Politics at play on commission appointments


To the Editor:
We should never forget or underestimate the value of our newspapers shining a bright light on matters, behavior, and issues that should always be transparent and obvious to all ,but frequently slide by in the shadows.
The Dukes County Commission has many responsibilities, none more important than appointing members of the Airport Commission. The airport is a critical element in the economic health of our Island. We have observed over the past few years the value of having a professional and effective airport commission membership.
The fiasco at the county commission during the current appointment cycle is an embarrassment to the commission. Insufficient advertising, politics, and supporting a failed process and procedure all contributed to this.
The county commission recognized that to attract the best candidates, we needed to advertise in a more aggressive manner. Yet the members of the commission, me included, did nothing to create a template for the staff to follow.
Though the process was flawed, some members of the commission were unable to recognize that the result was more important than the process. Thus, we have delayed filling these positions for many weeks, creating uncertainty for the Airport Commission.
I personally hate to see political maneuvering in the workings of any agency, public or private. Our goal should always be to do the best job possible to achieve the best result. The goal is to fulfill our responsibility to the public, those who put their trust in us!
During our last meeting, Commissioner Brathwaite disingenuously stated that he had only casually mentioned the opening to Mr. Vail. That statement flies in the face of our experience and the facts. The first I heard of Mr. Vail was when I received a phone call from Commissioner Brathwaite extolling Mr. Vail, and lobbying for me to vote for Mr. Vail. When it appeared that Mr. Vail’s candidacy was in trouble, Commissioner Brathwaite used his considerable knowledge and experience in meeting procedure to prevent any action by the county commission. When Mr. Vail sent an email to the county commission withdrawing his candidacy, he changed his mind in a few hours, saying that Leon had convinced him to continue his candidacy.
Commissioner Brathwaite has much to offer to the commission and the county. His intelligence, vast governmental experience, and knowledge could be of enormous value to the functioning of the county commission. I hope that going forward we can work together to achieve the appropriate goals of the commission.

Bob Zeltzer