Mayor, city council debate aviation board pay

A move by Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters to discontinue pay for members of the city's Board of Aviation Commissioners met with resistance from that board, with members of the Huntington Common Council opting to delay a vote on the proposal in order to give themselves time to gather information.

The five members of the aviation board, which is responsible for the operation of Huntington Municipal Airport, are each paid $35 a month. Fetters presented a resolution to the city council on Tuesday, Jan. 29, to take that money - $2,100 a year - and instead allocate it for repair of buildings at the airport.

City Attorney Mike Hartburg explained that the 1975 city ordinance establishing the aviation board has no provision allowing for pay for the board's members and state law at that time specifically rules out pay for aviation board members. While state law has since been changed to allow pay for aviation board members, Hartburg said, the city code has not been changed.

Other than the aviation board, the only city boards or commissions that have paid members are the city council and the Board of Public Works and Safety, Hartburg said. All other city boards are made up of volunteers.

Both Hartburg and aviation board members who attended the meeting to protest the move said they had no idea when or why pay for aviation board members was instituted.

Fetters said he wanted to discontinue pay for aviation board members so that that board would be consistent with other city boards and because city code has no provision for the pay. If the council wants to continue to pay aviation board members, Hartburg said, it would need to change city code to reflect that pay.

Council members decided to postpone a vote on the proposal until Feb. 12, asking Hartburg, Fetters and city Clerk-Treasurer Christi Scher to research the history of aviation board pay.

In other business:

• Council approved Fetters' recommendation to reappoint Bryn Keplinger, Ryan Wall and Rich Najuch to the Historic Review Board.

• Final approval was given to the rezoning of property at 1929 W. Park Drive from light industrial to conservation.