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Monday, Nov 18 2013 08:56 PM

Airport Commission body abolished, advisory committee takes its place

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City Council member Kim Nixon listens during a report from the city manager at the City Council meeting Nov. 18 at the Claude L. Wells Education Center, 300 S. Robinson St. During the meeting, the City Council took the final steps in dissolving the existing Airport Commission, and instituting an Airport Committee that would meet only as needed. Nixon was appointed to the new committee, along with the city manager, airport manager and two citizens yet to be named.

With a unanimous vote by the City Council on Monday, the Airport Commission was terminated and an advisory committee created in its place.

The Tehachapi Municipal Code ordinance governing the action was introduced at the council’s Nov. 4 meeting. Four locals, all with ties to the local aviation community, spoke during the agenda item's public comment period at that meeting, voicing some form of opposition.

No one commented during Monday’s meeting, and the measure passed without discussion by the council members.

Per the new code, the advisory committee will meet when directed by the airport manager, city manager or City Council. The committee is composed of five members: Airport Manager Tom Glasgow, City Manager Greg Garrett, one council member and two residents within the city limits.

Councilmember Kim Nixon indicated her desire to serve on the committee, and Mayor Phil Smith appointed her. Nixon is also the councilmember who initially raised concerns over the role of the Airport Commission at the council’s Oct. 7 regular meeting. Additionally, Nixon served on the ad hoc committee tasked with reviewing the municipal code governing the commission.

Nixon and her husband, Mike Nixon, operate an aviation-related business in Tehachapi.

Both Garrett and Smith extended thanks to those who served as airport commissioners since the body’s inception in 1981.

“So this is nothing to do with people, it has everything to do with less government and moving forward more efficiently,” Garrett said.

Garrett later clarified that by “less government,” he meant less bureaucracy.

Garrett also advised the mayor that two city residents needed to be appointed to the committee by the council.

When asked why the two non-government members of the committee were restricted to city voters, Garrett said, “I thought it was a good idea because it is a city-owned asset and I think the taxpayer and the City of Tehachapi needs to understand better what’s going on at the airport.”

The new resolution does not give terms for the appointees, but states that the “members shall serve at the pleasure of the City Council.”

The measure takes effect in 30 days, and the last regularly scheduled meeting of the Airport Commission is Dec. 10. The commission’s regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 12 was adjourned per a notice sent that morning.

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