The Dukes County Commission on Wednesday voted to appoint Beth Toomey of West Tisbury to the seven-member Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission.

The commission chose from an unusually large group of applicants, with eight people applying for the single spot.

Ms. Toomey, who is the former West Tisbury police chief, will join the commission amid a months-long dispute regarding the commission’s legal independence from the county, and other internal conflicts. She will replace Peter Bettencourt, whose term was to expire in 2016. Mr. Bettencourt resigned in August, saying he could no longer devote the time required to be a commissioner.

Five of the eight candidates attended the meeting at the county administration building. The meeting had originally been scheduled for Sept. 10, and at least one applicant was unable to attend due to the scheduling change. Ms. Toomey was the third applicant to present at the meeting.

“I thought about this quite a bit when it came up that you were going to need someone, and I kept thinking it would be the right thing to do,” she said. Four of the six commissioners present supported her appointment. Two commissioners voted for Myron Garfinkle, who also attended the meeting.

Ms. Toomey brings to the position her experience in law enforcement, mediation and security training. She said during her 15 years as a law enforcement officer at the airport, she worked under three different airport managers.

Compared to other candidates, many of whom have worked extensively in the aviation industry, Ms. Toomey said she had a different understanding of the airport. She saw the transition to a new building in 2001.

“I think I’m not bringing a lot of aviation to this,” she said following the vote. “I’m bringing other things to the table.” She described herself as a mediator who knows how to “keep things level” within a group. “There is going to be conflict, especially between two commissions,” she said. “How we manage that is what I’m concerned about.”

Ms. Toomey is currently vice president of Vineyard House, a program that provides safe, temporary housing to people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. In 2012, she served as an interim county commissioner.

Other candidates on Wednesday took issue with the current airport management. Jim Graham, who works part time for Cape Air and is in one of the airport master plan working groups, emphasized the opportunity to improve the airport all around. He said the commission’s role was primarily to support the airport manager.

Robert Rosenbaum was not present, but in a letter read aloud by county commission chairman Leonard Jason, he emphasized the need to replace the current management. Arguing that the airport’s employees had been treated with hostility, he cited union negotiations “that were dragged out for years,” and the dismissal this year of Beth Tessmer, “which has resulted in multiple costly lawsuits.” Among other things, he wrote, “I have also observed a significant increase in administrative staff whose function is not apparent to me.”

Jeffrey Wheeler also had submitted written comments to the county commission. Benjamin Lambert Hall, Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd and Kristin Zern were not present at the meeting.

In light of what he saw as a highly qualified group of candidates, county commissioner Tristan Israel suggested expanding the airport commission and appointing additional members. He appeared to welcome the public perception that the county commission was attempting to steer things in a new direction. “From my point of view, damn right,” he said.

Commissioner Christine Todd, who also was recently appointed to the airport commission, supported the idea of an expansion. “Given the nature of what is going on at the airport right now and our ability to maybe get some people in there that have the business experience and aviation experience, the time is right,” she said. “We should very seriously consider expanding the board as soon as possible.”

The commission agreed to determine what steps would be required to appoint new members, and will discuss the issue further at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 24.