Mayor fails in attempt to oust Springfield Airport Authority Board Chairman Frank Vala
At the recent Springfield Airport Authority Board Meeting, Mayor Jim Langfelder attempted to oust Chairman Frank Vala. After a passionate speech from Chairman Vala on the success the airport has seen over the last 14 years, the Mayor's attempt failed. Below is the speech Chairman Vala delivered and a recent interview with AM Springfield’s Sam Madonia.
With almost 18 years serving on this board, 14 of those years serving as Chair I want to thank all the past and present board members for their cooperation and involvement in the growth and development of Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport.
When I was appointed, this airport did not even have Abraham Lincoln included in its official name, the only entrance was a dangerous crossover, buildings were in disrepair, and the parking lot full of holes. We never had a workable jet bridge or handicapped bathrooms or a classroom for Lincoln Land School of Aviation and with Susan Shea’s effort we even have directional signs on our state
The upgrades and road improvements along with a solid financial base are accomplishments that we have done with the full cooperation of my fellow board members. We can all hold our heads high. I don’t know of any other government body that can make that claim. I am grateful to Mark Hanna and his staff for all the time and outstanding effort that they have contributed to this effort. Without their dedication, I believe we would not be where we are.
On a personal note, I would like to say that during my term as chair I have not taken any of the monthly stipend offered to the board nor have I charged any storage fee for the Abraham Lincoln statue that will be going on display in the airport.
In conclusion, I want the board to know that the decision to replace me was a political move by the Mayor and I caution you to watch the airport money because Langfelder in 6 years has taken a multi-million dollar reserve and turned it into a large City Government debt and will be looking to see how much Airport money he can get his hands on to cover his mismanagement of city finances.