The Statesville City Council has unanimously recommended businessman and former council member Jim Lawton to serve on the recently-created Charlotte Regional Airport Commission, which is at the center of a bitter controversy between the city of Charlotte and the state Legislature.The Iredell County Board of Commissioners, which by law gets to appoint a member to the commission, had asked the City Council for a recommendation. Lawton has a long record of service to the city, but whether he, or anyone else for that matter, will ever get to serve on the commission is unknown.“There’s no doubt that the creation of the airport commission is still very much a moving target” said Mayor Costi Kutteh. “However, the members of the City Council and I agreed that we wanted to have significant input now into whomever would serve on the commission from our area, so we decided to place this item on the calendar immediately.”The airport commission bill was passed by the state Legislature on July 26, creating a 13-member commission to oversee Charlotte Douglas International Airport, with three members appointed by the Charlotte mayor, four by Charlotte City Council, and one each by the commissioners of Mecklenburg, Gaston, Cabarrus, Iredell, Lincoln and Union counties. The legislation to create a commission to oversee the Charlotte airport has generated a political firestorm between state and Charlotte officials. Shortly after the bill was passed, Charlotte officials filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to block the commission’s creation. The judge in the case, Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin ruled that the change in control can’t take effect until the Federal Aviation Administration decides whether the commission is a new legal entity requiring an airport operating certificate or still part of the city of Charlotte. Under the commission, Charlotte would retain ownership of the airport, its bonds and the power of eminent domain, but the commission members would run the airport’s day-to-day operations and finances.Iredell’s Commissioners, who will ultimately select the county’s representative, had requested a recommendation from Statesville, which operates its own regional airport. Lawton was one of five people who had submitted an application to the county for consideration and he won unanimous support from the City Council. Lawton, 70, is president of Statesville-based Kivett Oil Co. He served as an at-large city councilman for 18 years, from 1987 to 2005. Lawton has extensive aviation experience, both as an Army helicopter pilot and as a member of the Statesville Airport Commission. He is also past member of the Iredell YMCA Board of Directors. The County Board of Commissioners was originally expected to name its selection for the commission at its Aug. 20 meeting, but that decision has been postponed.
Friday, Aug. 30, 2013
City nominates airport commission member
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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