Airport authority struggling with financial issues
By Cindy Ekas
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013, 6:45 p.m.
Struggling with serious financial issues, the Fayette County Airport Authority decided to move quickly Wednesday evening to hire a new airport manager and to advertise to hire an assistant manager.
In a split decision, the authority voted 3-2 to name John “Bud” Neckerauer as airport manager at an annual salary of $42,000, effective immediately. Neckerauer, who will receive health insurance benefits, is expected to start his new position before the end of the week.
Authority chairman Fred Davis and members Samuel Cortis and Matt Thomas voted to hired Neckerauer, a pilot who owns an airplane and leases hangar space at the Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport in Dunbar Township.
Voting against the hiring were authority members Jesse Wallace and Myrna Giannopoulos.
When asked why she voted against hiring Neckerauer, Giannopoulos said, “I just felt it was the best move I could make.”
Neckerauer, who works for a trucking company, has a CDL (commercial drivers license), one of the qualifications listed recently when the authority advertised the position.
Thomas said Neckerauer has no experience with airport management.
“We feel that Neckerauer will be a good fit for the position because he is on the same page with authority members,” said Thomas, indicating that board members plan to make a fresh start.
The authority plans to advertise for an assistant manager who has experience with data entry, bookkeeping, the Quick Books accounting program and Microsoft Word and Excel.
“We would like to hire someone to fill that position as soon as possible,” said Davis, indicating the authority is struggling to figure out its financial situation.
The authority wants to hire McClure & Wolf, a Uniontown accounting firm, to complete an audit of its financial records to determine its financial state, but the authority owes the firm between $4,600 and $8,200. Authority members said they plan to talk to McClure & Wolf to see if the firm is willing to help.
“We really don't even know how much we owe them right now because we haven't had an airport manager since January,” Davis said. “We need to figure out what's going on with our financial situation.”
The airport recently received a shut-off notice from the North Fayette County Municipal Authority because it owes the water company at least $3,000, according to Davis. An additional $3,000 is owed to West Penn Power Co., and the airport is about $14,000 behind in recent bills it received from Columbia Gas.
“We paid over $9,000 in utility bills, but we still owe a lot more money,” Giannopoulos said.
Davis, Thomas and Cortis said they have no idea how much money the airport has in its bank accounts. Nor did Giannopoulos know.
When asked if authority members believe funding could have been misappropriated, authority members denied any possibility of wrongdoing.
“We don't think any money is missing. We just don't know where the money is right now,” Davis said. “We haven't been able to keep track of our books since our previous airport manager (Mary Lou Fast) resigned.”
After Fast resigned in January, Giannopoulos volunteered to assume the airport manager duties until the authority hired a new airport manager.
“When I volunteered for the office duties, I told you I didn't have any experience with Quick Books,” Giannopoulos said. “I've been doing the best I can do.”
Wallace said he supports Giannopoulos and commended her for helping out the authority in a time of need.
Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Downtown Connellsville had it all in the 1940s and 1950s
- Connellsville native keeps arts alive in area
- West Leisenring band, THE R4 PROJECT, to open for Hawthorne Heights
- Connellsville authority keeps sewage rates same
- Police: Possible suspect uses victim’s credit card
- Fayette budget may soon be approved
- South Connellsville to hold Christmas celebration
- Scottdale woman’s wheelchair donation helps combat her own grief
- Consider giving to Fayette libraries
- Teens of 1940s Connellsville recall a simpler, safer time
- CAHS Patriots to again participate in Wreaths Across America