Airport commission, city council discuss relationship

Published on Thu, Feb 20, 2003 by Rebecca. Schwarz Kopf

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Airport commission, city council discuss relationship

By Rebecca. Schwarz Kopf

Members of city council and the airport commission gathered at city hall Wednesday evening to discuss issues that are negatively impacting their relationship and focused on ideas to improve them.

City Manager Gary Tomsic acted as the facilitator, and stated early on what they were there to accomplish: the meeting was not to talk about airport expansion, but to talk about working together. “Let’s thoroughly explore what we can do in the city with the airport and end the meeting with good direction on how we can work together.”

The meeting was positive with open communication and all members participated. “What are the issues that are negatively impacting a productive council and airport commission relationship?” Tomsic asked.

The council and commission voiced five factors: communication, respectful decorum, lack of shared vision and priorities, a better definition of powers and duties, and trust.
City council member Marsha Hawkins thought being updated with the commission’s progress would improve communication. “The progression of things, what they’re doing, and what’s going on as things are progressing,” she said. “It’s a lot easier for me to react positively to it.”

All members agreed that sharing airport commission meeting minutes and a visit to the airport would create better communication. And airport commissioner Doug Fenton suggested that he would attend council meetings to give a status report.

“I find that getting to know members of the commission helps,”council member Ken Eli said. “It makes for a little better understanding when you communicate.”

Some agreed with Eli’s statement, but council member John Liebert replied, “There’s aspects to that that are real positive, but there’s tendency to speak out of turn. I’m in agreement with what you’re saying, but there is caution there.”

Bob Anderson, of the airport commission, said he and other commission members realize city council has a lot of issues to deal with. “Our issue is one of many issues you folks are working on,” he said. “As a member of the commission, we recognize there are more issues to deal with.”

The council and commission also addressed respectful decorum, trusting one another, and creating a better definition of powers and duties. However, all of these points came back to the issue of communication and getting rid of old baggage. “I think we all need to be on the same page,” Eli said. “Old arguments don’t help.”

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