How to get to Neverland

January 21, 2014 

Tim Cantwell received a $13,269 bonus atop his $124,000 salary last year for running MidAmerica Airport. That bonus was essentially St. Clair County's leaders telling Cantwell that he'd done a good job at an airport expected to lose $1.4 million in the coming year.

Got you boiling?

Well, get over it. Cantwell's bonus is not the problem with the county's math. The leadership's expectations of the airport and inability to be fiscally responsible are the problems.

Cantwell is the chief make-up artist for the county's flying pig. We think he's working hard, and showing some success relative to the task of selling an airport nobody really wants or needs.

The airport is such a money pit that even when you exclude nearly $6 million a year in depreciation and amortization costs, the county is spending $5 to get every $1 in revenue at the airport. Plus they have failed to act on even the most modest reforms to help the airport's finances.

Tap in to the vast local aviation and business and financial expertise that could help the airport? Nope.

Manage the airport debt and expenses? Not really.

Make those making the decisions at least answerable to voters? Not on your life.

So don't blame Cantwell's incentive bonus: he got paid to do what they wanted. Instead, ask your elected county representative to pay Cantwell's bonuses from their own pockets until the airport's red ink disappears. Maybe then they would focus his efforts and incentives on fiscal improvement.

Carrots and sticks until the chewing gum and bailing wire start to work.

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