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Was airport ever in danger of being decertified? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 January 2018 10:43


FAA investigating possible fraudulent report from Liberal



EARL WATT
• Leader & Times




A misunderstanding of the Federal Aviation Administration’s interaction with the City of Liberal after Debbie Giskie was terminated by then City Manager Mark Hall may have led City Commissioner Jack Carlile to believe the airport would be decertified and that SkyWest may not come to Liberal.

But Elizabeth Cory, External Public Affairs representative for the FAA, stated that no such decertification was ever discussed.

“Once the airport manager was fired, the FAA asked the City for the name of the new manager, so we could start working with him or her,” Cory said. “We did state the incoming airline will want a manager in place who would be familiar with their procedures.”

Giskie was reinstated Jan. 9 by Interim City Manager Cal Burke who stated that he was told by Carlile that Giskie had to be reinstated or “we would lose the airport and SkyWest,” and he thanked Carlile for working with the FAA to get an extension since he said the FAA told Carlile they were going to decertify on Jan. 5.

But Cory said no such communication existed.

“There was never any discussion of ‘decertifying’ the airport or losing an air carrier, and therefore, no communications on those topics exist,” she said.

Cory added that FAA investigators are currently reviewing a possible falsified report, and that the investigation is ongoing.

According to a certified letter sent to the City of Liberal Jan. 3, before the new commission was sworn in, FAA Airport Certification Safety Inspector John Fotiadis stated, “Employees with the City of Liberal reported they did not receive the annual wildlife hazard management training that was required by March 2017. The City of Liberal investigated the issue and has reported that they found training records documenting that wildlife hazard management training was completed March 30, 2017, which appears to be a falsified record of wildlife hazard management training being conducted.”

Fotiadis also stated the Liberal Fire Department did not receive revised copies of the Airport Emergency Plan in 2015 or 2017, which is another violation of federal regulations.

“ ... our investigators are meeting with various airport officials on a one-to-one basis to discuss those allegations,” Cory stated. “Because the investigation is open, the public would not be invited.”

There was also no resolution presented to the ongoing issue of revenues from the land sold to Walmart and the funds not being deposited in the Airport Land Use Fund as required by the deed agreement between the FAA and the City of Liberal.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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