Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2 airport boards to meet in closed sessions


By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer

Still juggling ideas to define the near-term and long-range role of the new Blaine County Airport Advisory Committee, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority took a baby step Monday by agreeing to allow the five-member advisory group to sit in on closed-door executive sessions of the FMAA.

However, even that decision is conditional.

As FMAA Chair Tom Bowman explained later, BCAAC members could be asked to leave the confidential meetings at some point during discussions.

Executive sessions of Idaho public bodies are permitted to discuss personnel, legal and land issues and are closed to the public.

The FMAA's special meeting Monday was to discuss the BCAAC, created by the Blaine County Commission largely to neutralize criticisms that the Sun Valley/Ketchum area is not adequately represented in planning a replacement airport for Friedman.

When a cluster of north county political and business heavyhitters showed up, longtime observers of the airport drama anticipated more fireworks. Instead, bonhomie and amity generally reigned.

John Sofro, president of the Wood River Economic Partnership, emphasized the need for openness and inclusion of all community interests.

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Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich wants the new advisors to be "fully engaged" in helping select a project manager for construction of a replacement airport and encouraged a decision to move advisors into a governing role.

Sun Valley City Council President Dewayne Briscoe suggested the need for "defusing" perceptions that not all segments of the community have been included in deliberations.

Former Ketchum City Councilman Charles Conn, once an outspoken critic of the airport site-selection process, called for the airport authority and the advisors "to go forward with cooperative relationships."

FMAA member Dr. Ron Fairfax went a step further: He suggested the advisory board would have non-binding voting power along with the FMAA's binding decisions on airport issues.

Fairfax's colleague, FMAA member Martha Burke, endorsed the concept of the advisors working alongside FMAA members on every decision, no matter how significant.

However, one note of disagreement cropped up with Hailey City Councilman Fritz Haemmerle, who sees work of the advisory committee and the FMAA involving "separate issues."




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