Reporter Steve Urbon recently respectfully wrote an article entitled: "Regional airport tenants say assistant manager not needed" (Sept. 20). Clearly well written, but, as the headline suggests, it lacked any rebuttal by the airport administration. The airport seeks two qualified individuals for the positions of manager and assistant manager, and their job duties by title alone suggests redundancy and perhaps the standard government image of misuse of manpower and funds.

To the contrary, the two positions are unique and different. The assistant manager, by design and definition, is the day-to-day manager of daily airport operations. They have the responsibility of managing the airport staff, equipment, and working closely with the airport tenants as needs arise. The manager’s duties include not only acting as the chief executive of the airport, but with the larger duty of advancing operations, expanding commercial air service, seeking new tenants, coordinating with various other government entities and advancing the economic environment of the airport.

Further proof that a two-person management team is necessary can be seen in the last few years: Runways and taxiways are being rebuilt and paved (these were areas that have been neglected since the 1970s); we have new tenants and hangar buildings going up; and possibly new air carrier service. Also, the airport management team changed the landing fee structure and reduced outside contractors, so now each Fixed Base Operator has increased its revenue. There have been countless other improvements that benefit the entire airport community.

It takes a specialized knowledge in aviation, regulations, marketing, and business. Finding qualified candidates in this field within our city’s budget and residency requirements has been challenging. Sometimes the most qualified candidate exceeds the basic qualifications, and has the experience to justify a higher-than-entry-level pay, and that is the discussion being held by the City Council.

Jason Oliveira

New Bedford