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Possible airport commission members announced

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Mayor Dennis Kintigh (Alison Penn Photo)

City of Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh has announced his five nominees for the Airport Advisory Commission, and he’s one of them.

Other suggested members are Dane Marley of oil industry waste disposal firm Gandy Marley, realtor Riley Armstrong, real estate appraiser O.E. “Bud” Kunkel and city Parks and Recreation Department Director Jim Burress, according to items included with the agenda for the upcoming Roswell City Council meeting.

The council is scheduled to vote July 12 on nominees, as well as other parts of an amendment to the resolution that created the city’s Airport Advisory Commission.

The public release of the names of nominees follows a June 28 Legal Committee meeting where a debate ensued over whether to support the resolution amendment.

That amendment, along with other provisions related to commission membership, requires that the entire slate of nominees be accepted or rejected.

Committee Chair Judy Stubbs and Councilor George Peterson voiced some objections to councilors being barred from voting for individual nominees, but the committee approved the proposed amendment. Stubbs said she was voting for it in spite of her reservations so that the entire City Council could consider the matter. Peterson voted against it.

Other portions of the resolution amendment would limit terms to two years, rather than the customary four, and would require only five members, as opposed to the usual seven needed for citizen boards and commissions.

Bud Kunkel, chair of the board of directors of the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. and a member of its Air Center Task Force, said he is hopeful that the commission will be useful in advising city staff on issues of concern to the airport and the air center.

He said the air center has not made a great deal of progress as an economic enterprise and job creator since the U.S. government closed it as a military base in 1967 and gave control of much of its assets to the city.

“If we can’t figure out how to better utilize this facility to get more jobs in here, we won’t be able to move forward,” he said. “So I am pleased that someone thinks that I can lend something to the discussion on that. I am just pleased that someone thinks that I can lend something to the community that will benefit the community long term.”

Kunkel points out that, as a member of the task force, he was part of the effort to develop legislation approved by the New Mexico House of Representatives and the Senate to create an independent, regional air authority with oversight of the airport and some of its adjacent land. That legislation was vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez, which has led to the city’s action to create a citizen commission.

Kintigh has said that he expects that City Manager Joe Neeb and Airport Director Scott Stark will serve as staff liaisons to the commission.

Kintigh, mayor since 2014, would be the only elected official on the commission. His background includes degrees in aerospace and mechanical engineering, four years with the U.S. Air Force and work in the aerospace industry. He also was an FBI agent and law enforcement officer for more than 25 years and is a former New Mexico state representative.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.