Myron Garfinkle, who has served as chairman of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission for the past three years, will not seek reappointment, setting up a change of leadership in the seven member board.

The Dukes County Commission is responsible for appointing members of the airport commission. On Feb. 7 the county commission interviewed three candidates who applied for three open three-year terms on the airport commission.

The three candidates are incumbent airport commissioner Robert Rosenbaum, incumbent Clarence (Trip) Barnes 3rd, and former Oak Bluffs selectman Walter Vail.

Mr. Garfinkle could not be reached for comment this week. He has presided over a period of change and transition at the airport, including the hiring of a new manager and completion of a new air fire and rescue facility. At the airport business park, the ouster last year of a longtime tenant who owned a gas station and car wash was controversial and became mired in expensive legal proceedings.

Mr. Rosenbaum said the current chairman felt it was time for a change.

“This had become a full time job for him,” he told the Gazette. “He was putting in a lot of hours. My understanding is he just got to the point where he was burning out and needed to step aside.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Rosenbaum and county commissioner Robert Zeltzer were strongly critical of the county commission’s process to appoint commissioners.

Mr. Zeltzer, in two successive county commission meetings, attempted to extend the deadline for applications.

Speaking to the Gazette this week, he said the county placed a small and in his view inadequate advertisement in one Island newspaper and failed to do enough to seek qualified candidates. He said the lack of widespread public notification caused at least one qualified candidate, retired airport consultant Geoffrey Wheeler, to submit his application one day late.

“If people were made aware, we might really get some good people to stand up and do something for the Island,” Mr. Zeltzer said. “We’re not allowing that to happen. When you come across a failed process, you fix it there and then.”

The county commission voted 4-2 at the Feb. 7 meeting not to reopen the application process.

Mr. Zeltzer said he was prepared to make another motion to reopen the application process at the Feb. 22 meeting of the county commission, but he said two commissioners, chairman John Alley and commissioner Leon Brathwaite, exited the meeting in haste, leaving the commission without a quorum.

“The two of them scurried out,” Mr. Zeltzer said. “No question, they left to destroy the quorum.”

Mr. Alley said he left to attend a funeral. He said the process has been fair.

“To me it was quite straightforward,” he said. “You advertise the vacancies, you set a date. All applications arrived, except there was one late application. The board voted not to extend the deadline, and that was the end of the story.”

Mr. Rosenbaum was also critical of the process.

“Why the heck do I give a damn?” he said. “Because I’ve spent the last three years of my life, working very hard, along with the other commissioners to turn the airport from a dysfunctional place into a functional entity. Having been at that meeting, and seen what went on, the blatant attempts to not even allow a candidate with incredible credentials to even be considered. If you were trying to get the best candidates, wouldn’t you make a little more effort?”

Mr. Brathwaite, who supports Mr. Vail’s nomination, said the attempt to reopen the nominations at the Feb. 22 meeting was not in order, and he needed to leave to get to a budget meeting convened by the county advisory board. He also said the process has been fair.

“We had three candidates,” Mr. Brathwaite said. “Usually when we extend the date it’s when we have two candidates for three positions, or no candidates for one position. In this case we had three candidates that had submitted timely indications they wanted to be on the commission.”

The county commission is set to vote on the appointments at a meeting on March 7.