SARANAC LAKE - The town of Harrietstown board has fired Ross Dubarry as manager of the town-run Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear.
The unanimous decision came after board members met with Dubarry in executive session Thursday night, according to town Councilman and Deputy Supervisor Barry DeFuria. He and other town officials contacted by the Enterprise declined to say why the board fired Dubarry.
"The board voted to terminate Ross' employment with the town of Harrietstown," DeFuria said Friday morning. "Because it's a personnel issue, I can't say anything more than that right now."
Dubarry also declined to say anything about his termination when the Enterprise contacted him at home Friday.
Hired by the town in February 2008, Dubarry had previously worked as the manager of the Hayward Executive Airport near Oakland, Calif. He was making roughly $63,000 a year here, according to Harrietstown's 2011 budget.
The Lake Clear airport has had its share of ups and downs since Dubarry took over. The same month he was hired, Hyannis, Mass.-based Cape Air took over operation of the federally subsidized commercial passenger service at the airport. Since then, the number of passengers using that service has increased from 6,400 to more than 11,000 a year.
But on the downside, the airport's budget took a big hit in 2009 because of a decline in private and corporate aircraft flying into the region, a trend tied to the recession. Fuel sales - the biggest source of revenue for the airport - decreased more than $400,000 that year, forcing the town to implement a double-digit property tax levy increase. Irate taxpayers told the board to sell, or even close, the airport.
DeFuria said the airport is still feeling the effects of a stagnant economy. The town hasn't sold as much fuel, but revenue is actually up because the airport raised its fuel prices, he said.
"We're not selling what we anticipated, but nobody's flying," DeFuria said. "We can't force them."
After the board voted to fire Dubarry Thursday night, DeFuria said they appointed Assistant Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch as acting airport manager, pending the approval of Franklin County Civil Service. Hurwitch was also hired by the town in 2008.
Asked if Hurwitch is in line to become the next airport manager, DeFuria said town officials plan to hold a work session next week to discuss "the new direction" of the airport.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.