The quest for accountability continues in St. Clair County

December 28, 2013 

St. Clair County residents got a chuckle last week when County Board Chairman Mark Kern complained about a board member saying something that "smacks of politics."

A politician? Being political? Shocking.

Kern was riled because board member Ed Cockrell questioned why a 1996 resolution, which requires County Board approval of Mid-America Airport spending, isn't being followed more closely. Kern, a Democrat, said it "smacks of politics" that Republican Cockrell is bringing this up now when he didn't years ago.

The timing is beside the point. We're glad that a board member wants the County Board to follow its own rules on fiscal accountability. Why doesn't Kern want that also?

Unfortunately, Kern and the majority of the board seem to be practicing a different kind of politics regarding the airport. They are content to leave most of the airport decisions to the appointed Public Building Commission.

Board member Frank Heiligenstein, a Democrat, said he is discouraged by the majority's attitude: "Too many things are just sliding through. I don't think sometimes fellow County Board members are doing their due diligence on stuff they are asked to approve."

It's in the public interest to have the elected County Board actively engaged in airport spending decisions. When are other board members going to wake up and see that?

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