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Raines asks S’side Council members to take closer look at airport operations

The Sunnyside City Council approved the re-appointments of Ted Durfey and Alan Van Beek to the Sunnyside Municipal Airport Advisory Board at Tuesday night’s meeting, but not before Councilman Jason Raines pulled the item from the consent agenda to note that the appointments are completely legal.

Raines said from the outset that he had no objection to either appointment, but said that council should consider people who are appointed on boards and committees. He noted that one of the individuals being appointed has contracts with the city, including operations at the airport.

Raines said that he understands that the individual does stand down when there are issues discussed that might pose an ethical conflict.

But Raines also said he had received a complaint from the public about the appointment, which led to him doing some research into the topic.

Raines stated that although it may appear to be a problem, the appointment is completely legal by state law because the advisory board is not making any decisions.

Raines then noted that although the city has rules about ethics in the municipal code, those rules only apply to city staff and not to people serving on boards and commissions.

“I just throw that out there for consideration,” he said. “We may want to consider creating some kind of ethics rules.”

Mayor Jim Restucci noted that boards are allowed to create their own ethics rules that must be approved by the city council.

Restucci also said the individual in question, Durfey, fulfills the membership requirements of the advisory board, which needs a member who is knowledgeable in airport operations and maintenance.

Raines said that the city has been “sloppy and derelict” in managing the airport. He pointed out that many people did not have contracts for many years.

“I think we just need to be a little more vigilant about some areas of operation,” he said.

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