Assistant Delta County Airport manager resigns

ESCANABA — Delta County Assistant Airport Manager Suani Nieto tendered her resignation last week. Tuesday, the Delta County Board of Commissioners took steps towards filling the position at its re-organizational meeting.

Delta County Airport Manager Jeffery Sierpien said he was looking for the board to post a job description for the assistant airport manager position and to hire James Ayotte (who worked in the airport’s administrative office last summer and fall) as a temporary worker until a new assistant airport manager can be found.

“Basically, (the) two things are: advertise for the position and have a temp worker between now and then,” he said.

Commissioner David Moyle said he was apprehensive about making a decision.

“I’m not comfortable moving forward with this … until I have more information, I’d like to table this,” he said.

Commissioner Theresa Nelson, who serves on the county’s personnel committee, also voiced some concerns.

“We were never told anything, and I would just wonder why we weren’t notified as a personnel committee,” she said.

Delta County Administrator Philip Strom provided a brief summary of the events that led to Nieto’s resignation.

“Mr. Sierpien and the assistant airport manager had made efforts to work together upon his coming on board. Mr. Sierpien had expressed some general concerns with the (assistant) airport manager — we had some internal HR discussions with the assistant manager and, ultimately, she tendered a letter of resignation and we accepted that,” he said. Concerns were expressed by Nieto at this time, as well.

Additionally, Strom said that — while the personnel committee was not involved with Nieto’s resignation — each commissioner was individually notified.

Strom said he felt it was important to post the assistant airport manager job opening as soon as possible. “We need to get the position posted and advertised quickly,” he said.

He was also not against the idea of temporarily hiring Ayotte to help out at the airport.

“In the interim, the idea of bringing back the person that was a temp and has some internal knowledge of those job duties, I think, is a reasonable idea,” he said.

The board unanimously voted in favor of both posting the position and hiring Ayotte as a temporary worker in the airport’s administrative office for up to 30 hours a week. Ayotte is expected to work at the airport for about one to two months; if the process of finding a new assistant airport manager takes longer than this, an extension will be requested.