Vermilion board looking to solve one piece of airport-leadership puzzle

Vermilion board looking to solve one piece of airport-leadership puzzle

DANVILLE — One piece of the Vermilion Regional Airport leadership puzzle may be solved if the county board appoints a new commissioner tonight.

But the status of two other commissioners is still up in the air, along with the airport manager's position.

The Vermilion County Board will consider tonight appointing Joe Vincent of Danville as an airport commissioner, filling the five-year term of Jonathan Myer. Myer resigned recently after a complaint that he was ineligible to serve according to state statutes, which include a rule that prohibits commissioners from serving in an official capacity with any other governmental body.

Myer is a member of the Vermilion County Conservation District's board of trustees.

The status of two other commissioners is also in question — Dave Kietzmann, vice president for instruction at Danville Area Community College, and Steve Foster, a Danville alderman.

The qualifications of a fourth commissioner, Tom Day, are not being questioned. The fifth, Bill Ingram, was included in the complaint because of his role with the Catlin planning commission, but he is no longer a member of that body.

Foster said he doesn't plan to resign as commissioner and is awaiting the results of legal research conducted by the commission's attorney, Jerry Davis, who could not be reached for comment.

Foster said Illinois Department of Transportation officials are also looking into the legal aspects of the complaint, which was lodged by the Edgar County Watchdogs. The private citizens group filed similar complaints with IDOT concerning commissioners serving on the Springfield Airport Authority board, among others.

Three commissioners are recommended by Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer for approval by the city council. The other two are recommended for approval to the county board by board Chairman Mike Marron.

The relevant statute states that "no person shall be appointed to the board of commissioners of any airport authority ... who is a member of the governing body or an officer or employee of a municipality, a county or any other unit of local government."

But the state statute also says there's an exception for school board members.

"Isn't that a laugh?" said Foster, who doesn't intend to resign his commissioner's seat. "The law seems to be very ambiguous."

While the issue is playing out, commissioners are continuing to conduct airport business. Foster said they're looking into different options for filling the airport manager's job.

At the airport board's June 19 meeting, Mike Potter offered his resignation as airport manager, following a closed session discussion with the board.

Kietzmann said a motion to accept the resignation was made after closed session and passed by a unanimous vote. Potter and commission Attorney Jerry Davis are now working out details of his departure, Kietzmann said.

Potter was hired in 2016 as the airport's full-time manager, with his annual salary set at $60,000.

He succeeded the late Bob Gagnon, who retired earlier that year after more than 30 years on the job.

Potter did not return a call from The News-Gazette seeking comment about his resignation.