City Manager Ford Patton said that when reviewing the ordinance, he noticed several things that appeared unusual.
“One that seemed a little unusual to me was the method of appointment,” Patton said. “There are a total of seven authorized positions, but yet the city only appoints three. The board itself appoints the remainder. To me, it is a little odd but there may be a good reason for it.”
There was also discussion of residency requirements for board members, specifically how many would be required to be residents of the City of Kenedy and how many would be county residents.
Patton suggested that the council consider changing the ordinance so that all of the members of the board were appointed by the city council, in order to be more consistent with the way similar board positions are appointed.
Councilman Ken Reiley asked Councilman H. J. Kolinek why the board was organized with the authority to appoint four of the board members.
Kolinek said he didn’t know why the ordinance was written that way, but it may have been an effort to give greater input regarding the makeup of the board to the chair and board members.
City Attorney Craig McAda said the ordinance dates back to 1967 when the airport was first built.
“Who is to say why it was set up that way?” McAda said.
Reiley said he agreed with the city manager’s recommendation in regard to board appointments.
“Going back to control of the airport and those type of issues, it would certainly seem to me like that would be the best thing for the city council to do – to try to retain some of the management authority of the airport is to be able to appoint all of these people,” Reiley said.
McAda said the original ordinance implies more authority than what would normally be considered an advisory board, including authority to budget and spend money.
“I think it was contemplated as originally set up as a lot closer working relationship than in reality it probably ever was,” McAda said. “Do you want to go to a more advisory type role airport board, or do we retain some autonomy for the airport board?”
McAda explained that as an advisory board, there are less expectations for the group to comply with open meetings laws.
Mayor Randy Garza said he would like to get input from the current board members regarding any proposed changes to the ordinance regarding how the board is comprised and the residency requirements for the board members.
Council members directed the city manager to make changes so that all board members are appointed by the city council.
They also indicated that up to six board members could serve, and spending decisions should be made by the city council or an employee of the city.
Councilman Ken Reiley and Bob Patton recommended that changes be made so that the board would serve in an “advisory” role.
“We are the ones responsible to the citizens,” Reiley said. “That takes that authority away from us – so to speak – if we don’t have that.”
Councilman H.J. Kolinek asked McAda if federal funds used for the airport are required to stay under the control of the airport board.
“You may want to take that issue up in a workshop or other meeting,” McAda answered, noting that there are details that will need to be addressed regarding revenues and expenditures related to the airport.
Councilman Bob Patton pointed out language in the original ordinance that conflicts with current operating procedures.
“All revenue derived from airport properties including fees, leases, rentals, grants or otherwise shall be deposited in the general funds of the city,” Patton read from the ordinance.
“I have no idea why that’s.... I can’t tell you why that is like that,” McAda said. “I don’t think that is actually accurate.”
“So do we need to rewrite this code, then?” Bob Patton asked.
“That’s what we are asking,” McAda said. “I think so. I think we are looking back and this is an ordinance that was probably originally drafted in 1967 – I can’t tell you why certain things are in there the way it was, maybe that was just the way it was done at the time. It doesn’t fit with how – at least with my experience with airport boards, and how we have done other boards, it doesn’t really fit with how I think we want our advisory boards to operate... It is an odd ordinance.”
Councilman Reiley suggested that the council authorize the city manager and city attorney to revise the ordinance and bring it back to the council for consideration, and if more discussion is needed, a workshop could be planned.
Mayor Garza asked the city attorney and city manager to consult with current board members as part of their process of revising the airport board ordinance.