By DAN GUZEWICH Staff writer

County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. is reviewing his flight plan as he looks to land a new aviation commissioner.

He interviewed one candidate May 22 and may talk with another as he’s heard an application may be in the wings.

As of Friday, the county executive hadn’t decided whether to bring back the candidate he and his chief of staff met with last week for a second interview.

"It went very well," he replied when asked about the interview.

Initially, Picente planned to interview this month three candidates who submitted applications, but the pool was cut to one when two people withdrew their names from consideration. None of them works for the county.

"They got jobs," said Picente when asked about the two withdrawals.

On the other hand, he also could actively reopen the search. The job vacancy announcement on the county website does not list a deadline for applications. The opening was not widely announced the first time applicants were sought.

Griffiss International Airport has been without a permanent leader since January when W. Vernon Gray III was not kept on as Picente reappointed various department heads following his re-election in November. Chad Lawrence is the interim commissioner.

The county executive will nominate a new commissioner and then send the name to the Board of Legislators for confirmation,

Legislator David J. Wood, R-28, Rome, who is chairman of the Airport Committee, sees no hurry to fill the airport post permanently.

"I think for the near term the people we have up there can run it effectively," he said.

Wood said the county can save some money by keeping the commissioner slot open.

When Gray was hired in 2008, a six-person committee appointed by Picente handled the preliminary screening of candidates.

Aviation commissioner is an executive classification requiring special knowledge and experience in airport management with a proven ability to provide oversight to facility infrastructure, water and sewage systems, and construction and contract management, according to the job description. Additionally, the commissioner’s job requires proven knowledge, interpretation skills, and execution abilities of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration rules and regulations.

Starting salary range is $72,080 to $78,296.