Lewiston Airport's Interim Manager
by Elaine Williams
Clarence W. 'Bill' McKown says he is still in 'discovery mode' at troubled transportation hub
The interim manager of the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport has pledged to stay at the transportation center as long as it takes to get it back on track.
Clarence W. "Bill" McKown Jr. spoke Wednesday during his first airport authority board meeting since arriving March 11.
He told the board he would like to help restore some of the flights that were lost when Alaska Airlines subsidiary Horizon Air withdrew its commercial passenger flights to Boise and Seattle. The only remaining airline in Lewiston is SkyWest, which flies to Salt Lake City.
But he expects getting that done will take him longer than the initial time in his employment agreement, which runs through the end of May, especially because he is sorting through other issues the airport faces. Among them are a lengthy list of maintenance projects the Federal Aviation Administration wants completed on the airport's two runways and the taxiways that link them to the terminal.
"I'm pretty deep in discovery mode," McKown said.
McKown is a former U.S. Navy pilot and commanding officer who turned his attention to airport administration after he left the military. He has gained a reputation for turning around troubled airports.
The board appears ready to work with McKown and hold off on searching for someone to fill the manager job permanently.
"I think we are still in fixing mode," board member Gary Peters said. "We need to cross some things off that list before we can put that (permanent) job out there."
In other business, the board discussed filling a board position vacated by Chris Clemens, who had served as volunteer interim airport manager from December until mid-March.
The board expects to name finalists for Clemens' former seat before its next meeting April 17. But members didn't decide how they would accept applications or set a deadline for people to submit their names.
"It's always (the) intention to have the full board so we have a tiebreaker if we need one," board Chairman Jim Bennett said.
The board's composition is intended to balance the interests of the city of Lewiston and Nez Perce County, which own the airport.
The city council and county commission each appoint two members. Those four individuals select the fifth member.
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