By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Former Tupelo Regional Airport Executive Director Terry Anderson leveled a series of accusations against airport officials Tuesday during a City Council meeting.
Though his request to speak initially was denied by the council president, Anderson finally was allowed five minutes at the podium after a majority of council members voted to suspend the rules.
“I want to thank those of you who felt my voice was important enough to be heard,” said Anderson, who was fired by the Tupelo Airport Authority in December.
The ousted director first complained that current Exectutive Director Josh Abramson forbid an airport employee from talking about TRA business with the public and, specifically, with Anderson. He also said that people doing business with the airport have been discouraged from talking to him or former TAA board member Chuck Moffatt.
Abramson declined to comment, referring all questions to TAA Chairman Bo Gibens.
Gibens also had no comment, citing pending litigation from Anderson against the airport. He also said he didn’t want to get into a “tit for tat” with Anderson in the newspaper.
Anderson continued to allege that the TAA board abuses executive session privileges, some of its members have ethics violations, and that the airport-owned fixed-base operator, Tupelo Aviation, has overcharged for its services.
He also said taxpayers will have wasted $43,000 to repair the airport’s administrative building when that project could have come from a $320,000 multimodal grant. But claimed that airport officials never pursued the grant, which would have covered the administrative building project as well as other facilities improvements.
That grant, he said, required a $3,000 city match.
Finally, Anderson said the authority will hold a public hearing Nov. 9 at the airport about its plans to expand the airport runway. The hearing, he said, has been poorly advertised and should be held at City Hall.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.