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Handling of FBO contract concerns airport commissioners

WILLMAR -- Members of the Willmar Airport Commission raised concerns this week regarding the fixed-base operator's contract and how the issue was handled, both within the city and publicly."This has been an action that has a lot of questions abou...

WILLMAR - Members of the Willmar Airport Commission raised concerns this week regarding the fixed-base operator’s contract and how the issue was handled, both within the city and publicly.
“This has been an action that has a lot of questions about it and the people involved in it have some explaining to do,” Commissioner Richard Kacher said during the Tuesday meeting.
Commission Chairman Pat Curry said he had never said the Airport Commission was on board with the termination of Brian Negen’s contract, despite what Willmar Planning and Development Director Bruce Peterson said during the May 12 meeting of the City Council’s Community Development Committee. Peterson said it was never his intent to make it sound as if the commission approved of the termination.
“I will take full responsibility for that,” Peterson said.
The operator contract was first brought up at the end of the May 12 committee meeting, even though it was not on the agenda. City Administrator Larry Kruse asked for it to be discussed during the public meeting, which was recorded and posted on the city’s website the next day.
For several people on the Airport Commission and City Council, the first they heard of the potential contract termination was in the West Central Tribune’s story published May 14.
“It wasn’t the chain of events I would have chosen,” Peterson said.
There were also complaints and concerns about why the contract issue was not brought to the Airport Commission first.
“We have never talked about this. Isn’t that part of our role?” Commissioner Dan O’Meara asked.
Peterson said the Airport Commission is an advisory board only and does not deal with contract issues.
“It is not the Airport Commission’s responsibility to monitor contracts,” Peterson said.
That being said, Peterson did say the commission’s thoughts on airport operations are welcome and needed.
“Your input is very valuable to the council,” Peterson said.

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Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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