Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No opponents on new airport board

Any fears that opponents of replacing Friedman Memorial Airport will be seated on a new airport authority were essentially calmed by Friedman authority Vice Chairman Tom Bowman when he told the current board, "I don't see that happening."

He added, "They will not be appointed."

Bowman's assurance came during a 20-minute discussion by the airport authority on Tuesday, April 7, at its monthly meeting about recommendations of a study group on how a new five-person airport board would be created.

The Blue Ribbon Commission proposed appointing one member named by the Blaine County Commission, another named by the aviation community and one member each from the county's three County Commission election districts. Bowman did not explain how opponents to a new airport could be prevented from being appointed.

Authority member Len Harlig said his preference would be to have a five-person board composed of members with business, rather than political, backgrounds. He said the airport is just as vital to the community as the electrical grid as a business.

Harlig also said he favored making the new authority a temporary subcommittee of the present board to act in an advisory capacity until a new airport is built and the present authority's tenure expires.

Airport attorney Barry Luboviski agreed, saying the new authority should not have any policy-making power. That would remain with the current board.

The Blue Ribbon Commission's recommended governance structure will be discussed for approval at the authority's next meeting on May. 5

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