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Commissioner claims airport secretary tried to sabotage closure application

Scott Seitz2 • May 29, 2014 at 8:07 PM

If you want a job done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself.

Huron County Commissioner Tom Dunlap said this was the case late last week involving an airport closure application.

The county had until Friday to send proper paperwork to the Federal Aviation Administration regarding July 4, 5 and 6 and Aug. 9 closures of the Huron County Airport so Summit Motorsports Park could use the runway as an egress during corresponding events.

"On Thursday, the commissioners received an emailed copy of the application the airport secretary had mailed to the FAA," Dunlap said. "It was brought to our attention the application contained no signatures, no insurance forms and no letter from the commissioners.

"It was just blank except for the dates of the closures," Dunlap said. "It wasn't complete."

Dunlap said that's when Commissioner Joe Hintz took over.

"Joe Hintz got everything done," Dunlap said. "That included the signature of the (airport) board president, letter from us, insurance forms, signature from Mr. (Bill) Bader and overnighted it to the FAA."

Dunlap said Hintz really stepped up in crunch time.

"He took the bull by the horns," he said.

The FAA did not approve the recent May 17 closure because paperwork was not submitted on time by the airport board.

Will the FAA approve these upcoming closures?

"Who knows?" Dunlap said. "We just wanted it done right and Joe took the lead on it."

Dunlap offered a theory on why Thursday's application was submitted incomplete.

"I think it was done deliberately," he said. "Maybe I'm wrong, but something smells afoul to me."

Dunlap said the airport secretary, Doug Arnold, knows how to file closure applications.

"I can't imagine him risking that closure," Dunlap said.

Dunlap said doing that goes directly against an order issued by the commissioners to the airport board.

"That is -- be good neighbors," he said, referring to the airport's actions toward Summit.

Arnold offered a response to Dunlap's claim.

"The airport authority and county commissioners were notified Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 4:08 p.m. that the FAA had acknowledge receipt for the request for temporary airport closure for non-aeronautical use," Arnold said via email.

"In addition, the FAA also received a copy of the long term solution plan, which is not supported by the commissioners," he added.

"The FAA was in receipt of the closure plan before the Friday, May 23 deadline," Arnold said.

"The commissioners have not submitted an acknowledgment letter (or resolution) to the airport," he said.

"It is my understanding an updated certificate of insurance from Summit Motorsports Park has been received by the commissioner's office, which has not been forwarded to the airport, to be integrated into the current closure plan," Arnold said.

"The FAA requested a copy of the 'proposed plan,' which may be amended at the FAA's request, not a 'finalized in stone' document with signatures," he added.

"There have been no further communications between the airport and commissioners regarding the closure plan, since Thursday afternoon and this email."

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