Wed, June 26

Time to put an end to in-fighting on Cottonwood Airport Commission

It should not come as a surprise that there would be ruffled feathers during the fledgling year of the Cottonwood Airport Commission.

Nor is it unexpected that commission members would encounter some bumps in the road as they laid the foundation for the work ahead of them.

But with last week's resignations of three members of the commission and the announcement that Northern Arizona Avionic was closing business at the airport in part because of the "anti-business attitude of the Airport Commission," it's time the city council had a meeting of the minds with the members of the commission.

Certainly, council members can do without the two-hour verbal fisticuffs that punctuated the Dec. 16 meeting when an airport operations and procedures manual was brought before the council. Further, something is amiss when commission members up and quit over the rules of order for how commission meetings are to be conducted.

The first order of business for the council in an attempt to bring a sense of civility to the airport commission is to appoint three new members to the board. Without doubt, a key skill of these new members should be the ability to be peacemakers and put an end to the in-fighting that seems to be the norm for the commission.

Second, with the new full commission in place, it would be wise for the council to arrange for airport commissioners to be schooled in the requirements of Arizona's Open Meeting Law and general meeting protocol.

Third, the council needs to make it clear in no uncertain terms that the role of the Airport Commission is to make recommendations to the council. The commission is an advisory body; it does not establish policy. That is the job of the city council.

Finally, since the appointment of three new members to the Airport Commission represents a fresh start of sorts for the commission, the council should consider directing the body to re-elect its officers. Perhaps a change in chairman leadership is just what the doctor ordered to bring some calm and order to commission business.

Granted, in-fighting and power struggles are not uncommon with newly formed quasi-political groups such as the airport commission.

But sooner or later, the fighting needs to stop and it's time to get down to business.

The city council needs to deliver that message loud and clear.