2016-09-09 / Front Page

Wood accepts FAA job offer and leaves planning board post

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Planning board member Mike Wood resigned from the board last month due to an opportunity to work as a Federal Aviation Administration consultant in Washington D.C. Over his years of public service, Wood has served two tenures on the planning board and several years on the town council. (File photo) Planning board member Mike Wood resigned from the board last month due to an opportunity to work as a Federal Aviation Administration consultant in Washington D.C. Over his years of public service, Wood has served two tenures on the planning board and several years on the town council. (File photo) Scarborough resident Mike Wood loves having the chance to give back to his community in whatever way is needed, but sometimes work gets in the way.

Last month, Wood stepped down from the planning board after accepting a job with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which Wood has been working with for more than 25 years. It is the second time during his time as a town official that Wood has had to step down due to new employment responsibilities.

“I got a job offer working with the FAA through a con tractor in (Washington) D.C.,” Wood said last week. “I couldn’t continue my board responsibilities and be working in D.C. four or five days a week, so I had to reluctantly step down. It’s a pretty rare and exciting opportunity to work in D.C.”

Wood won’t be working directly with air traffic control like he did for his career with the FAA, including 18 years as a supervisor at the Portland International Jetport Air Traffic tower, but rather be evaluating procedures and “editing, amending and facilitating changes to the rules and regulations they use.”

While he will be “getting a place” in, or around, Washington D.C., Wood will maintain a residence in Scarborough.

“The plan is to be able to come back every other weekend at least,” said Wood, who was on the planning board for nine years and was elected to the town council twice.

Wood faced a similar situation five years ago – having to put work over service to the town – when in August 2011, Wood resigned from the Scarborough Town Council – effective at that November’s election – to take a job as an operations supervisor in the Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center, a facility responsible for air traffic coming into and out of the Boston and New York areas.

As part of his job, Wood was responsible for Area C, which monitored air traffic at airports in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Wood returned to public service in Scarborough after a two-year stint as an air traffic controller and instructor at Erbil International Airport in Iraq.

When he returned stateside in 2014, he was quickly approached by several people urging him to join the planning board for a second stint.

He was appointed by the town council as a full voting member of the planning board in December 2014. He joined the board in January 2015. His term would have expired in 2017.

“I truly do enjoy giving back to the community in a way that makes me feel valued. I feel I have offered some common sense direction (to Scarborough),” Wood said.

Wood said he has enjoyed serving the town whether on the planning board or council.

“It’s always been fulfilling helping in any regard the town has a need for,” he said. “The fact I keep coming back shows there is value in that. I hope more and more people step up to the plate because this town is so well endowed and so fortunate to have the cross section of people and demographic we do,” Wood said.

Planning board alternate Roger Beeley said Wood will be hard to replace.

“He’s done a great job serving the town in a number of capacities and we are going to miss him,” Beeley said.

Chairman Corey Fellows agreed.

“It was a real pleasure for me to serve on the board with him. I always looked up to him as a role model in terms of public service,” Fellows said this week, adding he was impressed with Wood’s “level of preparedness, professionalism” and the way he worked with his board members and members of the community.

Fellows said he is unsure when a replacement may join the board, and has no part in the selection process. That work is done by the town council’s appointments committee, a group made up of Chris Caiazzo, Will Rowan and chaired by Kate St. Clair.

“I am kept abreast just to the extent of making me aware of where they are in the process and when we might expect a new member would join the board,” Fellow said.

Per the Town Of Scarborough Town Committees/ Board Manual, “when there is a permanent vacancy, the Town Council shall, within 60 days of its occurrence appoint a person to serve for the unexpired term.” Doing so is a two-step process in which names of candidates are posted one meeting and voted on at the subsequent meeting.

St. Clair said the appointments committee was scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the vacancy. The meeting was after the Leader’s deadline.

Until Wood’s seat is filled, it will be business as usual for the planning board.

“We do have a sufficient number for a quorum,” Fellows said. “It is not terribly unusual for us to be down a member for a length of time.”

St. Clair said she would like to get the position filled as soon as possible.

“I believe that is a committee that we shouldn’t sit around and wait on. I believe it is a committee that needs to be at full capacity,” St. Clair said.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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