Greenwald To Return To North Adams Airport Manager Post
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Airport Commission voted on Tuesday to bring Bill Greenwald back as the airport manager but under a different organizational structure.
Administrative Assistant Michael Canales recommended that the commission accept a proposal from the former part-time airport manager which puts him in charge of the facilities, the city in charge of administrative issues, and the city auditor in charge of finances.
"We think this will allow us to continue safe operations for the time being," Canales said. "We will have three people performing the duties split up…We are trying to get back into compliance."
Greenwald recently resigned and that placed the airport out of compliance with the state. Canales said the state Department of Transportation mandates that there be a recognized airport manager.
Canales said this plan is an interim fix that will allow the city to look at other options.
"For the time being yes…we don’t know where we will go from there but…we think this will allow us to run safely until such a time when we think we need something different," Canales said.
Canales added that Greenwald will still receive a salary. Past city budgets have the salary steady at $6,000.
Michael Milazzo asked if any other people or options were looked at and felt as though Greenwald was getting a raise.
"Fewer duties same pay so he got a pay increase," he said. "Basically, he resigned and he is taking a pay increase."
Milazzo also advocated for a full-time manager and asked the city to look into that concept.
Former commissioner Trevor Gilman also spoke up and echoed previous statements that the airport needs a full-time manager.
"I would just like to say that this does not meet the needs of safety," Gilman said. "This temporary or part-time position does not meet those requirements."
Chairman Jeff Naughton disagreed that Greenwald would have less work and said a full-time manager would be ideal but is something the city cannot afford.
"We don’t have the money to afford a full-time manager or to be able to hire full-time staff seven days a week," he said. "We just don’t."
Canales said a specific email and phone number will be set up and monitored by all three parties. He said the email will also be monitored during the weekend.
Commissioner Shaun Dougherty said he was concerned about the Avgas system and felt that not having someone ever present could cause issues if the system malfunctioned.
Canales said the system malfunctioned last weekend and the city was able to get it back up in running in a few days.
Airport business owner Alex Kelly said it would be beneficial to be able to call the Avgas maintenance company directly instead of trying to get a hold of the city or manager.
"We are a business and fuel didn’t work all weekend," Kelly said. "To call the manager, he calls you, they call the next person who comes and fixes it. I would imagine there could be a way to just call the company. There are businesses that need fuel. Without fuel, we are essentially out of business."
Kelly added that he was uneasy about Greenwald coming back and alleged conflicts of interest and acts of favoritism committed by the former manager.
In other business, the Airport Commission also approved new leases for city-owned space at the airport and have given current tenants until Aug. 15 to accept the new terms.
"We will offer these to the tenants currently occupying those spaces and if they choose to continue their lease we will move forward," Canales said. "By the 15th they need to either confirm they are going to enter into the lease or remove their assets from the public space."
Because of irregularities in city leases at the airport, the city hired a law firm and underwent a standardization process.
The first lease the commission approved was for the city hangar classroom space in which Kelly was given permission to run a flight school/ skydiving business.
Canales said the city will honor what Kelly placed in his statement of interest and in exchange for rent, Kelly will cover all custodial services in the city hangar.
Kelly asked for the opportunity to discuss the lease agreement in executive session. Both Naughton and Canales said no and that Kelly can either accept their terms or not.
"We are presenting the terms…and it will be up to you if you want to enter into the lease or not," Canales said. "It is completely voluntary if you decide not to, this is your choice."
The commission then voted to approve the public hangar space, which currently has three tenants and a lease for the CAP building.
Canales said the rent for the hangar space will be a base amount of $3,000 or $250 a month and the CAP building will have an annual $600 base rent fee which entitles tenants to tie downs for club aircraft only.
Milazzo said he thought the amounts were too small and said even if Kelly has agreed to maintain the hangar, the city should still accept money.
"It just doesn’t make sense to me…the city should be accepting something for that office space," he said. "I think the city is giving away an awful a lot of potential revenue."
All three leases are for three-year terms and include "termination of convenience" clause that allows the city to give a 30 days’ notice to terminate a lease.
Milazzo said he felt that clause was unfair to tenants.
"I think this is the first non-lease lease I have ever read," he said. "You are not giving anyone who is investing money on an airplane or a business any real strong footing to stand on…this is a month to month. Why are we messing around with leases at all?"
Commissioner Dean Bullet agreed.
The commission also approved a nonaviation use at the airport and will allow Greenwald to run his business, Delftree Mushroom Farm, out of a hangar office.
Canales said in return Greenwald will continue to post Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for the airport.
"He has offered an aviation service in return to us letting his company use the office space at the airport," he said.
Canales said the FAA does allow this but only with commission approval.
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