• All 13 to serve on Airport Advisory Commission announced Tuesday

    By: Torie Wells


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Tuesday night, the final four members were chosen for the Airport Authority Commission. That's the group that could run day-to-day operations at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

    All 13 people on the Airport Advisory Commission have now been named. Charlotte's mayor released three appointees Tuesday evening. The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voted on its one.

    "This is probably one of the most significant appointments we will make," said Mecklenburg County Commissioner Karen Bentley.

    The county chose local businessman Randall Freeman. Some commissioners said he has business and community knowledge.

    "He would look out for the interests of Mecklenburg County and the citizens of Mecklenburg County," said Mecklenburg County Commissioner George Dunlap.

    Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey chose Aaron McKeithan Jr., a west side neighborhood leader who is retired from the health care industry. She chose Joan Higginbotham, a former NASA astronaut and current director of community relations for  Lowe's; she is also council member James Mitchell's wife. The mayor also chose insurance executive Cameron Harris.

    Martin Brackett is an attorney for the Airport Advisory Commission. He told Channel 9 that even though a lawsuit from the city is preventing commissioners from full power now, those appointees will go to work soon. He said they will use this time to study up on airport issues.

    "Anything they wanted to study, for example on airport finances, airport personnel organization," said Martin Brackett, attorney for the Airport Advisory Commission.

    Both the mayor and members of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voiced disappointment the appointments even had to be made.

    The mayor released a statement saying, "However, the mayor's action does not signal that the city lends legitimacy to the legislation which took the airport away from city control, despite 78 years of successful management and growth."

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