Shockwaves continue over airport manager’s resignation
ESCANABA — Shockwaves originating from the resignation of Delta County Airport Manager Andrea Nummilien, who left her post last Friday, continued to reverberate during Tuesday’s meeting of the Delta County Board of Commissioners.
“I am going to miss Andrea, by the way, but that being said, we do need to move on with the business of the airport,” said Airport Advisory Board Chair Brian Herioux during Tuesday’s meeting.
Nummilien submitted her letter of resignation last Wednesday. The letter included an apology for the short notice, but said she needed to end her employment with Delta County “as soon as possible” for the sake of her physical and mental health.
In both the letter stating her intent to resign and during an interview with the Daily Press that took place the following day, Nummilien pointed to the new direction of the county board and the leadership of Board Chair Dave Moyle for creating a stressful workplace.
Moyle responded to Nummilien’s comments during his own interview with the Daily Press Friday by saying he was “shocked,” both by her resignation and her comments about him, and that he had “done nothing wrong.”
“She specifically listed me, and if you look at my voting, I voted to give her her stipend. And so I don’t have a problem with the girl, and right now I think I’m going to be blamed for it, but as far as the board goes, we gave her everything she asked for,” he told the Daily Press.
Moyle’s use of the word “girl” drew ire from Nummilien’s supporters, who felt it was disrespectful to women. Moyle has previously been accused of being mysogynistic by residents, particularly by those who support Former Delta County Administrator Emily DeSalvo, who was terminated in February after she gave an 11-minute statement criticizing the board for unethical and disrespectful behavior.
“I’ve known Andrea since she’s been a kid and that’s why I said — it was probably a dumb thing to say, ‘the girl.’ I don’t care what anybody thinks. I’m not happy to see her go,” Moyle said Tuesday.
Nummilien — who attended Tuesday’s meeting wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with the words “the girl” — asked to speak during the time of Tuesday’s meeting set aside for department heads to give reports on their respective departments, but was denied the opportunity as she was no longer the head of activities at the airport. Instead, she broke her prepared statement into 3-minute segments, which were read in public comment with the help of Kelli Van Ginhoven, who formerly ran against Moyle for his seat on the commission and has publicly stated her intent to challenge him in an upcoming recall election; Christiana Renyolds, who with Van Ginhoven, serves as an administrator for the “Delta County Citizens of Ethical Leadership” Facebook group; Nummilien’s mother, Terry Nummilien, who wore a shirt reading “the girl’s mom;” and Chris DeSalvo, mother of Emily DeSalvo.
Among the events in Nummilien’s statement was an incident that was investigated by the FBI. According to Nummilien, Moyle had commented on a Facebook post made by another individual that said there was a “possible massive security breach” at the airport last fall. Moyle did not reference the claim in his reply to the post, but Numilien said Moyle “gave legitimacy to a disgusting lie that wasted people’s time from the county all the way up to the federal government.”
Nummilien said neither she nor her staff were aware of any security breaches, but she reported the incident to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which involved the FBI. The alleged breach was later revealed to be a tour given to Van Ginhoven while she was seeking election to the County’s Fourth District seat held by Moyle.
Nummilien also said Moyle and Commissioner Bob Barron had come to the airport when she was on vacation to “find dirt” on her — something Moyle denied during his commissioner comments — and pointed to both the firing of DeSalvo and the hire of new Delta County Administrator Ashleigh Young, who DeSalvo said was “unprepared for this pivotal position,” as contributing to her departure.
Young, who thanked Nummilien for her service to the county prior to Nummilien’s statement, will be responsible for the airport until a permanent replacement is found.
“Until then, as the administrator, it is my duty to fill the gap as a department head until someone is hired to fill the postion permanently. I will receive no extra compensation for this, as it is a part of my job description. I will not need approval from the board to take on these additional duties I just ask everyone to have patience with the Delta County Airport as we move forward,” Young said in her administrator’s report.
The county has 90 days to find a licensed airport manager. During the meeting, the board authorized Young to post the position and to set a meeting of the county’s finance committee to review the position’s salary.