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Public to Decide on Airport Panel Double Service : Government: Voters will be asked whether council members should be allowed to serve at the same time on Authority.


BURBANK — The City Council has agreed to put before Burbank voters the question of whether council members should be allowed to serve simultaneously as commissioners on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

The council voted 4 to 1 Tuesday night to place a measure on the ballot in an upcoming election that would amend the City Charter to prohibit such double service.

No decision was made as to when the election would be held.

"It is morally wrong to be elected to one office and then appoint yourself to another," said Councilman Bob Kramer, who proposed the amendment.

Councilman Bill Wiggins, the sole vote against the motion, called the amendment unnecessary.

"I want the right person for the job," Wiggins told his colleagues before the vote. "And if that person happens to be on the City Council, then I don't have a problem with that."

The charter amendment would not affect the Joint Powers Agreement under which the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena own the airport, nor would it affect airport commissioners from Glendale and Pasadena.

Since the inception of the Airport Authority in 1977, five Burbank council members have simultaneously served as airport commissioners, which critics said created a conflict of interest.

"It is a major mistake to put anyone in the position of having to decide what hat they are wearing at any given time," Councilman Ted McConkey said. "Frequently they don't even know what role they are playing when making a decision."

Although the Burbank City Council has no direct power over the Airport Authority's actions, it may dismiss the city's three airport commissioners at any time and appoint new representatives in their places, giving the council effective control.

A report by the city attorney suggested that a simple ordinance could prohibit council members from also serving on the airport commission, but could be repealed after the council membership changes. To give the restriction more permanence, the City Charter would have to be amended, the report said.


And in yet another example of the growing strain between the Airport Authority and the Burbank City Council, Margie Gee--one of Burbank's three representatives on the airport commission--told council members that minutes of the past three airport authority meetings have been routinely doctored.

"The Airport Authority correct or misrepresent things that take place during the meeting," Gee told the council. "As the secretary [of the Authority] I will not sign those minutes that misrepresent what actually happens at the meetings."

Airport Authority President Carl Raggio Jr. called Gee's accusations unfounded, adding that minutes of the meetings are required to reflect what actions are taken but the law does not require them to report everything discussed at a meeting.

"If she wants a verbatim record of what was said, there are audio and visual recordings of the meetings," Raggio said.

This isn't the first time that Gee, a longtime crusader against airport noise, has claimed that minutes have been doctored. "She was doing the same thing 10 years ago when she was on the Airport Authority," Raggio said.

Gee also said Burbank representatives were not notified that commissioners from Glendale and Pasadena would be absent from Tuesday's Airport Authority meeting, which had to be cut short because of lack of quorum.

Raggio said Burbank representatives were notified two weeks ago that other commissioners were either on vacation or unable to attend because of medical problems.

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