City Manager says local ordinances shouldn't affect airport grants

GLADEWATER (KYTX) - An update on controversy in one East Texas town - over the airport board.

Some members of the airport board in Gladewater asked the city council to remove a member because they think he's in violation of a city ordinance.

He has an office at the airport, and they say because of that, he cannot serve on the  board. Some say that could also lead to loss of federal funding, because it's in violation of grant rules.

Pate says TxDOT gets that grant money from the federal government, but he's never heard of a city losing federal or state grants because it violated one of its own city ordinances. And it's unclear whether carpenter's office on the airport grounds is a violation of grant rules.

Airport Board Chairman Alfred Lacy says it could still happen, because a city ordinance forbids anyone to be on the board who has a business that benefits from aviation.

"You can't let one man operate a business at the airport and refuse others," Lacy told the City Council on Thursday.

City council members see it differently, since Carpenter's business is in oil and gas. Councilman J.D. Shipp told Lacy, "I can't see removing him from the board on the fact that he does not have an aviation business."

Today, we took a closer look at the airport hangar that Carpenter leases, and his airplane. Carpenter thinks it's all personal.

"Mr. Lacy doesn't like me," Carpenter told the council.

"No," Lacy retorted.

The two men have history.

In 2008, when Carpenter ran for mayor, Lacy bought an ad in the local newspaper supporting Carpenter's opponent.

It was titled, Concerned Citizens of Gladewater, but the Texas Ethics Commission later fined Lacy $100 on 15 violations of campaign finance law, including trying to hide that he paid for the ad.

Council members say they don't want to violate any laws, so they're asking an attorney to look into the matter, but as the city manager told Lacy Thursday, "The rules that you have here are self-imposed rules."

Pate says he's confident the city is on the right side of the law.


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