Charlotte airport committee chair ousted - WNCN: News, Weather

Charlotte airport committee chair ousted

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

A day after his ouster by Charlotte's mayor, the former chairman of a panel studying the future of the city's airport says he was honored to serve on the committee.
    
But Shawn Dorsch on Wednesday would not answer any questions about problems that led to his removal.
    
"I'm sure the mayor was in a difficult position, and I look forward to helping the community in any way I can," he said.
    
It's the latest twist in the city's battle with state legislators to control Charlotte Douglas International Airport - the nation's sixth-busiest.
    
The state Senate has approved legislation shifting power to run the airport to a regional authority. The legislation is pending in the House.
    
Mayor Anthony Foxx and the city council oppose the move and created the Charlotte Airport Advisory Committee to study the issue. The panel is expected to complete its report soon, and the House said it wouldn't act on it until then.
    
Foxx on Tuesday removed Dorsch, accusing him of undermining the panel's integrity after reports that Dorsch lobbied leaders in neighboring counties to support the change.
    
"For weeks, it has been my judgment that you represent a vocal, largely invisible minority supportive of changing our airport governance model," Foxx said. "This action is not taken to punish you for your views. I take this action to uphold the integrity of the (airport advisory committee) and the role committees play in our system, which is to advise the City Council."
    
He said Dorsch avoided answering direct questions about his lobbying.
    
Many on city council have slammed Dorsch. At a meeting earlier this week, Councilman Andy Dulin told Dorsch: "You are one slick fellow, and I don't trust you."
    
Gov. Pat McCrory is a former Charlotte mayor but wouldn't have the chance to sign or veto the bill because it's considered a local issue. He's asked fellow Republicans to slow down the process.
    
But McCrory did not say that he was opposed to the idea.
    
He has said the dispute on control of the airport appears to a disagreement between city leaders and business leaders. He says the two sides need to get together and come up with the best long-term solution to the disagreement.
 

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