City taps pilot for airport board

By Tom Joyce

The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners has tapped a local pilot to serve on the governing board for the airport, replacing a member who initially had expressed interest in being reappointed to the group but later backed away.

This move by city officials naming Nolan Kirkman to the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport Authority occurred Thursday night in the wake of a shakeup of that group last month by the Surry County Board of Commissioners.

The five county commissioners appointed themselves to vacancies of the same number on the seven-member airport board, after three authority members had been prompted to sign letters of resignation and two others were informed they wouldn’t be reappointed. This move was taken in order for county officials to have direct financial and other oversight regarding airport group operations.

Although the county commissioners have wielded control over that board and been the larger airport funder in comparison to Mount Airy, the city has maintained two appointees to the group on the heels of the shakeup.

When the city commissioners met Thursday night, one of their items of business involved the reappointment of Greg Perkins to the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport Authority. The matter was on the commissioners’ consent agenda, composed of routine items that are approved in a blanket vote.

However, at the start of the meeting, Mayor David Rowe asked that the airport board appointment be moved to the regular agenda and open for discussion.

Perkins, who is associated with Perkins & Associates Insurance Specialists in Mount Airy and joined the airport group in 2010, had expressed interest in being approved for a new two-year term to expire on Dec. 31, 2018.

However, Perkins later sent a letter to Mayor Rowe indicating otherwise.

The mayor explained that Perkins, who is not a pilot, recognized the value of having someone with such credentials to represent the city in the management of the airport located in the Holly Springs community.

“I think Greg could see that they needed someone that had aviation experience,” Rowe said.

He said that is the case with the other city appointee to the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport Authority, Dr. Tom Jackson, a local dentist and pilot.

Perkins’ departure from the airport board paved the way for the appointment of Kirkman, who is a former member of that group along with being a pilot.

Mayor Rowe said Friday that the city’s involvement with the airport board has been positive since last month’s takeover by county officials, who he said “did what they thought they had to do.”

He added: “I think the county board and our city appointees will work well together.”

The airport relationship between the city and county is “not adversarial,” the mayor emphasized. “We’re glad to have a seat at the table.”

Perkins, who is heavily involved in community service, could not be reached Friday for comment.

By Tom Joyce

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