Picente names new Airport Commissioner

ROME, N.Y. - Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today announced that he is nominating W. Vernon Gray III, a U.S. Navy veteran with extensive air operations experience, as the Oneida County Airport Commissioner.

"My intention in re-creating the position of Commissioner of Aviation was to ensure that this very important area of County Government operations would have the leadership of a dedicated, experienced professional who will help our region maximize the potential of our air operations and work to help our region increase activity and grow new jobs,” Picente said.

“Vernon Gray has outstanding experience in airport operations. He has experience in running an air carrier service and he brings to this position 20 years of Navy service, which will help him in the all-important area of interfacing with the military. He is an excellent candidate, and I am proud to recommend him for this position. The right leadership can help us reach new heights and grow aviation in Oneida County to create new jobs, new opportunities and new energy for our county. In Vernon Gray, we have found the right leadership.”

Gray currently lives in Okeechobee, Florida, where since June 2005 he has been the Okeechobee Airport & Industrial Park Manager responsible for the overall business administration, property management, and operational management of the airport and industrial park facilities.

Prior to that, he was a Project Engineer with AIS Inc., where he was responsible for the management supervision and operation of the military equivalent of an air carrier service, utilizing a combination of military and civilian-contractor aircraft types.

Gray served in the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1987. While with the Navy, he served as a Manpower, Personnel and Training Administrator: Principal Advisor to the Oceanographer of the Navy, Washington, D.C., on enlisted manpower, personnel and training related to the approximately 3,000 enlisted personnel in the naval oceanography program.

Gray, a native of Maryland, attended the College of southern Maryland, Leonardtown, MD, where he majored in accounting, and the University of Maryland, where he majored in accounting.

Picente said that Gray responded to the county’s national search for the job.

According to the job description for the position, its duties are as follows: “This position manages, leads, and supervises County resources; ensuring safe and efficient operation of the county airport, Griffiss Airfield. It is an executive classification requiring special knowledge and experience in airport management with the proven ability to provide oversight to facility infrastructure, water/sewage systems, and construction/contract management. The Commissioner of Aviation performs landlord functions for County-owned buildings located on the Airport, and serves as advisor to the County Executive and Board of Legislators on aviation matters. The position mandates proven knowledge, interpretation skills, and execution abilities of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration rules and regulations. The work is performed as prescribed by the Oneida County Charter and Administrative Code. Airport management responsibilities apply on a twenty-four (24) hour per day, seven (7) day per week basis. Incumbent performs related work as required.”

Pursuant to the Oneida County charter, county officials who are appointed as commissioners are appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the Board of Legislators.

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