Saturday, October 10, 2015

Airport Authority Holds Illegal Meeting?

Fairhope, Al.

Update: This report is from October 2015

Airport Academy building

The city's Airport Authority held a special meeting for "future planning for the Sonny Callahan airport"  at the new Airport Academy building last Monday at 3PM; but the meeting was not held as designated by the advance public meeting notice required by state open meeting laws to allow members of the public/media to attend if they so desire.

(see the notice below)

The committee's chairman first claimed it was held at the scheduled place and time, but later said two doors down from the conference room where it was supposed to be.

An informed source who spoke on condition of anonymity tells the Times it may have been held earlier in the day. A power point presentation was given about the new vision for the airport.


A number of citizens have contacted the Times over past years about the airport growing "too big" and the noise from aircraft damaging quality of life, especially in the vicinity of the airport; others worry about its high cost: the city has to pay some debt service, plus $30K every month for operating expenses in addition to providing many in-kind services (fire/crash).

They worry the public is not being sufficiently involved in the planning process.

planned airport "advantage" site

Several new projects are being planned, including at least two new jet hangars, a new passenger terminal, possibly office buildings, etc.  -- with the involvement of some adjacent private companies: Segers and Continental Motors Inc.

A supplier of Airbus has reportedly also expressed interest in the site.


The Times' publishers have already advised the mayor, council president, city clerk and city attorney about a dramatic loss of public access in the last year-and-a-half regarding most city committees and commissions; and counseled them about how transparency is essential to the proper functioning of democratic government.

We cannot keep the public properly informed if not given access by elected officials and their appointees.

Some of the city employees who are forced to be involved object privately; but worry about their jobs if they speak up.

Public meeting notice not accurate:


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

The meeting was held at the designated time, simply in a different room of the facility. Bob Gentle managed to find it. It's a pretty small building. Surprising you were unable to find it, and that you would automatically assume that your failure to find the meeting equates to some nefarious attempt to hid something from the public.

Anonymous said...

Well, personally, I like the post on "The Fairhope Times" If it weren't for them, we wouldn't know HALF of what goes on in this town. The Courier has gotten to be such a joke that it isn't feasible to buy just for public notices. Whoever you are at the "Times", keep it up.

Publisher said...

The meeting definitely was not held at the published place and time; our reporter searched the building and found only a handful of students there.

There were only 4 or 5 cars in the parking lot.

Even if it were true that it was just moved to a nearby classroom, the violation still occurred per state sunshine laws because the required prior notice of the change was not given to the public. (a simple sign on the door would have sufficed).

This is not the first time the AA has attempted to hide from the public: often it has "adjourned", waited for †he media and public to leave, then resumed discussions in private.

We consider these practices to not only be unethical and illegal, but anti-democratic and anti-American as well.

Publisher said...

We encourage free speech but please be respectful to fellow commentators here.

Anonymous said...

We appreciate the real investigative reporting done here to hold our elected officials accountable. This iss the only place left it is being done now.

Anonymous said...

I think it woill be a good thing to develop industry around the airport to provide jobs for young people so they will not have to move away.

Anonymous said...

Pray for Fairhope. It is the only solution now.

Anonymous said...

The airport should be supported.

Neil Hamilton said...

Amen. The Courier is strictly Chamber of Commerce. I hope the Times can continue as a reliable news source.

Anonymous said...

The publisher of this blog is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

This comitee is such a big disappointment.

Publisher said...

To clarify our earlier comment, during the last year and a half, the Airport Authority has TRIED TO adjourn and unofficially reconvene after the public leaves (like most other city committees) -- but not in the presence of our aviation reporter who was told by the city clerk some time ago not to depart until there is no longer a quorum present.

(Sometimes the council representatives are there as well, so apparently it has been sanctioned)

By far the worst offender over the past months has been the city's problematic Recreation Committee.

We have complained to the Mayor and council president about the practice, but it continues intermittently.

We are preparing a full report for later publication.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you were trying to warn people about corruption at the city. Thank you.

Publisher said...

We would not call it corruption, but a troubling pattern of secrecy.