Protecting the public by withholding documents
To the Editor:
The Rhode Island Airport Corporation goes through a monthly ritual to "protect the public" by meeting in executive session to discuss most sensitive financial issues. Using state statutes that are designed to protect the early unveiling of property negotiations where the state is trying to buy or sell properties, the Airport Corporation uses that technique to meet monthly to discuss such items as airline agreements under a cloak of secrecy.
Now airport management has taken this practice one step further. They are refusing to release FAA produced documents claiming that the release of these documents would harm the public in some way. Does that make any sense?
The Warwick City Council is moving toward patching up its relationship with the Airport Corporation. Some issues have been settled. But many remain. There will be more hearings, more public meetings. The goal will be to work together.
But as long as the Airport Corporation calls for the protection of the public by withholding obvious public documents such as FAA dispatched findings, the mistrust will continue. This practice as well as the vague calls for secret meetings must stop.
We can work together only through sharing not by throwing up barriers at every turn.
The Airport Corporation will soon be releasing its "Benefit Cost Analysis" for the runway extension, a required FAA document. It will also release its half-year financials that were prepared in early January. The date for the release of that document is March 21, 2012. That is almost three months after the fact.
It will be interesting to see if the holdback of these documents protected the public during the negotiation between the Warwick City Council and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. I doubt it.