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Arlinghaus Opposes Proposed Airport Task Force

This story has been updated with comments from County Commissioner Kris Knochelmann

A resolution that calls for the creation of a task force to consider changes to the structure of the governance of the CVG Airport Board was introduced in Frankfort this week by State Reps. Addia Wuchner and Sal Santoro (R-Florence).

The resolution (HCR 183) reads:

Establish the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport Governance Task Force to meet during the 2014 interim and issue a report to LRC by December 1, 2014; charge the task force with making recommendations for administrative or statutory changes to improve the governance structure of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport; establish membership.

Kenton County Judge-Executive Steve Arlinghaus, who appoints all voting members of the airport board, issued a statement on Friday announcing his opposition to the resolution.

"I strongly oppose the resolution...calling for a task force to recommend changes to the governance structure of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport," Arlinghaus said. 
"The idea of restructuring the Kenton County Airport Board and the way that board members are appointed to it was proposed by Kenton County Commissioner Kris Knochelmann in a press release his campaign issued on Oct. 13 and in letters that he sent local legislators requesting the change, including new “legislation that would change the Judge-executive’s power when it comes to making appointments to boards such as CVG.”
Knochelmann is running against Arlinghaus in the Republican primary for Judge-Executive in May. The two clashed over two resolutions related to the airport's board and leadership at the Kenton County Fiscal Court's most recent meeting.
Knochelmann introduced resolutions calling on the Fiscal Court to endorse the work of CVG CEO Candace McGraw as well as new restrictions on the airport board. Both resolutions failed in 2-2 ties.
The airport board came under scrutiny, and is now the target of an examination by the Kentucky State Auditor, after the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on the money spent on travel, food, and alcohol for the board members.
"I have great concern that these calls to change the governance structure at the airport and now a House resolution before the Kentucky Legislature are attempts to take CVG from its rightful owner -- the people of Kenton County," Arlinghaus said Friday. "These efforts, if successful, could eliminate or significantly diminish Kenton County’s governance of the airport and allow other counties or governmental agencies to obtain control of the airport."
"I find both amazing and ironic that Commissioner Knochelmann, my opponent in the upcoming judge-executive race, has called for a restructuring of the Airport Board, which is currently controlled exclusively by Kenton County. Now, two Boone County state representatives have now heeded his call for new legislation and proposed the resolution that is currently before the General Assembly."
Update: Knochelmann responded with this statement: ""I understand and share the public's frustration with the cvg board appointment process and hope that reforms can be put in place to increase accountability and improve performance of the board. There have been and are many great community servants who serve on that board. I do believe that a task force is an effective way to begin this discussion, however whatever comes out of the study, Kenton county MUST maintain control of this regional asset. Sadly, lack of leadership from Steve Arlinghaus has brought us to this point."
-Michael Monks
Photo: CVG Airport tower
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