City, County Wipe the Slate Clean on the Airport Authority Board


    The City of Lewiston and Nez Perce County are wiping the slate clean on the airport authority board. Recent issues, including members being removed or stepping down, prompted the two entities to rethink their joint agreement establishing that board.

    The airport authority board was established by the city and county in February 2011. Monday afternoon they approved an amended resolution that will effectively remove what's left of the current board after 30 days. The city or county could reappoint current board members, though after the decision was made, one of the two original members, Bill McCann, Jr., resigned.

    Now only Verl Long remains of the original five-member board, along with Lewiston's former city manager Jim Bennett, who was appointed in February after earlier resignations by three members.

    Councilor Kathy Schroeder read part of a letter from Idaho Aeronautics Advisory Board member Mark Sweeney, saying the airport's poor reputation would only suffer if it were to start from scratch.

    "The message that we've been saying goes beyond our public, it goes to the FAA. I truly believe from what I've read and who I've talked to, that if we change that board according to this last paragraph, that we will not have an operating airport," Schroeder said. Nez Perce County commissioner Doug Havens refuted that claim, saying he hadn't heard that kind of talk himself. "Getting second, third-hand information doesn't do it for me. And the FAA has been in town, they never talked to us about that."

    When Havens asked Schroeder to provide the documentation backing up her claim on the FAA's concerns, she told him, "It's not in writing."

    Despite her assertion the move would signal the end, councilor Schroeder eventually voted in favor of passing the resolution; Bob Blakey was the only one in opposition.

    The new resolution sets limits of three staggered three-year terms for board members, and requires legal counsel to be present at meetings. Perhaps the biggest change is the removing the board's ability to vote out another member - now only the city or county can remove their respective appointees.

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