Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Martha's Vineyard Airport (KMVY) on track to meet Federal Aviation Administration deadlines and expectations

The mission to correct a failed annual inspection will continue under a new, FAA-approved series of deadlines.

Martha’s Vineyard airport commissioners met last Thursday and received an update on the status of the airport’s efforts to comply with FAA standards following a number of deficiencies discovered during an annual inspection in May. Airport Commission chairman Myron Garfinkle of West Tisbury told commissioners that the airport was increasingly on track to meet internal and external deadlines to correct the failings.

These include completion of a 10-year master plan, building a new aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) building, updating a wildlife hazard-management plan, and repainting lines on the runway tarmac.

Mr. Garfinkle reported on a joint meeting Wednesday with interim airport manager Deborah Potter, Mr. Garfinkle, airport commission co-chairman Bob Rosenbaum, three FAA representatives, and three Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) representatives in Hyannis to discuss the status of the airport efforts.

The 10-year master plan was funded in 2012, and the FAA generally expects to see a copy of it within one to two years, Mr. Garfinkle told the commission. They are about to past the three-year mark. FAA officials asked the airport representatives whether they had also dropped the ball on this informal deadline.

“We laid out a schedule that took into account the meetings that were taking place, and we moved forward with the information … The FAA was pleased with that schedule, and basically gave us a pass on our past transgressions,” Mr. Garfinkle said.

The FAA granted just under $900,000 to the airport in 2011 for the design of a combined AARF and snow-removal equipment (SRE) storage building. As a result of delays and no progress in sight, the FAA handed the airport a Dec. 31 deadline to submit a design plan.

The design plan must be completed so that the airport can apply for the FAA grant money needed to build the ARFF. The airport is working toward an internal Dec. 15 deadline, Ms. Potter said.

The wildlife hazard-management plan that was returned to the airport with comments is also being updated, Ms. Potter told commissioners. Two airport employees were sent to offsite, FAA-approved courses about wildlife management at airports, and certified wildlife biologist Jennifer Lynch visited the airport for training on Sept. 30. Mr. Garfinkle told commissioners that despite the one-year training review deadlines set by the FAA, the airport will renew training on a six-month basis.

Ms. Potter also said that the tarmac lines were painted on Oct. 5, 6, and 7 by MassDOT. The painting was postponed from the end of September in order to de-rubber the the tarmac, Mr. Garfinkle said.

‘Cross-pollination’

In other news, Mr. Garfinkle told commissioners he and Ms. Potter would be visiting other Massachusetts airports to “cross-pollinate” with management about their managerial and logistical systems. Most recently, he said, he and Ms. Potter visited the Hyannis Airport, and were impressed with the solar panel program there, used to cut its electric bill. “I was really excited about their solar program,” he said.

He told commissioners that the panels were installed by an outside firm for free in exchange for the associated tax credits. He said it was definitely something they would be looking into for the Island’s airport.

In personnel updates, Mr. Garfinkle told commissioners that they had raised Ms. Potter’s salary because though she is assistant manager, she has been doing a manager’s load of work as the interim manager. The salary has been made to match the appropriate pay grade, Ms. Potter said.

Mr. Garfinkle further reported that the mood at the airport was “very upbeat” and that morale was positive. He referred to the shift as a “tangible turnaround,” and said he was “gratified to see that.”

He added that with respect to public relations, he planned to devise more outreach programs on the Island to “expose the community to aviation,” particularly young people.

“I plan on doing everything possible to promote that,” he said. At the conclusion of the meeting the commission voted unanimously to go into executive session.

There was no mention of the outstanding status of airport manager Sean Flynn. Last month, in a special closed-door meeting, the commissioners voted to place Mr. Flynn on paid administrative leave. The vote followed behind-the-scenes, and ultimately unsuccessful, efforts by Mr. Garfinkle to craft a separation agreement with Mr. Flynn.

Mr. Flynn said efforts to oust him are an outgrowth of the long and debilitating battle between the Dukes County Commission and its appointed Airport Commission, and violate the terms of his contract. He promised a costly legal battle if there were no resolution.

The vote formalized Mr. Flynn’s status, which had been up in the air for more than seven weeks.

Mr. Flynn is in the third month of a new three-year contract that took effect July 1, worth $138,882 annually. Under the terms of the contract, if the airport commission dismisses Mr. Flynn, the commission must pay him through the end of the three-year contract. The commission, by majority vote, could terminate the contract for cause by meeting a number of conditions.

- Source:  http://www.mvtimes.com


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