Jul 17, 2023 - News

Airport chaos: Original board to meet amid legal battle

Photo: courtesy of Nashville International Airport

The Metro Nashville Airport Authority officially has two dueling boards of directors.

State of play: There's the longstanding board, whose members were appointed by Nashville mayors. That's the board recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration and Mayor John Cooper.

  • Then there's the new six-member board, whose members were appointed by the state's top Republican elected officials. That's the board created by a new state law that took effect July 1.

The latest: The preexisting board will meet Wednesday, according to a public agenda unveiled Monday.

  • The Republican-majority board met earlier this month.

Catch up quick: Control of the airport is tied up in litigation because Cooper's administration sued to block the state law from taking effect. The city argues in its lawsuit that the new law should be thrown out because it illegally singles out Nashville.

  • The city has filed three lawsuits using this same legal premise, that state laws cannot violate the "home rule clause," which protects local governments.

What they're saying: A lawyer for the airport authority wrote a letter to the FAA saying it must abide by the state law appointing the new board, unless a court intervenes.

  • The FAA said last month it does not take a stance on which board should be in control. But until the lawsuit is decided, the FAA says its policy is to recognize the original board.
  • Metro legal director Wally Dietz said earlier this month that bureaucratic chaos was expected.

What we're watching: Two members of the original board, Bobby Joslin and Jimmy Granbery, were appointed by Republican leaders to the new board.

  • The Cooper administration notified Vice Mayor Jim Shulman last week of the two vacancies this created on the old board. That implies Cooper intends to make two appointments to replace those members.

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