Tensions between the Martha’s Vineyard Airport commission and the Dukes County commission are showing little sign of abating, despite an invitation this month from the county commission asking that the two groups try to resolve their differences out of court.

A legal standoff lasting several weeks and most recently involving the county’s decision to expand the airport commission from seven to nine members has nearly eliminated communication between the two groups.

On Oct. 15, county chairman Leonard Jason Jr. sent a letter to airport chairman Constance Teixeira, asking if any airport commissioners would be willing to meet with the county commissioners. “We feel it would be beneficial to both parties to settle our differences outside of a courtroom,” he wrote. “It is better to save public funds for providing needed services to the public.”

But as of Monday, Ms. Teixeira had not responded. Christine Todd and Richard Michelson were among the airport commissioners who accepted the invitation. Ms. Todd said Tuesday that she believed newly appointed commissioners Beth Toomey, Myron Garfinkle and Robert Rosenbaum were also willing to take part in the discussion. Ms. Todd serves on both the county and airport commissions.

County manager Martina Thornton said Monday that there had been been some responses to the letter, but declined to say how many. “What I heard is that they were planning to respond through the airport commission chair and I have not received anything from her yet,” she said.

Ms. Todd said at a county commission meeting last week that several airport commissioners had been contacted by Ms. Teixeira and advised not to accept the invitation. She added that an attorney representing the airport had sent a letter to airport commissioners suggesting that such a meeting would violate the state’s open meeting laws.

Ms. Thornton confirmed this week that at least part of the meeting would be open to the public, but that it was unclear exactly how the discussion might unfold.

The airport and county commissions have long been at odds over who ultimately controls the airport, with conflicts going back more than a decade. While the airport commission is financially independent, it is owned by the county, and its members are appointed by the county commission. In September, the county commissioners expanded the board’s membership from seven to nine and appointed three new members. The airport commission responded with litigation, claiming the expansion was a violation of the county’s grant assurances.

Tensions also flared this spring, following the dismissal of airport employee Beth Tessmer, who has since filed lawsuits against both the airport and the county for her dismissal. Mr. Michelson said the airport commission’s handling of that situation had led county commissioners not to reappoint two of the airport commissioners, and to appoint Ms. Todd and Mr. Michelson instead.

“We both came in there with what we feel still needs to be done.” Mr. Michelson said Monday. “And that’s to have an open and transparent airport commission.” He said that over the years the balance of power within the airport has shifted from the commission as a whole to airport manager Sean Flynn.

“I’m not for the county running the airport,” he said. “I think the airport commission should be running the airport; I don’t believe they are doing that. There is too much secretiveness going on.”

He described procedures that he said contradicted the commission’s charge under state law to control the airport. “As far as I’m concerned there is no oversight,” he said. He noted an absence of communication between some board members and Ms. Teixeira, and the cancellation of every meeting since August. He added that he and Ms. Todd were excluded from membership in an airport subcommittee that is responsible for filing legal complaints. “In effect we have nothing to say about the money they are spending,” he said.

Mr. Flynn and Ms. Teixeira did not respond to inquiries this week from the Gazette.

Airport commissioner Norman Perry said he welcomed Mr. Jason’s letter, but said discussions between the two boards would be impossible because of the litigation. He noted that when the commission was first dealing with the issue involving Ms. Tessmer, it voted unanimously to settle the issue through outside mediation. But he said Ms. Tessmer’s attorney called the mediation off five weeks later. “I couldn’t believe it when I heard it,” he said.

As a former police commissioner in Connecticut, Mr. Perry said he has confidence in the mediation process. “You don’t get all you want but you resolve the issue,” he said.

Some members of the airport commission, along with some members of the county advisory board, which approves the county budget, have argued that the lawsuits are a waste of taxpayer money. At a joint meeting of the county commission and advisory board last Wednesday, advisory board member Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter argued on behalf of the public for an end to the litigation, a review of the record of that meeting shows. “I don’t think it makes any difference to the people which side wins or loses,” he said.

Advisory board member William Rossi said: “I think in three months this situation is going to be completely resolved, without going to court and spending money on legal fees.” He believed that with its three new appointees, the airport commission would “be more in line with county commissioners’ thinking,” and that the issue could be resolved without more legal spending.

The county’s $16,500 legal budget for this fiscal year will likely be exceeded, with more than $11,000 expended since May, another $3,000 bill to be processed and more bills expected from September and October. The advisory board last week approved an additional $5,000 to cover the extra fees.

County commissioner Tristan Israel pointed out at Wednesday’s meeting that the airport has more money for legal expenses, giving it an unfair advantage over the county commission. And while he believed the county should be able to continue to respond to the lawsuits, he insisted it was not merely a power struggle. In an interview with the Gazette last week, he said the county’s goal was “to restore confidence and restore due process at the airport.”

One of Mr. Michelson’s goals as a commissioner is to improve cooperation among all the Island’s agencies. He believed the legal spending on the part of the airport was unnecessary.

“I think these lawsuits are way out of hand,” he said. “I think there is way too much money being wasted from the airport coffers for these lawsuits and injunctions, when nobody has tried to sit down together — the two commissions — and try to work things out. And I think that’s long overdue.”