Peter Frazier, counsel for the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC), is confident the authority has properly posted today’s meeting, where the board is scheduled to define the attributes it hopes to find in a successor to Kevin Dillon.
Richard Langseth, who closely follows developments at the airport, questioned Tuesday whether RIAC met the 48-hour public notice as required by state law. Further, since the board is discussing the criteria for a president and CEO (not candidates for the job), Langseth says the full meeting should be open to the public. According to the agenda posted on the Secretary of State website, after opening with a public comment period at 9 a.m., the board will go into executive session.
“It [the meeting agenda] was posted before 9 a.m. on Monday. From that standpoint, we’re rock solid,” Frazier said.
He said the notice was posted in public locations, as they usually are, but did not appear on the Secretary of State website until about 10:46 that morning. He explained there was a delay because the state website was down.
That would appear to put the posting well within the 48-hour requirement unless the July 4th holiday is subtracted from the calculation, in which case it misses it by 76 minutes. Frazier reasons RIAC met the requirement because hard copies of the notice were posted in public locations before 9 a.m. Monday.
As for the board going into executive session, Frazier said that is permissible. Specifically, the agenda lists the reason as “Investment of Public Funds Where Premature Disclosure Would be Detrimental to the Public Interest (Executive Search Criteria).”
He said the reasoning for discussing the criteria on which the board will make its selection behind closed doors is so candidates for the job can’t rehearse for interviews.
“We’ll be as public as we can possibly be,” Frazier assured.
He added that RIAC takes compliance with open meeting requirements “very, very seriously” and that he is “comfortable we are doing what is in the best interests of the state.”
The board is also expected to name an interim director and a selection committee at today’s meeting before going into executive session.
Dillon, who is leaving later this month to assume the job of president and CEO of the Connecticut Airport Authority based at Bradley International Airport, has retained ADK Executive Search of Atlantic Beach, Fla., to conduct a search for his successor. The firm specializes exclusively in searches for airport management.
Frazier, who served as interim director for three months after Mark Brewer left RIAC about five years ago, said he would be happy to fill that job if asked.