The Ripp Report closes out 2016 with congratulations to John Sharp Al.com.

Sparks fly in Fairhope: New mayor, council president dispute airport finances, personnel changes

Mayor Karin Wilson and Council President Jack Burrell dispute the future of the city’s airport and hiring decisions.

Source: www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2016/12/sparks_fly_in_fairhope_new_may.html

and Lagniappe Jane Nicholes,

Fairhope Council President, Mayor clash over airport land deal - Lagniappe Mobile

Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson has failed in her attempt to gain control of much of H.L. “Sonny” Callahan Airport land for the city. Following a discussion marked by sharp personal criticism of Wilson from Council President Jack Burrell, the council voted Dec. 22 to allow the Fairhope Airport Authority to maintain control of the land …

Source: www.lagniappemobile.com/fairhope-council-president-mayor-clash-airport-land-deal/

and Lagniappi Ron Sivak,

Continental Motors ditching Mobile for Fairhope - Lagniappe Mobile

Continental Motors Group Ltd., an AVIC International Holding Corp. company, recently announced its operating division, Southern Avionics and Interiors, will relocate to the H.L. “Sonny” Callahan Airport in Fairhope from its current location at Brookley Aeroplex. The goal of the move is to integrate maintenance, repair and overhaul services (MRO) across divisions, according to a …

Source: www.lagniappemobile.com/continental-motors-ditching-mobile-fairhope/

for their articles covering the Fairhope Airport Authority. Please watch for follow up articles that are sure to come.

The Fairhope Airport Authority has been flying under the radar of public scrutiny since it’s inception and Mr. Burrell wishes to keep it that way. Each year the Fairhope budget would include a half a million dollars to the Airport Authority, no questions asked. That is almost 200,000 dollars more than then we contribute to education. It has literally been a black hole for information and a board consisting of some members who are linked to the Airport with personal and or financial connections. The explained logic was that the board needed to be made up of individuals with an aviation knowledge or pilots. The flip side of that coin is that it can also be considered as a conflict of interest, which should be avoided.

None of the current information about the Airport Authority would see the light of day except for the fact that we elected a new Mayor. The previous Mayor gets full credit of establishing an Authority that considers itself above the Fairhope citizens interests. Mayor Wilson wished to exercise an option in the original loan to the Airport Authority which allowed the city to take back the land for 10.00 dollars if the principal was not paid off by 2012. The Authority wants the debt and an appropriation from the city to pay the debt and retain full control of 258 acres, what a deal.

Mayor Wilson has pointed out that 21% of the City’s budget is the Airport, serving 1% or less. “Wilson has said her administration will better represent the interests of the Fairhope citizens who are paying the debt service and essentially paying for land the city owns.” Mr. Burrell has said “I know," in a mocking tone toward Wilson’s frequent comments that she was elected by the citizens and is serving them. “the citizens the citizens the citizens."

Please do not forget that Mr Burrell is a remnant of the past FAILED administration, elected by a write in vote, and was linked at the hip to the previous Mayor. I personally covered the past 4 years of Fairhope politics, one miserable meeting at the time and I never saw Mr. Burrell speak to or mock the previous Mayor. His recent chauvinistic and rude behavior with spurts of anger have accompanied his opposition to the Mayor at every opportunity, regardless of the issue.

Recent revelations and filed complains should have forced Mr Burrell to recuse himself from further public comment until allegations could be investigated, he refused. In stead he took the lead roll in supporting the Airport over the interests of the citizens, citizens, citizens.

Mr. Burrell is the Fairhope City Council President and the city’s liaison for the Airport Authority both positions represents the citizens, citizens, citizens interest. However Mr Burrell chose to support the Authority and mock the Mayor at the same time. Mr. Burrell swayed the three newly elected council members that he knew best and he was at the helm. Mr Burrell was clearly at the helm of the Authority as they appointed him to an ad hoc committee of two that would oversee and select bids related to Airplane hangers. This is in total conflict of the position of council president and city liaison.

Burrell has suggested that an effort was under way to create a “conspiracy”. Conspiracy: a plan agreed on: plot. I agree with Mr. Burrell and also think he is an integral part of said conspiracy.

I predict that the information, documentation and testimony that will dribble to the surface in the very near future, will support the Mayor’s position. Let’s hope the newly elected council can accept the truth and that they re-evaluate information being force fed them by Mr. Burrell. The Fairhope Airport Authority needs to recognize that it is the Fairhope, citizens, citizens, citizens airport, NOT the authority’s airport.

Stay Tuned