A handful of citizens reiterated their dissatisfaction with the Kingman Airport Authority (KAA) and upped the ante with harsh criticism of the organization’s leader during the August 16 Kingman City council meeting. Critics addressing the council spoke of ‘’aggressive and intimidating’’ tactics employed by the KAA, and Bill Abbott focused on Executive Director Dave French, likening him to a belligerent bully.
Abbott said French is a smart man who uses a stacked Board of Directors and carefully crafted operating regulations to squash anyone challenging decision making at the airport and industrial park that are managed by the organization.
Mayor Richard Anderson and vice mayor Carole Young intimated that beefs with the KAA should be lodged with its governing board rather than the City. Critics countered that they’ve tried that approach, gotten nowhere and that their efforts in that regard have been met with hostility.
French did not attend the meeting but KAA lawyer Jeff Goldberg said they were under the impression that a controversial lease arrangement would be the focus of council consideration.
“I had no idea this was going to be a gripe session about Dave French,” Goldberg said. “I’m not here to defend Dave French’s bedside manner, but I am here to say that there are things that the airport authority has done right. They’ve been very effective.”
The matter made the agenda captioned as a a presentation by the airport users group.
Kingman Airport Users Associaton member Paul Gaines told the council that the group has an opinion from an independent attorney contradicting Goldberg and City Attorney Carl Cooper’s view that the Council can do little to unravel the lease or unseat the KAA’s executive leadership team.
Neither Gaines nor others identified the attorney or presented the opinion.
Council members Stuart Yocum, Kenneth Dean and Larry Carver indicated great concern with KAA performance. “The airport could be better and we need to do something about it,” said Dean.