The recent revelations of a long-standing dispute with a tenant at the Triangle Executive Airport has me wondering if many of our county executives and elected leadership even suspect what they are doing.
The gist of the dispute is a tenant at the airport owes thousands of dollars of back rent and our leadership is trying to find a way to get him to pay it. To me this is a problem looking for another problem. Facility space at the airport is the subject of contracts. Terms and remedies are clear; printed in black and white, acknowledged with signatures.
Considerable money, time, and effort are expended to put contracts in place. What is the point of it all, if they mean nothing?
This assumes there are actually written contracts. In some cases I am told it may not be the case.
The question is not unique to this issue. Routinely, disputes arise, millions of dollars are involved and the citizens of Franklin County are left with the short end of the stick. Think back to the radios, the court house renovation, and now the debacle that is the jail. Add to this the letting of non-competitive contracts.
In all of it, there is one constant, it is the leadership, the same people year in and year out making the same mistakes over and over. We missed a real opportunity to change this in the recent primary election. In November the chance will present itself again.
Contract execution is not difficult if done with competence and integrity. Having read through volumes of information on the airport dispute, I am left with the question of, why is there such an effort to appease the tenant? Justification for the effort is somehow focused on a narrative that a one-time employee of the airport, Bruce Allen, who has since retired in good standing from the county, is alleged to have offended a customer of the tenant.
Issues of employee conduct and accounts receivable are mutually exclusive. There are clear county policies for both. Again, if they do not matter, what is the point of even having them? If the allegation against Allen is true, why was this not addressed at the time of the alleged offense? Years have since passed.
On many occasions, Allen reported what he believed to be misconduct and mismanagement at the airport. He testified before the Franklin County Board of County Commissioners offering his evidence of this. Having attended some of these meetings, I found his rendering to be very compelling. To my knowledge, his charges/allegations were never responded to. They just kind of faded away?
My information is that there may be business relationships among many involved with this, to include actual members of the Airport Commission. If true, tell me this is not a conflict of interest? The answer is obvious.
Depending on who you are, or who you know, I am told "special rates" apply for things at the airport.
Could this explain the effort towards appeasement?
An audit, but an independent one, would tell the story on this. Don't hold your breath; some of the very people that are in control of whether an audit happens may be implicated in acts of commission or omission.
When Bruce Allen came forward with his allegations, many now speaking out against him were not happy. An official is reported to have said, "We have wasted enough time on this," and referring to Allen also said "We all know what he was like." Much has been made of certain tenants at the airport speaking out against Allen and what he reported on during an August 2014 meeting. Many of these people are the subject of what Allen has reported on. Do you expect them to sing his praises?
What he reported was not done just "off the cuff," he provided supporting documents. He even had at least one copy of a check.
I disagree; it is not a waste of time to listen to citizens that report wrong doing. Even if they are wrong. Personally I do not think he is wrong. It is best to expose even the perception of wrong doing.
I am trying to understand just what was meant by the comment, "We all know what he was like."
One has to wonder if this all ends in yet another lawsuit against Franklin County.
Even as the decision was being made to pursue appeasement, county commissioner's and the county attorney raised serious questions about doing it. Yet the vote was unanimous to do it.
If I were a tenant at the airport I would be looking for a refund. This special deal on rent is a good one if you can get it. Guess it depends on who is doing what for whom, and who you know.
Mr. and Mrs. Politician please do not try to appease me, just go by the rules.
It's your job, do it.