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North Adams Airport May Hire Interim Manager
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
05:19PM / Sunday, January 23, 2022
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Airport Commission may hire an interim airport manager while it figures out what the position will ultimately look like.
 
After a project update during an commission meeting Tuesday, the members agreed to look into appointing an interim to take over for Administrative Officer Angela Ellison, who has been covering the position. 
 
"I think we need someone who has the knowledge to run the airport who can relieve Angie," Commissioner Dean Bullett said. "No matter what we decide to do I think we need some sort of bridge right now."
 
Ellison took over as manager after longtime manager Willard "Bill" Greenwald left the position last year.
 
Late last year, the commission interviewed finalist Bruce Goff after a five-month search. But after some discussion, the commissioners agreed to delay their decision. Some members were not confident in the current structure of the job description and wanted to further discuss the possibility of a full-time manager.
 
During this meeting, Ellison indicated that she does not have time to properly address her city duties and airport duties and was hesitant to continue her dual role. 
 
Commissioner Dan Caplinger said some research is needed to see what is possible. He added if hiring an interim manager is a lengthy process it may not be worth it. He also wanted to run the idea by new Mayor Jennifer Macksey to make sure she was OK possibly bringing on someone to cover the airport in the interim.
 
"I think we need to reach out to the mayor and see if this fits into her overall view of the airport," he said.
 
The next question was who could hold this interim position. Caplinger asked that the commission build a roster of potential candidates.
 
Former commissioner and airport user Trevor Gilman recalled that before Greenwald, Matt Champney had been the manager. Gilman added that he was also manager for a time after longtime manager Peter Esposito left the position
 
Caplinger asked that the commissioners do some more research before scheduling a special meeting before addressing the interim manager.
 
"This is just the process right now," Caplinger said. "We haven't made any decisions and we may find information that may lead us in a different direction. I think we have our information to  gather."
 
Bullett did say he had a positive meeting with Macksey, who, he said, felt it may be worth hiring a consultant to manage the airport in the short term. Bullett reported that the consultant could get a read on what the North Adams airport needs in terms of time and duties.
 
Nonetheless, an interim manager would still be needed in the immediate future.
 
In other business, Caplinger said the Williamstown Select Board has reached out to the commission to review airport operations and projects that include the town.
 
Caplinger, a Williamstown resident and airport user, said he declined to attend the meeting because he did not want to represent the commission without the commission's approval.
 
Ellison suggested that the commission bring the issue to the mayor first, noting typically other governmental bodies from other communities would not hold discussions with an individual board or commission.
 
Caplinger reinforced that any of his dealings with Williamstown would be in the interest of North Adams and the airport.
 
"I am sensitive to the potential politics of the matter. I am a Williamstown resident and I know the town government," he said. "... But it is an imperative. I am not a Williamstown representative. I represent the interest of North Adams. That is why I am on the commission."
 
He added that he hoped his knowledge of Williamstown could be helpful in future dealings.
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