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The Scoop - Airport can't land a break
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I guess you could say they are experiencing turbulence at Warren County Memorial Airport.

This is not what I would call "unexpected turbulence" as pilots like to announce over the intercom during a flight because there have been problems at our airport for as long as I can remember. By now, the turbulence seems expected.

Questions about our airport have never been more up in the air than they are now after our most recent airport manager lasted about eight months before resigning.

He followed a pair of airport managers who left employment after taking off with airport money.

Fortunately, this isn't baseball so we're not out after three strikes and the airport can continue normal operations. But normal operations in recent years have included airport managers stealing and jaunting off to Florida for a vacation, I mean a convention, at the expense of Warren County taxpayers.

One of the many neat things about being a newspaper reporter is I receive regular emails from the Tennessee Comptroller's Office. This office is tasked with the responsibility of conducting audits and investigating fraud throughout the state so it stays extremely busy.

Any time a school bookkeeper or a water department manager makes off with public funds, I get an email about it. The latest email was Monday about the town of Mason in Tipton County. Finances have been mismanaged for so long in Mason, the state may take over the town.

"If the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen chooses not to relinquish its charter, the Comptroller’s Office is prepared to take over the town’s finances," wrote Comptroller Jason Mumpower in a letter to the citizens of Mason.

Maybe we'd be better off if the state came in and took over the finances of Warren County Memorial Airport. The last three managers have clearly not done things right.

First and foremost, there has to be direct oversight anytime money is involved. When one person handles money without immediate supervision, it always spells trouble and that's a message the Comptroller's Office continually hammers home in email after email.

Warren County Finance Department director Justin Cotten realizes this fact and mentioned it during a meeting Monday night. Said Cotten, "There have got to be two people there handling that money. There cannot be one person watching the money and expect it to just stay there all the time. It is too much of a low-hanging fruit.”

This has been brought to the attention of airport officials in the past. Yet like a scene from the movie "Groundhog Day," it keeps happening over and over again.

Here's hoping the airport can experience a smooth landing as officials work through these long-lasting issues. To paraphrase Thomas Edison, airport officials have not failed. They have simply discovered many ways which do not work.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.