Airport commission wraps up first meeting

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The newly created airport commission wrapped up its first meeting Thursday night and there were tense moments but Executive Director Jerry Orr still has a job.

The Airport Commission was created by a controversial bill introduced in Raleigh by Republican legislators who wanted to take control of airport operations away from city leaders.

The city of Charlotte has consistently opposed the takeover and the issue is now tied up in court.

Many of the commissioners talked about their lack of authority and how they're waiting to find out what they can do from the courts.

Now, an injunction is keeping the city in control of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

But the airport commission could eventually take over as members decided to restrict their lawyers to working with the Federal Aviation Administration and not battle the city in courts.

They also want a record of their legal bills so far, and a list of charges on a monthly basis.

They know that while they have little authority they are racking up legal debt.

They're going to have a second meeting where they'll discuss with the executive director about what he's done in the past and what the future looks like.

"I don't think there's any question what Jerry Orr has meant to this community and brought to this community and what he's built. I think everybody recognizes that," said Robert Stolz, chairman.

All of the appointed commission members were at the meeting except for Gaston County Commissioner Chad Brown who said he resigned.