Fired airport employee sues Airport Commission to get her job back


Beth Tessmer, a nine-year employee who was promoted, suspended, and then fired in less than one year, filed a civil complaint on May 6 against the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission, asking a judge to order the Airport Commission to give her job back to her.

The complaint for declaratory judgement filed in Dukes County Superior Court asks the court to declare that the Airport Commission acted outside its authority by failing to follow grievance procedures established by the Dukes County Commission.

Attorney Ted Saulnier of Falmouth, retired Tisbury police chief, represents Ms. Tessmer. Mr. Saulnier asked the court to order the Airport Commission to reinstate Ms. Tessmer “without loss of compensation and award legal fees and all reasonable costs for this litigation to the plaintiff and all further remedies as this court deems just.”

In the complaint, Mr. Saulnier disputes the Airport Commission’s disciplinary procedure. He argued that the Airport Commission established an interim grievance procedure only after it disciplined Ms. Tessmer, and that the disciplinary hearings should have been handled by the Dukes County Commission, not the Airport Commission. Mr. Saulnier asked for a jury trial on all the applicable issues.

Airport commissioners insist that the airport and not the county commission is responsible for all airport matters. In a 13-page civil complaint dated May 1 filed in Dukes County Superior court, airport commission lawyers asked the court to prohibit the county officials from seeking to “unlawfully interfere with, and obstruct the functioning,” of the Airport Commission.