EDITORIAL: Airport Authority reps should be local

2014-02-14T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Airport Authority reps should be local nwitimes.com
February 14, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Gary/Chicago International Airport is in the midst of big changes, from privatization to the runway extension to even a discussion of the route to future success. The Airport Authority must steer the airport well.

But the Airport Authority is missing two important oars.

Porter County appointee Tom Cavanaugh resigned a couple of months ago, and gubernatorial appointee Tom Collins resigned recently. State law says the governor's appointee serves as chairman of the Airport Authority.

Those representatives should be replaced soon, but replaced with quality candidates both knowledgeable about the airport and with a strong vision for its future.

A further requirement should be the appointee be from Northwest Indiana.

As Indiana Gov. Mike Pence ponders who to appoint to replace Collins on the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority, we strongly recommend he appoint someone from Northwest Indiana who is already familiar with the issues at the airport and will be around to address issues as they arise.

The governor's Department of Natural Resources appointee on the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, for example, can't attend every meeting in person because he doesn't live in the region. Special permission had to be granted for that representative to attend by phone.

An Airport Authority appointee must be familiar with the transportation to and from the airport, because that is vital to the airport's success. The appointee should also be familiar with local politics that might affect airport operations. That's the kind of wisdom that comes from being nearby, not by representing the governor from afar.

Pence should find a strong candidate locally for the Airport Authority.

And Porter County should fulfill its responsibility to fill the seat Cavanaugh vacated as well, using similar criteria.

There's too much at stake at the airport to have continue to have two unfilled seats on the Airport Authority.

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