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Schaefer Appointed MacArthur Airport Commissioner

Robert Schaefer served as deputy commissioner at the airport from 2004-06.

MacArthur Airport has a new commissioner. 

Robert Schaefer was officially appointed to run the Ronkonkoma airport at an Islip Town Board meeting Tuesday. 

Schaefer takes over Oct. 1 from Terry Hennessey, who has been acting commissioner since the Town Board fired Teresa Rizzuto in June. 

Hennessey will move back into the deputy commissioner role. 

"I had to go with the individual who had a proven track record of both attracting and retaining business at MacArthur and developing partnerships with the airlines," Town Supervisor Tom Croci told Newsday earlier this month of Schaefer, who served at deputy commissioner at the airport from 2004-06. 

Schaefer, a Republican, has served as chief of staff to Suffolk County Legis. Thomas Barraga since 2006. 

Schaefer also worked as a staff sergeant for the Port Authority, managing security and safety operations for VIPs and dignitaries at JFK airport from 1980-1993. 

Republicans took control of the Town Board last year and Croci has said he wants to take the airport in another direction which led to the departure of Rizzuto, who was appointed by former Supervisor Phil Nolan, a Democrat, in 2008. 

Schaefer will lead MacArthur at a critical juncture as the airport has seen its number of daily flights cut in half over the last several years. Town officials have also been pulling out the stops to get another carrier at the airport.

As of now, the airport is self-sustaining, but taxpayers may have to begin picking up the tab if things don't turn around, officials have said. 

Rich C September 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Congratulations to Mr Schaefer! I am one of the many frequent flyers who used to use this airport on a weekly basis and now have to travel to JFK / LGA to get around. Please bring ISP back to life.
Steve January 16, 2013 at 08:46 PM
I was at a LIMBA (Long Island Metro Business Action) breakfast where Bob spoke last Friday. I did not know his predecessor, so it would be unfair to comment about her, but this man is very sharp and shared some incredibly creative plans for returning this airport back to where it should be and beyond where it has ever been. These plans and ideas were both traditional and non-traditional from my perspective. I honestly believe that his goals will end up giving long island's economy a much needed shot in the arm. I look forward to the successful execution of his plans...we will all benefit. I agree with you Rich C...bring ISP back to life!!!!

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