Wednesday, December 5, 2012

County leaders mull airport appointment

Schoen, McCleary ask Bowman to stay through January

Express Staff Writer

Recently appointed Blaine County Commissioner Jacob Greenberg said he’s ready to take a spot on the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority at the beginning of next year, but his fellow commissioners remained undecided on Tuesday if such a move would best serve the county.

Greenberg was appointed to the board of commissioners in October by Gov. Butch Otter to replace resigning commissioner Tom Bowman, who left the board to serve as CEO for Sentinel Fire and Security. Bowman kept his role as Airport Authority chair to give Greenberg time to catch up on the complicated issues surrounding the airport.

Bowman agreed during a commissioners meeting Tuesday to stay on the authority’s board until new officers are elected Jan. 8.

What will happen after Jan. 8 remains unclear, and Commissioner Larry Schoen said he would prefer that Bowman remain on the board until Greenberg is more prepared.

“What I seek is the best outcome for all concerned,” Schoen said. “With due respect to Commissioner Greenberg … if [Bowman] wants to stay, whatever his reasons, I am not in a big hurry to replace him.”

Greenberg bristled at the suggestion that he might not be prepared for the role.

“Things are the way they are now, not the way they were in the past,” he said. “In terms of what is in front of us now, I have demonstrated an ability to come up with conclusions, even if those were contrary to what [Schoen] thought those conclusions should be.”

Commissioner Angenie McCleary said she was still confused regarding whether Greenberg felt he was willing and able to serve.

“Did I not make it clear?” Greenberg responded. “If the opportunity was presented, I would say yes. Do you have any other questions that I need to dispel?”

McCleary and Schoen said they would discuss Bowman’s possible replacement during a public meeting later this month.

The joint powers agreement governing the authority states that county representatives can be any county resident appointed by the commissioners; representatives do not need to serve on the board of commissioners. For example, former County Commissioner Len Harlig served on the Airport Authority for more than 15 years though he was a commissioner for only eight of those years.

Kate Wutz:

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