April 27, 2016 Edition

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Walnut Ridge Airport has 18
applicants for manager position

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commission discussed the hiring process of a new airport manager at their meeting Monday night.

With 18 resumes submitted, Commission Chair Don Cavenaugh said he hopes to have a recommendation for the council in a couple weeks time.

Cavenaugh, as well as Commissioners Ron Ingram and Lloyd Clark, will review applicants and conduct interviews. After the best applicants have been determined a recommendation will be presented to the commission in full.

Discussion about Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp's involvement in the selection of a new manager was held after Cavenaugh recommended him.

With little mayoral involvement in the past manager selections, the commission considered what the mayor's role should be in the hiring process. Especially, since the commission, though linked to the city, functions independently.

Cavenaugh said even though the airport is separate from the city, both rely on the other for support. "We need to work as a team. We don't need to operate as an island," Cavenaugh said.

With community involvement being a main component in the selection of a new manager, Cavenaugh added that the mayor really should have some input as the two will work together in this regard.

The commission agreed that the mayor may help to review the applicants and offer his recommendations with the understanding that the decision is ultimately the commission's.

Also at the meeting:

land has been selected to swap with the Chamber of Commerce for the 55 acres they hold in the airport's safety zone. A $3,000 difference in the fair market value of the land being swapped will have to be accounted for when the swap is finalized. The Chamber would be receiving the lower value land, and the airport is prepared to pay the difference. The swap still needs to be approved by the FAA before the two parties can proceed.

the commission tabled advertising for bids on a new fuel farm as state funds will not be available for this fiscal year, which ends in June. Cavenaugh said they will revisit the project in the May or June meeting. Grant money set to be received for the next fiscal year will be used for runway repairs according to the master plan the airport is working from.

commissioners voted to take Michelle Anthony off the Regions Bank account and add Clark and Snapp until a new manager is hired.

Cavenaugh said he is going to look into utilizing county or city equipment in the drainage pipe repairs. He also said that Black River Technical College has no immediate plans to change its agreement with land it has been leasing from the airport for its fire-training program.

farmland currently leased by Ronald Cavenaugh has been cleared of any digging restrictions that would be caused if the property were classified as wetlands. Ronald has already spoken with the commission about digging a ditch for improved drainage in that area, which is at the south end of the airport.

the commission agreed to enter a short-term lease with Tri State Utilities while they are working in the area. A building will be offered at $750 for three months.

Allegis proposed repair work on an overhead door in a building they are leasing for the airport. The request is for both parties to pay half of the $2,700 repair. Commissioners agreed to the terms.

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