The Newport Airport Advisory Committee has finally gotten a better hand on the wheel of the airport after what can only be described as a constructive discussion about what needs to be done to keep the airport moving forward.
First off, the committee agreed, along with Interim City Manager Ted Smith, that the airport’s current work force needs some leadership – somebody at the top to help keep things calm and positioned to handle complaints and suggestions from pilots as well as the general public without personality battles getting in the way. Since Public Works Engineering Technician Melissa Roman was already project managing the nearly $10 million airport renovation project, and is deeply involved with airport operations, Smith and the advisory committee will ask the city council’s blessing to make Roman the interim Airport Director.
They say “interim” because Smith and the committee, along with airport employees Lance Vanderbeck and Terry Durham all agree that the airport needs a full time director if the airport is to grow and thrive. They point out that Newport’s economic development hinges substantially on a fully functional and constantly improving air traffic facility. Smith says he will bring the issue before the next meeting of the city council for their comments and to create a place-marker for the position in the 2014-15 city budget if that is their desire as well.