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Nashua Airport divisiveness prompts request for liaison

Union Leader Correspondent

August 25. 2014 10:47PM

NASHUA — An aldermanic panel voted 4-1 Monday not to recommend Sandra Adams to fill a vacant seat on the Nashua Airport Authority.

Adams’ husband works at the airport’s air traffic control tower, prompting some to express concern about an alleged conflict of interest.

“It is certainly not a conflict at all,” Adams told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Monday, maintaining she has a good understanding of the airport and its operations.

But some aldermen on the Personnel and Administrative Affairs Committee questioned whether Adams would have to frequently recuse herself from important votes because of a perceived conflict of interest.

Adams owns Midfield Cafe at the airport.

She said Monday that despite all of the changes at the facility, the aviation industry is starting to make positive advances after a dive in the past few years because of the economy.

“There is a little bit of turmoil here right now, but we are such a good community, and I think we can all work together well,” said Adams. “Everyone wants the same goals. This is growing pains, and change is very hard. Everybody resists change, but we do need to make some updates.”

Roland Noyes spoke in favor of Adams’ appointment, saying Adams has an unbiased opinion and remains a vital part of the facility. About 20 letters from citizens supporting Adams’ nomination were submitted to the committee.

But the panel ultimately voted against recommending Adams.

“There is no shortage of other highly qualified candidates for the position,” said Peter Vollheim, who owns a hangar at the airport and said he considers Adams a friend. Because of Adams’ position as the only restaurant owner at the facility, her lease of property at the airport and her husband’s employment at the tower, her appointment could be polarizing, Vollheim said.

Airport liaison

David Deane, president of the Board of Aldermen, said Monday that he is sponsoring a proposal to create an aldermanic liaison to the Nashua Airport Authority.

“There have been a lot of issues over there,” said Deane. “I think it is time to put a liaison over there to keep an ear to the ground and make sure there are no more problems.”

While the liaison position would not have a vote on the Airport Authority, the aldermanic representative would be able to keep abreast of pressing matters, including budgetary issues, said Deane.

“I want to make sure that our airport stays revenue-neutral, and that it is being utilized to its fullest potential,” he said.

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