ELLSWORTH, Maine — Hancock County commissioners have dismissed a complaint another county employee had filed against the county’s chief financial officer.
Commissioners had delayed action on the complaint against Phil Roy while they waited to hear back from the Federal Aviation Administration about whether Roy’s handling of the county’s airport funds may have violated FAA rules. On Tuesday, having heard back from FAA, commissioners formally dismissed the complaint by a 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Antonio Blasi opposed.
Allison Rogers, the airport manager, had filed the complaint with commissioners in June 2011 because she was concerned that Roy’s use of some airport funds was prohibited by federal regulations.
Specifically, Roy used revenues from Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport to pay about $15,000 in county administrative costs as they relate to the airport, and used some airport revenues as principal in county investments. The funds used in the investments and the interest they earned were returned to the airport’s coffers.
FAA rules prohibit the use of revenue from any airport that receives FAA funding for anything unrelated to the operation of that airport. According to Roy and county commissioners, what Roy did had been done in prior years by other county officials.
FAA looked into Rogers’ concerns and, after reaching an agreement with Roy’s office about the bookkeeping procedures the county has to use, determined that the county could continue to use airport funds as it had been doing. FAA sent a letter last month to county commissioners about its findings.
At their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, having reviewed the FAA’s findings, commissioners revisited Rogers’ complaint against Roy. Rogers told commissioners that she was satisfied with the accounting procedures that FAA is requiring of Roy’s office, which include keeping Rogers informed of all transfers of airport funds.
Rogers offered at the meeting to withdraw the complaint, but Roy declined the offer.
“I’d like to have a dismissal” of the complaint by the commissioners, Roy said.
Percy “Joe” Brown, chairman of the commissioners, said he also felt the commissioners should make a written finding that Roy had not mishandled airport funds and dismiss the complaint.
In other business on Tuesday, commissioners decided to send out a request for proposals for a proposed expansion of the airport’s terminal building. Bids are due back by April 29, with a goal of starting construction on July 1. The construction project is expected to take 15 to 18 months to complete, according to county officials.
The expansion is expected to cost between $2.2 million and $2.5 million, with the county’s anticipated share around $450,000. FAA is expected to pay the vast majority of the project’s costs.