisclosed length of time. Commission chairman Norman Perry said Wednesday that he granted the leave request to manager Sean Flynn earlier in the week, before meeting in executive session with his board.