Paso Robles Airport Commission to be established
Special meeting focus on succession plan and airport governance for future use
–On Thursday, May 26 the Paso Robles City Council held a special meeting to identify the future of the Paso Robles Municipal Airport management structure. The recommended option by the Airport Advisory Committee (AAC) was that an Airport Commission be formed (similar to the Paso Robles Planning Commission) and work with city staff to streamline airport operations. The motion was approved unanimously by council who directed staff to come back to the council with an ordinance or resolution to implement a change from the Airport Advisory Committee to an Airport Commission.
Council also received a recommended Airport Governance Matrix, which outlined the delineation of authority over the airport between city staff, council and the proposed commission. The matrix sets out how duties and responsibilities might be shared between them. Council reviewed the matrix line by line.
Director of Public Works Dick McKinley said the AAC had done a great job in preparing the matrix. “The Airport Business Improvement Plan lists succession planning as a high priority goal,” he said. “As the AAC subcommittee on succession planning was working through the issue, it became clear that the most important issue was governance. The AAC began working with staff to identify seven options for airport governance ranging from outright sale of the airport, to continuance of staff operations. The AAC has discussed and refined the governance models, eliminating five of the seven options and ending at a combination of an airport commission (similar to the planning commission) working with staff, and including many efforts to streamline operations.”
Councilman Steve Gregory said that the new structure would empower the airport manager, who is employed by the city, and he agreed with Councilman Fred Strong that they need to define the role of the commission and the boundaries of their authority. Councilman John Hamon said he had an issue with how lease negotiation would be handled regarding financial documents and confidentiality.
McKinley said city staff would negotiate leases and propose them to council, like any other lease agreement and would keep any financial documents confidential. “Staff would manage any financial documents, bring the lease to council and ask what say you.”
The commission would work similarly to the planning commission wherein they would be granted authority to make certain decisions, and granted authority to make recommendations for other decisions. The matrix lays out a plan for sorting decisions from recommendations, and was developed by staff and the AAC working together over a few months’ time. A formal recommendation for size or makeup for the proposed airport commission was not proposed, but the consensus of the AAC, according to the council report, was generally a seven person commission, with four members being from aviation, and three being from the greater community. A report will be brought back to council to handle to the commission format and appointment process.
Council also received an update on various draft lease agreements which will be part of the consent agenda at the council meeting, June 7.