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Reappointed airport board chairman wants to hear more from public

Posted: June 29, 2012 - 12:10am  |  Updated: June 29, 2012 - 10:08am

The chairman of Juneau International Airport’s board of directors, whom the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly reappointed to the board Wednesday night, said Thursday that he would like to get feedback from residents on airport projects.

Jerry Godkin, who has served on the airport board since 2006 and as its chairman since 2008, told Assembly members Wednesday, when they convened for a Human Resources Committee meeting to consider board applicants, that he would like them to relay public “ideas or complaints” to the board.

“You offered to us to call you as constituents, taxpayers, (and) to you people, I would say, it’s a two-way street,” Godkin told the committee. “And that’s the only way we can hear about stuff. … You guys are really our pulse for that in a lot of ways.”

On Thursday, Godkin explained his situation in more detail.

“The board, as a board, we don’t have a lot of contact,” Godkin said Thursday. “We don’t get a lot of calls from taxpayers.”

Godkin added, “I think the Assembly has more contact with their constituents… than individual boards do.”

Each enterprise board, including the airport board, has an Assembly liaison who relays communications between the Assembly and the board. But Assembly Member Randy Wanamaker suggested Wednesday night that the full Assembly could meet more regularly with enterprise boards. He expanded more on his brief comments Thursday.

“At least once a year is my preference. We already have that practice, but we’ve just been so busy this year,” Wanamaker said Thursday. “Last night was a telling point. We need to start doing this again. It’s part of our responsibility to the community. … We need to hear from (the boards) what their challenges are… and we need to tell them what we’re hearing.”

Wanamaker said that having served on both the Juneau School District’s Board of Education and the CBJ Assembly, he saw that citizens often went directly to Assembly members in order to express their opinions about various facets of the city.

“They will come to the Assembly and say, ‘This is what we’d like to see at the docks, or at the airport, or the schools or at Eaglecrest,’” said Wanamaker. “There’s nothing wrong with it… (but) what we try to do is refer them back to their respective boards.”

Wayne Stevens, chairman of the Eaglecrest Ski Area’s board of directors, said he does not believe Eaglecrest has a problem with lacking public feedback.

“I’m not aware of any incidents where the public has gone straight to the Assembly,” said Stevens. “It’s not an issue that I can tell.”

But Godkin said he wants to hear more about how people feel about renovations at the airport.

“We always leave open the first part of (board) meetings for any public member to testify… about a non-agenda item,” Godkin said. “We don’t get many that come to airport board meetings.”

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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