Let airport ordinance fly

August 21, 2013 

What do St. Clair County Board members want when it comes to MidAmerica Airport?

Board Chairman Mark Kern believes it's only more information. He thinks that offering board members monthly, rather than the current quarterly, meetings with Airport Director Tim Cantwell will satisfy a bipartisan call for board control over airport spending. At his urging, a proposed ordinance giving the board more authority was moved out of the Judiciary Committee to the Economic Development Committee.

But more frequent reporting isn't a compromise that should be considered acceptable in any way.

This is not the commission's money. It is not the chairman's personal fund. It's the taxpayers' money, and the financial decisions that cost them millions of dollars in losses each year should rest with the County Board, the people's elected representatives.

Board Member Larry Stammer is right to question moving the ordinance; he is right to seek State's Attorney Brendan Kelly's opinion. If Kern is so sure he knows what board members want, why not allow the usual process to proceed? Why not let the Judiciary Committee and the full board debate and vote on the proposal? It's doubtful the majority would vote for a change if he doesn't want it made.

Taxpayers deserve to hear directly from board members. Will they vote to take responsibility for the financial decisions being made at MidAmerica Airport, or will they continue to wash their hands of the matter and leave it to the appointed Public Building Commission?

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