Airport commission tackles busy business agenda at its monthly meeting.
With a new manager on deck and a financial audit that flagged numerous deficiencies from the past year, the Martha’s Vineyard airport commission looked forward and also back at their monthly meeting this week.
Chairman Myron Garfinkle said Thursday that the commission is close to completing contract negotiations with Ann Crook, who was chosen two weeks ago to be the new manager at the Island’s only commercial airport. Ms. Crook currently manages an airport in Elmira, N.Y. She is expected to begin work on May 6.
Mr. Garfinkle said he sees no major stumbling blocks in the negotiations. “We are in agreement on all major points,” he said. “We are very, very close.”
Also Thursday, the commission voted to promote Geoffrey Freeman to assistant airport manager.
Mr. Freeman is currently a supervisor and began work at the airport as a ramp agent in 1987.
He will be paid $95,000 annually, and was guaranteed the option to return to his supervisor job, if he or the commission decide not to continue after a probationary period.
Commission vice chairman Robert Rosenbaum reported the preliminary results of a forensic audit of airport financial transactions for the fiscal year 2015. Mr. Rosenbaum said the audit found multiple errors for vacation time, sick time and earned time.
“That should come as no surprise,” Mr. Rosenbaum said. “The way they were tracked was very loose.”
Former manager Sean Flynn resigned his post in December after a prolonged period of internal turmoil at the airport.
Mr. Rosenbaum said the audit flagged questions about whether airport management followed proper public procurement rules with 13 vendors.
The auditors made a series of recommendations, including streamlining computer financial systems and segregating responsibilities for payment and procurement. Mr. Rosenbaum said the auditors recommended the commission assume responsibility for payment authorization.
“The commission should take actual responsibility for that, rather than just the financial liability for it,” Mr. Rosenbaum said.
In other business, interim manager Rod Dinger said painting and repairs have begun on the terminal building. The commission issued a request for proposals for construction of a new rescue and firefighting facility, and plans to issue RFPs in the near future for an automated paid parking system and collection of a facility fee of $4.50 per passenger, to help fund capital projects.
Bids were awarded for rental car counter space at the airport terminal. Hertz was the highest bidder and will pay $85,000 in annual rent. Budget and Avis followed, with bids of $65,105 and $64,209 respectively. The contracts are for three years.
The commission also awarded bids for summer counter space to Jet Blue ($18,842), American Airlines ($16,600), and Delta Airlines ($16,824).
Jet Blue is scheduled to begin summer service to Martha’s Vineyard on May 12. American and Delta begin their summer service on June 1.
Cape Air is the only year-round commercial airline that services the Island.
Airport commission meetings are held on the second Thursday of every month at 2 p.m. at the West Tisbury Library. The meetings are open to the public.
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