Airport commissioner criticizes chairman
T.J. Hegarty, airport commissioner and county rodent control officer, this week accused the chairman of the airport board of influencing the search for a new airport manager and acting improperly by supporting one of the candidates for airport manager.
In an e-mail sent to Jack Law, airport commission chairman, on Monday, Mr. Hegarty wrote, "I realize Jack you are doing everything you can to give Sean [Flynn] the airport manager's job. However you are not above the law. If Sean is to be believed then he should know that under the job description he is not eligible to apply nor can this commission, given the legally advertised job description even think for a minute to consider Sean for the position."
Mr. Hegarty sent the e-mail to Mr. Law, each of his fellow airport commissioners, Mr. Flynn, the Dukes County manager, and several other airport and county officials.
Mr. Hegarty said the purpose of the e-mail was to notify Mr. Flynn and the airport board that Mr. Flynn would be the subject of a discussion at last night's airport commission meeting. Mr. Hegarty titled the subject of the e-mail "Notification to discuss the reputation & professional competence of Sean Flynn Wed. December 7, 2005."
Mr. Hegarty maintains that Mr. Flynn should not be considered for the job because Bennett Yarger Associates, the company hired to conduct the search for a new airport manager, did not choose Mr. Flynn as one of the finalists.
Mr. Hegarty wrote, "The independent company (Bennett Yarger Associates) hired to do a non-biased candidate search has clearly stated that of the 40 +/- applicants Sean C. Flynn was a 'candidate not recommended or guaranteed.'"
He continued, "For you or any other commissioner to ignore this information is a flagrant violation of your fiduciary responsibility and breech of trust to the County of Dukes County commissioner's [sic] who appointed you and the tax payers of the County of Dukes County."
Mr. Hegarty said that including Mr. Flynn for consideration would leave the airport vulnerable to a lawsuit.
He wrote that to consider Mr. Flynn "would allow the other applicants to sue the county and the airport commission for deceptive and discriminatory business practices."
Mr. Hegarty could not be reached for comment at his office at the county administration building yesterday.
Commenting on Mr. Hegarty's e-mail, Mr. Law said, "I received the email, and I take it as it is, but I don't think there is any truth to it. I believe he [Mr. Hegarty] is way off base."
Asked to comment on the accusation that he is trying to give Mr. Flynn the airport manager's job, Mr. Law said, "I'm one vote, just one vote on the board. I can't give anybody a job."
This week was not the first time that Mr. Hegarty has sent a harsh e-mail to Mr. Law accusing him of acting inappropriately in his role as airport commission chairman.
In a sharply worded e-mail sent to Mr. Law in May, Mr. Hegarty accused Mr. Law of being a "Nazi control freak."
The e-mail was a response to another e-mail that Mr. Law sent to Mr. Hegarty admonishing him for interfering in the day-to-day management of the airport.
The accusations that Mr. Hegarty slung last May and the ones he made this week are just two examples of the contentious exchanges that Mr. Hegarty has had with other members of the board and airport management, according to Mr. Law.
The Dukes County commissioners appointed Mr. Hegarty to the airport board three years ago, at the height of a battle between members of the county commission and former airport commission member and chairman Marc Villa and Tim Carroll. Both Mr. Villa and Mr. Carroll sought reappointment but were rejected by the county commissioners.
Mr. Hegarty was appointed to the board along with two self-appointed county commissions, Nelson Smith and John Alley. Mr. Smith later stepped down from the position, and the county commissioners again appointed one of their own, Les Leland, to fill the vacancy.
All three men, along with Mr. Law, are currently up for reappointment this year.