The Islip town board voted 5-0 to fire Teresa Rizzuto, commissioner of Long Island MacArthur Airport, by replacing her with her deputy as an interim commissioner while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement.
James Hennessey was appointed Tuesday with little fanfare. Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci said replacing Rizzuto will take the airport in a new direction since there has been a decline in the number of flights to and from LIMA since 2006.
“We very much want to have more choices at MacArthur airport and see the economic engine of Suffolk County succeed,” Croci told the Press on Friday, denying the move was about politics.
Croci, a Republican, took office in January after unseating his Democratic predecessor, Phil Nolan, who hired Rizzuto, also a Republican, in 2008.
Rizzuto previously served as the in-flight manager of United Airlines at JFK, the general manager at Newark and then the general manager at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C.
She oversaw the construction of a $25 million control tower, a $12 million road improvement project and managed all of the daily business at MacArthur during her time at the airport.
News that Rizzuto was about to be fired six months into the new administration broke last week.
Hennessey, the former British Airways manager at Baltimore Washington Marshall International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, will be the new commissioner effective immediately.
“The Supervisor certainly has the right to select people with whom he chooses to work and I respect that,” Rizzuto said last week. “It has been an honor to serve as Commissioner for nearly five years where I have been associated with some of the hardest working people in the aviation business.”
-With Rashed Mian