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Why city cancelled joint meeting with airport, county

City of Lewiston cancelled meeting.jpg

Never before had the three entities met to discuss general airport issues since the joint powers agreement was drawn up eight years ago. That was until this Friday, but the City of Lewiston and the Airport Authority have cancelled the meeting

Wednesday morning KLEW received notice that the joint meeting between the city, county, and Airport Authority was cancelled for this Friday.

"I'm very disappointed that the city and the airport authority has decided to pull out,” Doug Havens, Nez Perce Co. Commission Chair said.

City of Lewiston Public Information Officer Carol Maurer said City Manager Alan Nygaard made the decision to postpone Friday’s joint meeting after Nez Perce County Commissioner Doug Havens submitted six additional items for the agenda just three days before the meeting.

Havens said the additional agenda items were to address a concern the council had that the agenda was too vague.

“We simply agendaed a meeting to have a discussion about the airport,” Havens said. “And we thought that would be fine.

We also reached out to Airport Authority Chairman Jim Bennett. He said that it was the city who decided to cancel the meeting. But KLEW News has obtained an email, reportedly sent by Bennett accusing Commissioner Havens of pulling a quote “bait and switch” and trying to make the focus of the meeting a kangaroo court.

Havens denied the allegations.

"I reject their premise that we were somehow setting them up,” Havens said. “We responded to concerns that the city council had that the agenda wasn't specific enough.”

When we asked Bennett about an email explaining the cancellation to his board, he said he notified his board members, but did not go into detail.

Nygaard said the reason for cancellation was to properly prepare city councilors on airport topics.

But Havens said these issues have been going on for around a year, and should be well known.

I'm not sure how much briefing you would need. In fact, I think the general public for the most part probably knows as much as we do with what's going on at the airport,” said Havens. “This simply was going to be a discussion. There was no decisions going to be made.”

The added agenda items, Hubpoint’s study, a second-floor incident, budget issues, city appointees and the fifth member, lease agreements with tenants, and a proposal for restructuring of the airport.

The city says they do expect to have the joint meeting with the other entities in the near future.

The county will still hold the meeting at the library at 3:00 on Friday. On the agenda, deciding its two picks on the airport authority.

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