They don't listen
The Dukes County commissioners, exposed by their actions and by the judgment of a Superior Court judge to be incompetent, do-nothing wastrels, remain determined to bring the airport commission to heel. County government may be worthless, but it is charged with an instinctual hunger for power, and toward the airport that instinct expresses itself in the county commissioners' determination to appoint to the airport commission only individuals who will dance to the county commissioners' tune, even if the result is a huge bill to county taxpayers.
This week, the county commissioners rescinded their decision to reappoint Jack Law and Les Leland to the airport commission, when they realized that the two men had agreed with the rest of the airport commissioners to a new airport manager's contract that does not conform to county personnel management terms. In hiring and agreeing to terms with the new airport manager, Mr. Law, Mr. Leland, and the rest of the airport commission had acted with an eye to the opinion of Judge Robert Bohn Jr., who held that, although its members are appointed by the county commissioners, the airport functions independently of the county commission. It was Judge Bohn's ruling, on legal issues arising because of the previous airport manager's employment contract, that found the county commissioners interfering in airport affairs improperly, and even despite their own express agreements not to do so. The county commissioners' foolishness and appetite for control rang up a bill in that earlier legal battle of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which the county is unable to pay. This week's action is no different, and it may lead to time wasted and new legal bills. The leaders of the county action were Lenny Jason, who was a ringmaster in the expensive circus that led to the earlier lawsuit, Paul Strauss of Oak Bluffs, and Nelson Smith of Edgartown.
Besides the two airport commissioners that the county cast aside, two others, William Mill and Frank Daly, resigned in reaction to the county commissioners' decision. T.J. Hegarty, the county's rodent control agent, resigned his appointment to the airport commission recently, in a lather over the selection of Sean Flynn to be airport manager. Mr. Flynn, the former assistant airport manager, joined his former boss to sue the county for back pay they were owed, plus legal expenses, and won. That was the last time the county commissioners moved to interfere with hiring decisions made by the airport commissioners. After winning the lawsuit, Bill Weibrecht, Mr. Flynn's predecessor, resigned the manager's job.
Who is left on the airport commission? John Alley, the county commission chairman, is vice-chairman of the airport commission, and he remains in authority over the airport. Mr. Alley presided over the debacle that was the airport before an independent group of airport commissioners brought order to the chaos, got the airport renovated, and brought the business park under control, with the very capable Mr. Weibrecht in operational command. In his written decision, Judge Bohn, in his finding in favor of Mr. Weibrecht and Mr. Flynn, detailed the airport's dishabille under Mr. Alley.
Voters of Dukes County, take note: the county commissioners have this week apparently completed their relentless effort to make lead out of gold at your airport, and to perform this marvelous alchemy on your dime.