Airport Issue About to Fire Up Again

Panama City commissioners will appoint a replacement for outgoing Panama City-Bay County Airport Board member Dr. James Campbell.

Five Panama City men, including former Mayor Gerry Clemons, are up for the position. Three are pilots, another is a local businessman, and then there’s Gerry Clemons. They all want the appointment to serve on the airport board, which will have a major impact on the future location of the airport.

Pilots Gregory Bruce, Joe Trantham and John Rex all have thrown their hats into the race. Rex is an airport relocation opponent, Bruce and Thantham have not taken a stance either way. Former Panama City Commission candidate John Salak is also seeking the appointment, and he also has not taken a stand on relocation.

Probably the most surprising announcement was that recently defeated Mayor Gerry Clemons was interested in getting the post. City Commissioner Bob Barnard says Clemons is obviously well qualified and would do a fine job.

But some say Clemons would be the wrong fit to represent Panama City on the airport board.

One of those is John Hedrick, an airport relocation opponent.

“Obviously this is the wrong direction because mayor Clemons favors airport relocation and the residents voted against it last year by a three to two margin. Plus, we just had a city election and the airport was one, if not the major issue and Clemons lost.”

A decision on the airport appointment may come as early as Tuesday night.