The need for an audit

Aug. 07, 2013 @ 04:55 AM

Have issues surrounding the Rutherford County Airport Authority and dealings at Marchman Field have come to an end?

With Monday night's 3-2 vote, the Rutherford County Commission elected to take over the Airport Authority.

The vote came on the heels of a report issued by Manager Carl Classen which called politics at the airport "toxic." And we agree.

We also agree that there have been good things about the airport that Classen brought to light such as an increase in fuel sales that have helped soften the blow to offsetting county dollars being spent on sustaining the airport.

However, one question we have surrounding last night's decision is why commissioners ignored a request to have a full audit done before taking over the Authority?

A good business practice is when you are set to take over an entity or business, you want to see the books and make sure everything is where it is supposed to be.

But, Monday night, commissioners failed to endorse a motion from Commissioner Bo Richard to do just that.

And we are left wondering why?

A lot of the leg work has already been done as part of Classen's report to the Commission.

With a decade's worth of missing meeting minutes, commissioners need to be assured that everything is in place and those minutes or meeting recordings are where they need to be and properly backed up before assuming the responsibilities of the Authority.

We would be remiss if we didn't applaud the work of Classen in presenting an accurate, detailed report regarding operations at the airport. It was clear, unbiased and encompassed the good, the bad and the ugly regarding the airport.

It accurately laid responsibility for the "toxic" politics on not just the current board but boards of the past.

It also showed that there are positives about the airport and that it is an asset to the county.

But, in order to restore public trust in the airport and the Authority, there has to be a accounting for any and all information dating back to the inception of the Authority.

Getting back the trust of the citizens of Rutherford County is the first responsibility of the new Authority. That has to be done before the airport can move forward and secure its place as an economic development tool of the county.

That has to start with ensuring all information — including meeting minutes and recordings — are located and properly available to the public.

Without it, there may still be a cloud of issues hanging over the head of the airport.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark