The Richmond Register

Local News

July 5, 2013

Mayors hope to settle airport board dispute on Monday

MADISON COUNTY — The mayors of Richmond and Berea hope a Monday meeting will resolve an impasse over an appointment to the Madison Airport Board that has been simmering for more than six months.

The governments of the two cities, along with county government, which jointly own the Madison Airport, each appoint two members to the facility’s board.

Since the term of Berea appointee George Wyatt expired Jan 1, Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark has sought to block his reappointment.

Berea Mayor Steve Connelly has not withdrawn the appointment and Clark has remained steadfast in his opposition.

Interpreting the statute governing city-county airports, under which the airport board was reconstituted in 2011, is at issue. It states that board members are to be “jointly appointed.”

Clark said he believes that means all partners must agree to appointments, meaning one can block any other’s appointment.

Earlier this year, the judge/executive said he was seeking a state attorney general’s opinion on the issue, but Friday said an opinion has not been issued. However, Clark said he had talked to the heads of other local governments that are partners in Kentucky airports, and they share his opinion.

Both Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes, who issued the call for Monday’s meeting, and Connelly said Friday they believe two of the three partners can override one partner’s objection.

Barnes said he would support Connelly’s effort to re-appoint Wyatt.

Even if he didn’t like another partner’s appointment and had the power to block it, Barnes said he would not seek to interfere with appointment by either Berea or the county. Connelly said he shared that opinion.

Also Friday, the Berea mayor repeated his belief that Wyatt’s position on the board remains in effect, even after his term has expired. That’s because a new appointment has not been made, and another state statute provides that previous appointments to public boards remain in effect until a new appointment is made.

Clark said earlier this year, he didn’t think that statute applied because the board had been reconstituted.

However, Connelly countered Friday that Clark did not object when Wyatt took his position on the reconstituted board, and the appointment went forward.

Connelly declined to say whether he was prepared to take the issue to circuit court.

“I think we’ll be able to work things out Monday,” the Berea mayor said.

Reconstitution of the airport board took place after Clark had former board chair Eddie Pullins suspended in early 2011, and Pullins filed suit seeking reinstatement.

Pullins and Wyatt, then the board’s secretary, drew the judge/executive’s ire when they acted to secure a temporary airport operator after the former operator exercised an option in its contract to terminate service on Dec. 31, 2010, with little advance notice.

Had he and Pullins not acted, Wyatt has said, the airport would have been without an operator Jan. 1, 2011, and planes that landed would have been unable to buy fuel.

The airport board moved soon afterward to accept all the emergency actions he and Pullins took, according to Wyatt.

However, Clark persuaded the fiscal court to back his move to suspend Pullins, citing what the judge/executive called a breakdown in communication between the airport board chair and county government.

Pullins’ suit was eventually settled without his reinstatement, but the legal action brought to light that the airport board had not been constituted according to statute. The three local governments then moved to re-create the board and appoint members.

 Wyatt has served long and well on the airport board, Clark said in an April interview, but he should remain off the board for an interval. He repeated that position Friday, but in both interviews left the door open for Wyatt’s future return to the board.

Without going into details, Clark said he believed having Wyatt return to the board this year was not in the airport’s best interest.

“I’ve tried to be low key about this,” Clark said of his effort to block Wyatt’s appointment, “because I don’t want to embarrass George.”

However, neither Connelly nor Clark expressed any intention Friday of backing off their positions, and Barnes said he would support Connelly.

Monday’s meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Richmond City Hall, 239 W. Main St.

Bill Robinson can be reached at or at 624-6690.

Text Only
Local News
  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 PackTrack1a.jpg Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’

    Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.

    April 18, 2014 14 Photos

  • 4-18 George WilliamsWEB.jpg Suicide attempt fatal for inmate

    A Todd County man died Tuesday at a Lexington hospital following a suicide attempt at the Madison County Detention Center, according to Madison and Fayette county officials.
    George Kenneth Williams, 50, of Allensville, was transported Monday afternoon by Madison County EMS to Baptist Health Richmond, according to EMS Director Jimmy Cornelison. He was then transferred to Baptist Health in Lexington where he died Tuesday, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCDW instructor indicted on charges of failing to provide training

    A Madison County grand jury has indicted a carry-concealed weapons permit instructor on charges he falsely claimed to have provided instruction to one person for a CCDW permit and provided incomplete training to three others.
    Christopher D. Fins was indicted April 9 on one count of CCDW instructor not providing firearms training and three counts of providing incomplete firearms training.
    Fins faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all four felony charges.

    April 17, 2014

  • EKU dorm sprinklers may have been activated maliciously

    Fire-suppression sprinklers went off about 2:30 a.m. Thursday in Eastern Kentucky University’s Martin Hall dormitory, prompting its evacuation.
    Fluctuating pressure then caused a campus water main to break, according to EKU spokesperson Mark Whitt.
    The cause is uncertain, but university officials are investigating to determine if the sprinklers were activated maliciously, Whitt said.
    The residence hall houses 260 students who were placed in other university housing or stayed with friends. All were able to move back in later in the day, he said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sixth person charged in motel meth bust

    A sixth person has been charged in connection with a methamphetamine-making operation discovered last week at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond.
    Roger M. Million, 24, Moberly Road, was charged Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

     View Results