The East Hampton Town Board has appointed Peter Boody as its newest senior airport attendant who will work as an assistant to Jim Brundige, the East Hampton Airport manager.
Mr. Boody, 63, was one of two contenders for the job, which has been vacant since October when Justin Vaughan left the position for another elsewhere. The board made the appointment on Thursday, April 3.
According to Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, who is the airport liaison, Mr. Boody’s knowledge and skill set exceeded the requirements for the job. “He’s very articulate, very capable and he’s sure to be a tremendous addition,” she said. “Now that the season is starting, we need to get somebody in place.”
A former editor of The Southampton Press, The East Hampton Press and the Shelter Island Reporter, as well as a writer for those publications and The New York Times, Mr. Boody has been flying since an early age. At the age of 14, already intrigued with flight, he said he would stand at the end of East Hampton Airport’s runway and shoot video of the airplanes taking off and landing.
“Madly in love” with aviation, he completed his first solo flight at the age of 16 and became the line boy and dispatcher at the East Hampton Airport in the early 1970s. Later, he became a commercially licensed pilot and a certified flight instructor.
“I have felt affection for the East Hampton Airport for a long time,” the North Haven resident said. “I had been eyeballing this job. It was something I wanted to do as an alternative to newspaper work.”
He said after covering the airport as a reporter and editor, he felt it was time to do something different, where he could use his knowledge and skills.
In previous years, he said, applying for the job never worked out, because the town had been hiring Dowling College graduates who possessed airport management degrees. Mr. Boody said he never really had a chance at the job at that point anyway, because of his affiliation to the Southampton and East Hampton newspapers and his coverage of the airport. “There were people who wouldn’t have dreamed of hiring me for that job,” he said. “When the Town Board changed, it opened that possibility.”
In 1974, he became a reporter at The Southampton Press and then the editor of the Westhampton Beach-based Hampton Chronicle-News, which covered western Southampton Town, in 1978.
After obtaining a degree in journalism at Columbia University, he worked for Flying Magazine and eventually moved back to The Southampton Press, where he became the managing editor and then editor for 18 years.
He left to work for the Shelter Island Reporter as an editor and then returned to the Press News Group to help launch The East Hampton Press in 2007. He later returned to the Shelter Island Reporter, where he remained as an editor until 2012. Since then he has been freelancing and doing a weekly profile for the paper.
He said his time as a newspaperman actually gave him the advantage this time in securing the job. “Thirty years of covering the airport as a neutral party, I came to understand the concerns and issues that I think somebody in this position needs to understand,” he said. “The Town Board and the airport management have a lot of pressure in implementing policies.”
He said, however, he won’t be the one making those decisions. Mr. Boody, who will be making a full-time salary of $42,319.68, said he will be in charge of monitoring noise complaints, billing for traffic at the airport and handling the radio frequencies pilots use, in addition to the nitty-gritty tasks, like accepting fuel deliveries, tabulating facts and figures, and keeping track of what goes on at the facility. He’ll also assist the airport manager with purchasing and various aspects of special projects.
He said he may even help Mr. Brundige plow snow. “The airport manager is known to get in his truck and do some plowing or screw in a new light bulb,” he said.
According to Mr. Brundige, Mr. Boody’s got stability on his side. “Peter seemed perfect for the job,” he said. “He’s a local, established in the area and is not going to be leaving anytime soon. I’m very excited about him coming on board.”
When asked if he has greater aspirations at the airport, Mr. Boody remained humble.
“I’m just there to facilitate [Mr. Brundige’s] work and help implement whatever the Town Board decided what needs to be done at the airport,” he said. “I suspect I’ll be very happy in the job—but I’m 63 and I sure don’t feel old enough to be put out to pasture. I’d love to have more responsibilities down the road, but that depends on what happens. Let’s see how it goes.”