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Council: Caudle to replace Stimatz on airport authority

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Billy Caudle

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Elizabeth City City Councilor Billy Caudle will replace former city councilor Tony Stimatz on the Elizabeth City Regional Airport Authority.

City councilors voted unanimously Monday to appoint Caudle to the airport authority. The decision follows a 6-2 vote against reappointing Stimatz to the authority last month. Stimatz's two-year term expires this week.

Councilors gave two reasons for removing Stimatz last month — one of them political.

Councilors Johnnie Walton, Darius Horton and Gabriel Adkins said they couldn't support Stimatz because of his comments and criticisms of other councilors over the years, especially during city elections. Stimatz had particularly sparred with Walton over the years, opposing his bids for election.

However, Councilor Jeannie Young also said she felt a current member of council needed to be on the airport authority, so that council can get regular reports on airport matters.

Mayor Bettie Parker is responsible for making committee appointments, subject to council's approval. Notably, Caudle was not Parker's first choice; council was set to consider appointing Councilor Anita Hummer to the position on June 11, but council took her appointment off the agenda for that meeting.

When Caudle's name came forward Monday, he was approved unanimously.

Walton, who said he opposed Stimatz's appointment last month because of “how I've been treated by him,” said Monday it is “good when you can follow your policy” and appoint a sitting councilor to the position.

Parker explained Tuesday she had initially offered the position to Hummer, but Hummer subsequently withdrew her name from consideration.

Hummer cited a “family matter” for turning down the appointment, Parker said. “I think she's trying to cut back on things,” she said.

Caudle had also expressed interest in the seat, so Parker said she offered it to him and he accepted it.

Hummer could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Caudle said Tuesday he wanted to serve on the airport authority because of its involvement with the U.S. Coast Guard and development of the city's and Pasquotank County's aviation industrial park. The authority plays an important role in economic development, he noted.

Caudle's term on the authority starts July 1 and goes through June 30, 2020. Notably, the term of a city councilor and the term of a councilor's appointment to the airport authority don't align. Councilors' terms end in December of odd-numbered years. That means Caudle or a future appointee could potentially serve on the airport past their term on council.

Asked Tuesday if the airport term should be aligned with councilors’ two-year term, Parker and Caudle said they hadn't considered the matter.

The city's other appointees to the authority are Orestes Gooden and Donald Payne, whose terms expire about a year from now.

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