Don't let County Board revolt fizzle

July 25, 2013 

Will you join in our crusade?

Who will be strong and stand with me?

Beyond the barricade

Is there a world you long to see?

-- Les Miserables

Some Democrats and Republicans on the St. Clair County Board are calling for a revolution of sorts -- the right to direct the future of MidAmerica Airport rather than the appointed Public Building Commission.

The board members are angry that they had to learn from the BND of a plan for a 253-acre business park that would require the sale of county land. Airport Director Tim Cantwell had just met with the board for 40 minutes to update them on the airport but didn't even mention this deal. Big mistake.

And board members are tired of getting blamed for the airport's failures. Few people understand the Public Building Commission's role and responsibility with the airport. Taxpayers assume, incorrectly, that their elected leaders are in charge.

Elected leaders should be in charge; we hope other board members will stand with them on Monday and shift responsibilities to the board.

However, our fear is that too many of them will echo Board member Dixie Seibert: that the change sounds good unless County Board Chairman Mark Kern doesn't want it. Well, the chairman doesn't want it. He doesn't want transparency or the board questioning expenditures and red ink at the airport. He likes the status quo because the appointed, insulated commissioners will do as he says.

We hope we are wrong, but expect the generals in charge to rally their loyal followers and squash this rebellion.

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