City To Select Airport Manager

November 7, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen have decided to hire an Airport Manager at the Smithville Municipal Airport rather than lease the facility to a fixed based operator.

The issue was discussed during Monday night's meeting.

A committee made up of Mayor Taft Hendrixson, Secretary-Treasurer Burnace Vandergriff, and Alderman Cecil Burger will review the three applications received and select a new Airport operator, after receiving input from members of the airport committee, who will be serving in an advisory capacity.

A background check will also be conducted on the three applicants for the job.

The city board, in September, accepted a bid from Highland Aviation of Crossville to become the new Fixed Based Operator of the Airport, subject to the new tenant's approval after a review and inspection of the property.

However, the city board, in October decided not to enter into a contract with Highland Aviation after City Attorney Sarah Cripps reported that a background check had been conducted on the company. Cripps says she learned, as a result of that background check, that officials of Highland Aviation had made several misrepresentations to the city.

Cripps told the mayor and alderman last month that Paul Sutta, the chief financial manager for Highland Aviation, was a convicted felon and has served a nine month sentence in a federal facility for fraud. Cripps says she learned that Highland Aviation has been dissolved as a corporation since 2002 and that the company was indebted to a fuel supplier by over $50,000.

Cripps recommended, after conferring with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), that it would be in the city's best interest to hire an Airport Manager rather than lease the airport to a Fixed Based Operator.

An Airport Manager would be a city employee and answer directly to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen and the city would receive all fees generated from the airport through fuel sales, etc.

In other business, the city board formally voted to hire Thomas J. Stufano as the new Chief of Police.

Stufano was appointed to the position November 1st, subject to being hired by the city board.

The vote to hire Stufano was 4 to 1. Aldermen Steve White, W.J. \"Dub\" White, Aaron Meeks, and Cecil Burger voted to hire Stufano. Alderman Paul Young \"passed\".

Stufano will be paid $708.80 per week or $17.72 per hour.

The city board, in other business, approved an ordinance on first reading to abandon Ken Circle between the intersection of Dry Creek Road and the intersection of Ed Taft Drive. The ordinance states that Ken Circle was never developed or used as a roadway and no landowner would be landlocked by the abandonment of it.

Second and final reading passage will be scheduled following a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, November 20th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

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