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New Airport Authority Commission members named; Mayor Kintigh breaks tied votes on way to nominee approval

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Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh talks with a city councilor during a break in Thursday night’s council meeting that included long discussions about the nature of the Airport Authority Commission and its first nominees. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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[Note: The following post has been updated to correct the first name of one of the commission members.]

The city’s recently formed Airport Authority Commission has five new members, including Mayor Dennis Kintigh, but not before the City Council held long discussions about changes in ordinances and amendments to resolutions that required Kintigh to break tied votes as the way was paved for consideration of his recommended commission members.

The meeting was closing in on its fourth hour as the City Council took up the question whether to approve the five people nominated by Kintigh. After some debate about whether Kintigh and city Parks and Recreation Director Jim Burress were appropriate members for the commission, the councilors voted on each individual and gave the thumbs up to all. Councilor Savino Sanchez abstained from voting for the nominees.

Kintigh and Dane Marley of the oilfield waste disposal firm Gandy Marley have been voted in for one-year terms. O.E. “Bud” Kunkel, chair of the board of directors of the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp.; realtor Riley Armstrong; and Burress will serve for two-year terms.

Prior to the vote on commission members, the City Council first voted 5-5 on a proposal to change a city ordinance concerning how boards and commissions are formed, with Kintigh’s vote in the affirmative allowing the ordinance change to occur.

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The alteration inserts a sentence in the original ordinance concerning advisory boards and commissions that says that the standard provisions do not apply if the original documents creating the board or commission provide for different criteria. That change was made so that an amendment could be considered about the size, terms and nominees for the commission.

Voting on that amendment — an amendment to the original resolution passed June 14 that created the Airport Authority Commission — the City Council again deadlocked 5-5. But Kintigh once again broke the tie with his “yes” vote.

The original amendment would have specified that the commission have five members — rather than the typical seven members on boards and commission — and that members serve two years —rather than the standard four years. It also said that the entire slate of nominees should be rejected or accepted.

However, that last provision was successfully amended after a motion by Councilor Judy Stubbs, which was seconded by Councilor George Peterson.

Echoing some comments made by other councilors who said they feel they should be able to decide about each nominee based on his individual qualifications, Stubbs said, “I don’t think that allows us to do what we need to do.”

The City Council voted 6-3, with one person abstaining, to pass the amendment to the resolution, so, with Kintigh’s tie-breaking vote, the amended resolution to the Airport Authority Commission resolution allows for five members and two-year terms, but allowed councilors to vote up or down the nominees individually.

After this initial year of service, future nominees also are expected to be decided on individually and will serve staggered two-year terms so that the city is not replacing the entire commission member at one time.

The Air Authority Commission was formed to provide advice and information to city councilors concerning the Roswell Independent Air Center and some of its surrounding properties in the hopes of improving its ability to grow jobs and attract businesses. Airport Director Scott Stark and City Manager Joe Neeb will serve as staff liaisons.

City and county leaders and area legislators had wanted to establish an independent regional air authority and worked successfully to have enacting legislation passed by the New Mexico State Legislature in early 2018, but Gov. Susana Martinez unexpectedly vetoed the bill, saying that some of the taxing authority was too broad and might have unintended consequences and that local leaders already have authority to do some of what they were seeking to do through the legislation.

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