Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport board continues its search for a fifth member


July 01--A new name was thrown into the ring Wednesday for the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport Authority board.

Erin Leavitt of Lewiston has no ties with aviation or with the old airport advisory commission, Commissioner Verl Long said. "I think we're looking for someone in that position."

Without Leavitt, a Lewiston dentist, in the audience or a resume to consider, commissioners Mike Martin and William V. McCann Jr. asked for more information before voting. The fourth commissioner, Kent Simmons, also a dentist, didn't comment. Both Leavitt and Simmons practice at Bryden Canyon Professional Center.

The last vote on a fifth commissioner that was taken had three commissioners for Richard Davies, a retired banker, and Simmons for Chris Hayes, who works at ATK. The vote before that was 3 votes for J.R. Luper and one for Hayes.

The board last week asked the Lewiston City Council and Nez Perce County commission, which created the authority to provide independent management of the airport, to do away with a requirement that they reach unanimous agreement. The commissioners, in a letter read by McCann, refused.

The city council will consider the request July 12, but Councilor Thyra Stevenson, who was in the audience, said there is general agreement that unanimity is necessary to create a team.

She also said a lot of people are supportive of the new authority but want it "to get on with it."

"In all due respect, I don't know what get on with it means," McCann responded. They are meeting weekly and drafting specifications for the operation of the board and the airport, he said.

They also set a work session for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Brammer Building to go over details of the budget and transition proposals, including advertisements for various professional services that will be needed when the airport is formally separated from city management.

James T. Kluss, a former member of the city council, said although he doesn't agree unanimity should be required, he would like to see them come to an agreement because Councilor Dennis Ohrtman would prefer to dissolve the authority. Ohrtman made a statement to that effect at a recent council meeting.

The board did vote 4-0 to approve a city plan to route a new water line parallel to Southport Avenue, which is partially on airport land, as long as the city guarantees it will move the line at city cost if airport needs dictate it.

Lee may be contacted at slee@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2266.