Interim Airport Manager Rick Adair threw a curve at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission Tuesday when he told members he wouldn’t continue to serve in that capacity if he wasn’t allowed to apply for the job.
When the commission sought to extend his term beyond June 1, it was deadlocked at 2-2, splitting over whether Adair should have the option of applying for the full-time post.
On Monday the five-member panel will meet to try and break that tie.
Adair’s announcement put the commission in a bind and clear communication between he and the commissioners on his potential interest in the job might have prevented the current deadlock.
Adair stepped in after former Airport Manager Steve Sievek was removed from that post. Adair gave up his seat on the commission and worked at 25 percent of the salary Sievek made — a figure Adair estimated at about $9.97 an hour. He knew at the time that the commission had stipulated that he would not be a candidate for the job.
The airport commission’s insistence that Adair not be a candidate made sense at the time. The removal of Sievek came on the heels of one commissioner resigning from the panel after being found to have had a conflict of interest. The last thing the commission needed was the appearance that the wheels were being greased for a commission member to get the airport manager job.
Fast-forward a few months. The commission and other public officials are pleased with the job Adair is doing and the airport manager search is going to take longer than was originally anticipated. In the mean time, Adair turned down an offer to manage the Warroad airport.
In our view, Adair has earned the right to be considered if he decides to apply for the post. He helped out when the commission was in a jam and has been working for a pittance.
Allowing him to apply is not the same as hiring him for the job. If he’s the best candidate for the job he should be chosen, regardless of the commission’s sensitivity to public perception. If he’s not the best candidate, he should be thanked for stepping in and told that a more qualified candidate was chosen.
— Editorial board