Letter to the Editor: Taxpayers beware, are we now paying city staff?

Are these managers volunteering their time to oversee the airport’s operation?

Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to the City’s announcement Friday regarding changes to the Airport Authority. Since 1997, the Airport Authority has been a board of volunteers tasked with overseeing the management and fiscal operation of the airport. At no time since 1997 has the Prince Rupert Airport been a financial burden on the taxpayers of this city. The changes announced Friday appoint three highly-paid city managers to the board.

Are these managers volunteering their time to oversee the airport’s operation or will this job be been done on taxpayer’s time?

The original intent of the Airport Authority was for a volunteer board of business people able to operate the airport without it being a burden to the taxpayers of the city. Since its inauguration, the board has done just that.

Item 5.4 of the constitution until recently has read – The directors of the society shall be appointed by the City. The City shall appoint as directors individuals who are not elected or appointed officials or employees of the city.

Apparently in a recent transition of the Society’s constitution the City chose to leave out the sentence

“The City shall appoint as directors individuals who are not elected or appointed officials or employees of the city” This change was done without any discussion or consultation with the Airport Authority or Airport Management.

The City has always had representation on the board with a councillor being appointed as a non-voting member and the Mayor and CEO invited to all meetings.

The Airport Authority only manages the operation of the airport while the City is responsible for the bus and ferry operation that services the airport.

The Airport Authority has managed the airport for 20 years with no burden on the taxpayer.

The city has managed the bus and ferry operation with a cost to the taxpayer of between $800,000 and $900,000 a year.

The taxpayer should have the right to decide who manages the airport for them!

Judy Fraser

Prince Rupert