City council has voted to officially establish a new Airport Advisory Committee, however there are still questions about who will sit on it.
The original proposal called for a five-member committee consisting of Mayor Greg Dionne, Ward 4 Coun. Don Cody, aviation representatives David Webster and Ron Cochrane, and member-at-large Curtis Lemieux. All five members would serve until Nov. 9, 2020. However, council decided against approving those appointments to give members of the public time to apply for a spot.
Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp was the most vocal proponent of the change. She had residents contact her about applying to serve on the committee who weren’t sure about the process.
“It seems to me a little bit preemptive to establish a committee on day one and not give the public an opportunity to at least apply,” Lennox-Zepp said during the Aug. 19 council meeting.
“There are people being proposed to sit on the committee, but it hasn’t been a process as we have with other committees where people apply … and perhaps that’s something that should happen,” she added.
Council’s decision means there will be no official appointments until the next regular meeting on Sept. 9. It will also give members of the public a chance to apply for the airport committee the same way the would apply for any other.
Mayor Greg Dionne said the committee requires more specialized skills that other city appointments, which is why the selection process was different. The goal was to expand the committee from five members to at least seven in the future, and then focus on adding more members of the public.
“The key was to get the committee up and running and see what kind of committee members that we’re looking for, because there is a unique obligation to running an airport,” Dionne said during the meeting. “It’s not like community service (the Community Service Advisory Committee) where planning is more general. This is a specialized area…. That’s why it was formed this way, but I’ll leave it up to council.”
Council may also change the proposed term-limits before formally appointing any members. Coun. Blake Edwards said a two-year term wouldn’t be long enough for committee members to make significant progress, something Dionne was sympathetic to. The mayor added that the motion limited the first round of appointments to 2020 because that’s when the next municipal election was.
City council is responsible for determining term-limits for all committee appointments.