The former chair of the Madison Airport Board is not allowed to vote on board issues while court proceedings about his suspension are pending, the board’s new chair asserted at a Tuesday meeting.
The Madison Fiscal Court voted Jan. 11 to suspend then-chair Eddie Pullins. Later in January, Pullins filed suit in Madison Circuit Court seeking re-instatement.
He has attended some recent board meetings, and board secretary Geroge Wyatt recorded Pullins’ presence and his vote on one issue at the August meeting. His vote did not affect the outcome, however, as he was outvoted.
Board chair Dr. Wilma Walker said she believed the board should not approve the August minutes, because, according to board attorney J.T. Gilbert, Pullins may not vote while under suspension.
“You better check with Judge Logue on that,” Pullins said in response.
Although the suit remains unresolved, Madison Circuit Judge Jeanne C. Logue ruled July 8 that a state statute governing publicly owned airports applies to the board.
Because KRS 183.132 makes no provision for suspending airport board members, Wyatt, Pullins and his attorney says they believe the fiscal court’s suspension of Pullins is invalid.
Madison Airport is jointly owned by Madison County Fiscal Court, Richmond City Commission and Berea City Council.
“Mr. Pullins does not have a vote,” Walker said. “As he has not had a vote” since he was suspended.
Walker relayed Gilbert’s opinion thay Pullins may not vote while the lawsuit is pending.
Board member Ken Schwendeman suggested that, because Pullins’ vote did not change the outcome of the motion, the board could remove it from the minutes and restore it later if the court rules in Pullins’ favor.
The board voted to remove Pullins’ vote and then approve the amended minutes.
Logue has scheduled a pre-trial conference in Pullins’ suit for Sept. 21 at 11 a.m.
The board elected to hold off on installing drains for the airport’s runway.
Because water is seeping up in places, the runway may need to have drains installed, said Susan Rich of Louisville-based Entran, the board's engineering firm. Water is being found in places it had not seeped up before the recent runway extension, she said.
Drain installtion would close the runway for several days, Rich said.
Because of upcoming re-shouldering work, the runways will already be closed for two days and that could be a good time to install drains, she said.
However, the board chose another option Rich presented, to wait until spring and see if the problem persists.
Money to install drains would come from grants already received from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state for the construction, Rich said. Although unlikely, delaying the repairs could mean losing the FAA grant funds, she said.
The exteriors of the airport’s building and hangars soon will get a fresh coat of paint. The board accepted Lexington painter Steve Mahan bid of $15,639, which was $14,238 lower than the only other bid. The board also voted to have the bathrooms refurbished at a cost of a little more than $1,000. The money will come from the board’s capital fund.
Walker instructed Wyatt to send meeting minutes to the public only after they have been approved by the board. She said Gilbert advised her that the minutes were not matters of public record until approved.
Kelly McKinney can be reached at kmckinney@
richmondregister.com or 624-6694.