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Assembly names Menzies to vacant airport board seat

Incumbents reappointed to other boards

Posted: December 20, 2012 - 3:41pm  |  Updated: December 21, 2012 - 1:04am

A seat on the Juneau International Airport Board left vacant by the death of Pete Carlson in September was among those filled Wednesday night after the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly interviewed applicants while sitting as the Human Resources Committee.

Malcolm Menzies, a former Southeast Region director of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, was named to complete Carlson’s term on the board.

Assemblymember Jesse Kiehl, chairman of the Human Resources Committee, acknowledged Menzies’ past experience on city boards and commissions at the start of the interview. Menzies, a former member of the CBJ Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, served briefly on the Assembly last year after being appointed to fill out an unexpired term.

“I know that you’re no stranger to public service in town,” said Kiehl. “If you’re willing, why don’t you lead off with two, three minutes on why you put your name back in the hat for another tour of something here?”

Menzies, an engineer by trade as well as a pilot, described himself as “mostly retired.”

“Lots of my work is tied to the airport, and I feel fairly close to it,” Menzies told the committee. He added, “I feel very close to Juneau and don’t mind committing myself and my time to be part of it.”

When asked what he would do differently at the airport than what the current administration and board have been doing, Menzies demurred. He approves of recent capital improvement projects despite them being “overly environmentally studied,” he said.

“I can’t see anything different than the way they’re going now,” Menzies said. “It seems like they have an orderly plan, and they’re following their plan as funds will dictate.”

Menzies named the airport’s freight terminals and general aviation accommodations as areas where he would like to see work done.

“I don’t think the work at the airport, like the work at any city, will ever end,” added Menzies. “There’s always improvements that have to be made, and there’s always maintenance, and maintenance sometimes gets so far behind that it has to be reconstructed, and reconstructed in a more efficient way.”

The committee interviewed one other applicant, Martin Myers, for the airport board seat.

Myers identified the “biggest challenge” to the airport as the Transportation Security Administration’s protocols for airport security.

“I still believe there should be rights to protection for people who actually have a legal right and authority to be there at the airport and be able to use the airport for the things that it’s traditionally used, and not over-restricted,” said Myers. “I know the TSA isn’t looking at restricting the average person to go about doing their business, but as part of what they do, I know it kind of it encompasses everything, and what tends to happen a lot of time is that the average person or the people who really aren’t a threat get truly affected by the stuff that they implement.”

The committee convened in executive session after interviewing Menzies, Myers, and applicants to the Planning Commission and Bartlett Regional Hospital’s board of directors. Assemblymembers then held a special Assembly meeting to announce their appointees.

During the Human Resources Committee interviews for the hospital board, Assemblymembers frequently commented on what Kiehl described as “an embarrassment of riches in the applicant pool for Bartlett.” Ultimately, though, the Assembly reappointed Dr. Alex Malter, Kristen Bomengen and Linda Thomas to the board over several other applicants.

The Assembly also reappointed incumbents Dan Miller, Dennis Watson and Michael Satre to the Planning Commission. The three incumbents were the only applicants for the Planning Commission seats.

The full Assembly sits as the Human Resources Committee at least twice a year to make appointments to its enterprise boards, as well as to the Planning Commission and to the Eaglecrest Ski Area’s board of directors. Some board seats are up in June, while others are up in December.

Deputy Municipal Clerk Beth McEwen said the Assembly’s crowded schedule, as well as the legal requirement for the CBJ to advertise the vacancy, since Carlson’s death on Sept. 3 meant that it was easiest for Assemblymembers to simply make the airport board appointment at the time of the regular December sitting as the Human Resources Committee.

“Trying to schedule this as an additional meeting on top of all the other Assembly meetings and when there’s an election in between … is always a challenge,” McEwen said Wednesday afternoon.

Menzies’ term on the airport board begins immediately and expires in June 2014.

All other appointees are scheduled to serve until the end of 2015.

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

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