Speaker 1: 00:00:00 We call the transportation meeting to order and this is an informational meeting. There will not be any votes taken for any legislative business for of the board [inaudible 00:00:12]. So we have present Alderwoman Carol Howard and Alderwoman Lisa Middlebrook. We also have an audience and if they choose to sit at the table, Alderwoman Green and Alderwoman Ingrassia.
Speaker 2: 00:00:34 Thank you.
Speaker 1: 00:00:40 The purpose of the meeting today is to make sure that the transportation committee is in good understanding of process and procedure. We know that there are a number of activities that are taking place that concern the airport and this committee should be as aware as possible when we’re voting and making decisions on behalf of our citizens. So today, we’ll have a presentation from FAA representatives and also have a tour of the airport and also have an opportunity to listen to employee representatives from the various unions that are operating here at the airport. So what I’d like to do first is welcome our guests and you choose who goes first. Introduce yourself and go right ahead with your presentation.
John Speckin: 00:01:36 Okay, so my name is John Speckin and I’m the Deputy Regional Administrator of the central region which has the central states of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. This is Rodney [inaudible 00:01:48]. He’s the Deputy Director of our airport solution. And so as I understand it from conversations with Rhonda, it was … like you stated an informational, educational type meeting. Instead of doing it just by PowerPoint, I thought I wanted-
Speaker 1: 00:01:36 Thank you. (laughter)
John Speckin: 00:02:04 Yes. We’d start off with kind of an explanation of what the FAA’s role is. Rodney will talk about what the interaction with the airport’s division with Rodney’s team. And I’ll talk about the rest of the FAA agents if that’s okay. And then I would love a conversation. If you have questions, please go. So, let’s start off with people, what people see. They see the control tower, right? When you drive into Lambert and you see the control tower … by the way if you ever want a tour, we can make that happen very easy, very easy.
John Speckin: 00:02:33 So the role of the FAA at Lambert that every other commercial airport is the safe movement of aircraft on the surface of the airport and in the skies above the airport. That is our role. So we provide the infrastructure that ensures that … part of the infrastructure, I should say, that ensures that safe movement. So if you think about if you’re boarding a plane at Lambert today and you actually back out of the gate, when you cross over a certain line out there on the airport, you go into the movement area.
John Speckin: 00:03:06 So, the FAA owns nothing on the surface. Okay, we don’t … that’s all the airport’s. We don’t maintain anything on the surface. But once it gets past into the movement area, is when air traffic control takes over and starts safely moves those aircraft to where they’re going to go for takeoff. And they ensure the separation of those aircraft on the ground and also the ones that are landing in the sky. And we do that in a number of ways. We have communication facilities all throughout. And in this area on Lambert we have two or three communication facilities. We have a ground radar that you see spinning on top of the tower. We also have an inner radar that’s actually located over by the new runway in [inaudible 00:03:46].
John Speckin: 00:03:48 With that information they have kind of this situational awareness of everything going on within the sky and on the ground. So that’s when they can actually make that determination that it’s clear to depart or that it’s safe for you to land. So the controllers are talking with that and so we have on-staff FAA controllers and we actually own the control tower, we maintain the control tower, we own the radar systems, we maintain the radar systems, we own the instrument landing systems, the approach systems, and the approach lighting systems, the communication facilities. But that’s really kind of where we stop with our ownership [inaudible 00:04:25].
John Speckin: 00:04:25 It’s all about what we need to actually talk to the aircraft and to the pilots to ensure that safe operation. We have a close partnership with the operation of the controllers with the airport and through things called Letters of Agreement, that actually outlined everything how … if there’s an emergency situation, so they have a Letter of Agreement, how they do things. If there’s an accident, there’s a crash, what happens. The have Letters of Agreement how they do snow removal, how they coordinate those things with air traffic. But it’s not our airport and that’s a big thing. We don’t, we won’t close a runway, we don’t open a runway, we don’t close the airport. That is … we just pass on the information. Now, if there’s something on the runway, we won’t let an aircraft take off because it’s not safe to do so, but that’s not our piece of pavement to maintain or anything. So we move traffic around.
John Speckin: 00:05:20 Then we also have, with the air traffic, we have maintenance technicians and we have a few people that go around and maintain all that equipment. So the FAA, throughout the national airspace system, we actually own 60,000 pieces of equipment that we own and maintain that make up the national airspace system. And then at Lambert of course we have quite a few things, everything from a small piece of equipment that tells a plane how far they are away to something that’s detailed that we have what they call Category Three Landings here on the aircraft where the pilot can’t see anything. He’s relying 100% on his equipment. He’s properly trained, properly equipped on that aircraft. We have the equipment there and they can land that aircraft in zero visibility. And that’s part of what we do is we have the checks and balances and the redundancies and they have the training of the pilot and things of that nature.
John Speckin: 00:06:13 So it’s kind of what the air traffic organization does. We have another organization called Flight Standards. They’re the ones that regulate the airlines and regulate the pilots and so that’s part of aviation safety. So the aviation safety side ensure that the pilots are properly trained for the aircraft that they’re actually operating. So, you know, like a pilot … I can’t be a 737 pilot and go jump in an Airbus 319 flight. I have to be properly trained. We ensure that the training they receive, if they pass that training, that they actually are able to do it. So we set those standards. We also make sure that the pilots are appropriate … medically fit to fly, right. So they actually, a commercial pilot has to go through an annual checkup to make sure they’re physically fit and we partner with aerospace medical examiners all across the nation where a pilot can go in and get the exam. And we actually verify that, that this pilot has actually … we have regional flight searches that actually verify that this pilot is safe to actually fly based on medical conditions. And aerospace medicine is different than your medicine and your doctor. It’s a whole specialized field where the FAA is the leading expert on that. We have a research and development office down in Oklahoma City called [inaudible 00:07:32] where they establish those standards and what it takes to be a pilot and it’s a Class 1 pilot for the [inaudible 00:07:40].
John Speckin: 00:07:43 Then we also make sure that the aircraft that are actually there, that the airlines have the proper maintenance program. Imagine something breaks in your house and you need to place a new bolt, right, at your house something comes loose and you need to put a new bolt in. Well, on an aircraft it has to be a certain type of bolt that you told the FAA I’m going to put this bolt in this instance and it meets this specific requirement and you have to tell us where you bought the bolt, when you bought the bolt, and when you installed the bolt, and it’s got to be installed by someone that’s specifically trained to install that.
John Speckin: 00:08:20 So it’s a very regulated field. And the way we do that is part of the training and if you think about the safety that we have in commercial aviation, you know, the unfortunate incident that we had with Southwest back in April where we had a fatality, that was our first fatality in commercial operations since 2009 in the United States. So we have moved the United States population about 18 times before any commercial fatality. So what it is is the safety … the only acceptable standard for aviation is zero fatalities. That’s it. That’s our standard and it’s a heck of a standard to live up to, but we do that with partnerships with Rhonda and her team here, with the airlines, with air traffic, with our maintenance folks. And if you think about Swiss cheese, and within safety, we talked about we have all these different layers that we build on and everything … not everything can be 100%, right. There’s always some miss but you try to lay layer, after layer, after layer so the holes in that Swiss cheese never line up where you actually have a fatality. You can have incidents, you can have planes roll off the runway, you can have … even the tragedy with Southwest is one of the things that we should think of is that there’s 146 people that walked away.
Speaker 1: 00:09:42 That’s true.
John Speckin: 00:09:43 Right? And that was because of the way the aircraft was designed. The pilot’s training took over. The mast fell out the way they were supposed to. You know, you had flight attendants giving people … all that came into play and 146 people walked away, which, some of us that are grayer in the hair like me can remember when there was a major accident one or two times a year. And we’ve evolved a long way from that but that’s how we’ve got to keep evolving. And we establish the safety record and the safety standard, it’s something … that’s who we are. It’s ingrained in what the FAA does so no matter what anyone talks about with the new things in drones, with the new things on any type of aviation, evolution [inaudible 00:10:34], it all starts with safety because that won’t be compromised. And then we go from there. How do we actually make it happen and make it safe.
John Speckin: 00:10:42 So before I turn it over to Rodney and actually explain what the airport does with Rodney and his team, any questions on that? I went through a whole lot.
Speaker 1: 00:10:51 I have some but I’m going to start here with Alderwoman Howard.
Carol Howard: 00:10:56 Okay, now you’re associated with the federal government.
John Speckin: 00:11:00 Yes.
Carol Howard: 00:11:01 How do you ensure that this … all the layers in the Swiss cheese align and internationally? I mean how are-
John Speckin: 00:11:10 We have the same type of … through ICAO, what is it, the International Civil Aviation Organization. So we have … FAA has a partnership with ICAO and they establish the safe standards internationally. So what it is, when our flag carriers, the United States carriers, fly over there, they’re flying under the same rules, but in the United States, the FAA has been for the world, the gold standard on safety. And if you look at the safety record of the FAA, you can see that. Some of the accidents that happened just-
Carol Howard: 00:11:10 International.
John Speckin: 00:11:45 Right. Just like when internationally they decided well they need to have two people in the cockpit all the time, you know because of what happened with that flight going into the Alps, well, we already had that in place. We already required that so that you couldn’t have a situation like that. So we’ve already … so that’s how you ensure that is through these partnerships to ensure that it’s safe overseas. The other thing it is, so like when you talk about aircraft manufacturers, because you have Airbus manufacturing aircraft, you have Brazil, there is aircraft manufacturing in Brazil, we actually go over there and certify their aircraft to FAA standards. So you can’t-
Carol Howard: 00:12:24 Before Southwest or any airline can purchase an airplane to put on or in the air.
John Speckin: 00:12:29 It has to be our stamp. It has to be the FAA standard.
Carol Howard: 00:12:31 It has to be the FAA standard.
John Speckin: 00:12:32 If it doesn’t meet FAA standards, it doesn’t fly in our airspace.
Carol Howard: 00:12:38 How many employees are there?
John Speckin: 00:12:38 48,000
Carol Howard: 00:12:40 Throughout the United States?
John Speckin: 00:12:41 We are. 48,000-
Carol Howard: 00:12:42 How many in the area in here?
John Speckin: 00:12:44 That’s a great question. I am going to swag in it. (laughter) So it’s probably between here and Atlanta-
Carol Howard: 00:12:50 I’m not going to go count them. (laughter)
John Speckin: 00:12:51 Okay, so we actually have offices, obviously here at Lambert, and in our approach control facility, which is actually … so this control tower controls about a four mile radius around the airport. And then once it goes from there, it goes to an approach control facility over in Weldon Springs in Missouri Research Park, if you’re familiar with that. And so we have that facility and we have other facilities down in Spirit of Saint Louis, we control that tower down there. So between all of them we probably have a couple hundred. But like I said, about 30,000 of those employees actually make up the air traffic organization. They’re the ones that own, operate, and maintain the national [inaudible 00:13:30] 24/7. The FAA is the only federal agency that actually owns something that operates 24/7 that the general public uses. If you think about what the rest of government agencies that regulate, they provide grants, they do this. We actually own and operate the national air system. And the reason we do that is because you can’t have a set of rules for aviation in Missouri, and a set of rules in Illinois, because how do you fly, right. So, when they were creating the FAA, they realized okay, it’s a national air space. Once you get above the blade of grass, that airspace is controlled by the FAA by the federal government.
Speaker 3: 00:14:08 You should mention [inaudible 00:14:09]
John Speckin: 00:14:09 Yeah, we’re based out of the Kansas City Harbor Region. There’s nine regional offices.
Carol Howard: 00:14:12 How long did [inaudible 00:14:15]?
John Speckin: 00:14:15 So the simple, starting with the Civil Aviation Authority, that stared in the 50’s-
Rodney: 00:14:21 Eisenhower.
John Speckin: 00:14:22 Yeah, Eisenhower timeframe and then it evolved into the FAA. We just passed, I think it’s about five years ago.
Carol Howard: 00:14:30 And then do you control TSA?
John Speckin: 00:14:32 No. So part of what came out of September 11th … so airport security used to be part of FAA and then after September 11th, what happened was it was not our core business. Our core business is aviation safety, ensuring safe operations. So it made more sense for it to become a part of Homeland Security. So Homeland Security is part of TSA.
Carol Howard: 00:14:32 Okay.
John Speckin: 00:15:00 Or TSA is part of Homeland Security. ( laughter)
Speaker 1: 00:15:00 Alderwoman Middlebrook?
Lisa Middlebroo: 00:15:01 No.
Speaker 1: 00:15:02 Our vice chair is going to catch his breath and have a seat. We’ll come back to him for questions. Alderwoman Ingrassia?
Ingrassia: 00:15:02 No questions. Thank you.
Speaker 1: 00:15:20 Alderwoman Green?
Green: 00:15:23 No questions.
Speaker 1: 00:15:33 Alright. We’ve had the first part of our briefing from the FAA explaining the ownership and operation of the airspace, operations here for all airports and ours of course. Our vice chair, did you have any questions at the moment?
Vice Chair: 00:15:49 No questions. Thank you.
Speaker 1: 00:15:50 Then we’ll catch up later on. So let’s move onto our next.
Rodney: 00:15:56 Moving from the big part of the FAA, to the little part of the FAA (laughter), the airports division, we’re a very small part of the FAA but we’re one of the core business models. We’re about 550 people nationwide so we are very small compared to the 48,000. The fun part is we get to play with the money. Congress rolls out a program for federal grants called the airport improvement program. It’s currently funded about 3.3 billion a year, somewhere in that ballpark. And that money goes to airports to help with development and projects.
Rodney: 00:16:29 Our mission is we’re world leaders in creating safe and efficient systems at airports. We don’t deal with the flying piece as much. We deal with parts on the ground and in the airport itself. We develop the guidance and the policies on airport planning, design, construction, and environmental analysis as you would do with any new project you would build here at your airport. As I mentioned, we’re a staff of about 550, three billion dollars, we get, you know … I think yesterday Jim was out, my boss was out and I got to sign off on about 20 million dollars worth of checks. Don’t tell my kids that. But it’s good to put the money out.
Rodney: 00:17:05 Here at the central region, we see the four states and I put the map on the back so you can see where we’re at. We have a staff of 28 in Kansas City. Mostly engineers and planners. We also have environmental specialist, we have an airspace specialist, and I’ll explain that a little later. We do land and another big piece is compliance. When you own an airplane, you accept money from Uncle Sam and a lot of strings come attached, we have string holders. And then another piece you may be familiar with or hear a lot about is what’s called Part 139. If you have commercial service activities at your airport, there’s a lot of inspections and regulations that go with that to make sure that that’s a safe operation.
Speaker 1: 00:17:46 So are we were talking about FedEx and all the people like that. Or are we talking about-
Rodney: 00:17:50 FedEx falls under 121. 139 is commercial people, moving people.
John Speckin: 00:17:58 It’s the airport itself.
Speaker 1: 00:17:59 The airport itself. Okay.
Rodney: 00:18:03 In Missouri, just to let you know, Missouri is what’s called a Block Grant. So the small airports in Missouri are actually administered by MODAT. They accept a large grant from us and then they dole that out through a program called Block Grant. The large airports, or the primary airports, you’re included. There’s five of those in Missouri that we administer directly from the FAA in Kansas City. So your grant will come from us versus if you go down to Chesterfield, they will go through the state of Missouri through the Block Grant. So it’s a little bit of a different break up. There’s currently, I think it’s states that have that set up. Congress looks like they’re poised to do more. I think the next legislation is going to up that number quite a bit so we’ll see at least another 10 or so probably coming up.
Rodney: 00:18:48 As I was kind of alluding to, one of the major functions of our line of business is the airport improvement program. That those develop everything from planning to the construction and then the operations side. AIP, basically, they are part of your program gives grants to airport sponsors. Rhonda likes to give you one every so often. (laughter) But we fund projects here in the airport. I’ve have a list I’ll run you through here. That program is funded through the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, if you’re familiar with that. It’s basically the ticket taxes and the [inaudible 00:19:21] fees, they collect nationally and they get redistributed through a system out to the airports. Because of that redistribution, the money takes on different looks and I’ll explain that in a little bit.
Rodney: 00:19:32 But if you think about it, basically the users are funding the aeronautical system. That’s the idea behind it. The criteria to get the money is you must be what’s known as a NPIAS and I actually pulled this first diagram is from NPIAS. That’s the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. The concept is that you should never have to drive further than a certain distance, or a certain amount of time, to be able to get into the aviation systems. We have a plan of airports across the country where you can make that connection with a fairly short jog. That’s not just flying, but also if you own a plan and you wanted to fly your plane, that’s part of that system. So you can see there’s a lot of airports across the country. If you turn to the Missouri map, you can see there’s a lot less NPIAS in Missouri. Part of the reason there are more airports then, there’s 14,000 something airports [inaudible 00:20:23]. The reason being is that distance and time, we don’t need an airport everywhere. We need it in certain locations.
Rodney: 00:20:32 In Missouri, you can see the small and medium hubs. We only have medium hubs and I’ll try to explain that in a little bit. Saint Louis, Kansas City are your medium hub airports. I think you’re slightly larger than Kansas City at the moment. Trying to stay there.
Rodney: 00:20:46 The NPIAS is updated every two years. Part of NPIAS, the airports will say, here’s what we think we need to develop over the next five years and we have a longer term and we start looking at those needs. They typically run about 30 billion dollars a year that the airport will submit to the FAA, say here’s projects we want to do. Keep in mind that we have three billion in funds so there’s a waiting line for money. We don’t get to it all.
Rodney: 00:21:15 Another part of that is that the airport must have a ALP or an Airport Layout Plan. That establishes boundaries of the airport, it tells us what you own, and what’s existing. It also tells us what you’re trying to do with the airport so we try to coordinate all of the activity. For example, if the airport wanted to do a fourth, or fifth, or sixth runway, that would have to be on the ALP before we start considering it. Some of the advantage to that is that we can coordinate with the air traffic, flight standards, and everybody else and they can start doing their part of the work to make sure that if something comes to mind, that everything is seamless and it all works. A good example might be if you added another runway, the tower might not be in the right position to see the use of that runway. So part of the plan would be you would have to look at where else the tower could go, and when the tower comes in, all the pieces to that, the plumbing, the electrical, all have to start working together.
Rodney: 00:22:12 Another piece that we have is environmental. All the NEPA requirements, they have to go through our office because we’re taking federal action when you modify the ALP, that’s a federal action so the project needs to go through environmental. You may be familiar, you’re doing a fuel system now, that’s in it’s environmental stages so that’s important. The airports in the NPIAS, if you look at the front page, there’s 3,333 airports in here. As you can imagine, they’re not all great big airports. There’s 383 of them that are what we call primary. Basically they have a commercial service. Only 30 of those have the top 1% of all the traffic. The cutoff now is about nine million, the airport at the bottom of this is usually nine million passengers a year. Saint Louis is hovering just below that so you’re almost into that 1%.
Speaker 3: 00:23:07 That’s enplanements.
Rodney: 00:23:09 Enplanements, how many people get on a plane and fly.
Speaker 1: 00:23:10 Okay.
Rodney: 00:23:13 There’s 31 medium hub airports, 72 small, and then there’s 240 non-hub so they’re much smaller. All of those are inspected and watched over by the FAA through our 139 program. That would be everything from we look at the markings on the runway, we look at the edge of the pavement if there’s a drop off, we look at signs, we look at the lights. All the things you can think of that need to be standard so if you flew from airport A to airport B, you want to see the same thing and that would be the guidance that you have as a pilot. When you go out on the airfield, pay attention, try to orientate yourself. You’ll find that it’s very confusing if you haven’t been out there because it’s a big sea of everything and it’s even worse at night. So one of the things … the navigational system that the pilots use, the lights and signs help them figure out, we monitor those through the program.
Rodney: 00:24:04 Getting back to the money a little bit, the primary airports, when we put that tag on there, that means you have 10,000 people a year or more go through your airport. And as I mentioned, there’s only 380 airports that meet that status. Right. And then there’s 2,000 some that get less than 10,000. The reason that’s important is that money comes back to where the traffic is at. So 10, 000 and above, you earn what’s called entitlement money. It means it’s your money so to speak to fund projects that you’re working towards with restrictions that they put on how you fund projects.
Rodney: 00:24:43 Saint Louis is currently running about 2.5 million a year, somewhere in that ballpark and it comes back to the airport every year for you to spend. We do have priorities on those. For example, if your runway was falling apart and you wanted to build a parking lot, we would say no, the runway is your priority. So we have a pecking order of projects that they must go to. The small airports, in case you’re interested, Congress did provide them with an entitlement fund. They can earn up to $150,000 a year, so it’s nowhere near the magnitude of the larger airports and what they can get.
Rodney: 00:25:15 The other piece of the money is what’s called discretionary. Congress likes discretionary because they get to hand it out, or they get to announce that it’s going out to wherever they put it. That number runs somewhere around 70 million a year and the nice part is that if you have a project bigger than your entitlement, you can ask for discretionary money to get the project going through. Recently, we have about 80 million. Saint Louis in the last 10 years or so has been averaging about eight million of that, so about 10% of our available money. It used to be much larger. Back in the day when you were doing your expansion project and you had a lot of noise, projects going on, you were running 40-50 million a year. So we were really pulling some bigger money back in the day.
Rodney: 00:25:59 A little bit more about Saint Louis. Just so you know, since 1982 is when the AIP program, we had other funding through FAAP and another one before that. Since ’82, there’s been 703 million dollars roughly given, or collected by the city of Saint Louis for the airport here. In the last 20 years, it’s about 480-490 million, somewhere in that ballpark. And then to kind of give you a feel for what’s going on the last 10 years, that’s down to 132 million. So the numbers have decreased a little bit and some of that is just the volume of traffic, a little less, less projects going on. But still, in that 8-10 million a year. To give you an idea, I categorized some of the 700 million, just so you know. For example, on runway projects in that, what, 36 years or so, about 257 million toward a runway, about 244 million toward a noise problem, probably buying a house, insulating a church-
Speaker 1: 00:26:59 Bridgeton.
Rodney: 00:27:00 Bridgeton. It wasn’t all just buying it. The airport did a lot of land improvements around the airport to make noise less of an issue for whatever the [inaudible 00:27:10] is. So a quarter billion dollars just in noise. About 105 million in taxi projects, about 73 million in aprons, one that surprised me was about 22 million in security. That would be inside the building, cameras, fences, all of the things you can think of for security that are not TSA. We do not fund TSA. We’re very proud of the fact that we come [inaudible 00:27:37]. Approaches, here’s an example, we spent 14 million in that time frame. I believe a lot of that was on the east end of the airport where we were moving the obstructions off to the [inaudible 00:27:51], better known as the graveyard, which was above the slope that the airplanes needed to exit. We had to lower that. We had to move some of those graves back. Six million for studies-
PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:28:04]
Rodney: 00:28:02 Six million for studies, things like updating the [inaudible 00:29:22]AOB, your master plan, what’s the airport want to do in the future. It takes a lot of money to think that stuff through. And then simple things like the access roads. You’ve spend over five million there in the last 30 some years. So that kinda gives you a feel for the money if you wanna build here at the airport.
Rodney: 00:28:19 A newer piece of money is called a ‘passenger facility charge’, better known as a PFC. And if you look at your airline ticket you’ll see ‘other tax’, and you might wonder what’s other? Well, a lot of times that ‘other’ is your PFC. Congress authorizes airports that are in the program to collect up to $4.5 per person when they visit the airport. For St. Louis, the approved amount to collect is $1.09 billion dollars. You’ve currently collected about three fourths of that, and spent that here somewhere, on the airport. You have another quarter billion or so that’s still in that initial bucket that you want to get. Ronda could probably tell you where they have the money, but that is money that really is your money. It doesn’t follow our priority system, so if you wanted to do the parking lot instead of the runway, you could feasibly do that with the PFC money. There’s a lot more latitude with how you can spend that. And that’s pretty big money.
Rodney: 00:29:18 So, if you look back, I said there was 700 million in 30 years with AIP and your billion dollars already in the PFC, which has maybe been 15, maybe 20 years tops. Something in that ballpark. So a lot of the big airports really look to that PFC money.
Rodney: 00:29:36 Again, that was a variety of projects, everything from land, equipment, runways, taxiways. I know equipment is a favorite of airports to use PFC because we have so many rules for buying equipment that if you want brand A truck, under AIP there’s no guarantee you can buy brand A, under PFC there’s ways to make that happen.
Rodney: 00:29:54 Some of the programs we have, I mentioned. Those strings that come with the money. You’ll hear that term “compliance” in our office. Basically, when you sign on that dotted line to take the grant, you sign to grant assurances. There’s currently 39 of them that come with the grant. Everything from economic nondiscrimination, release of land, not being able to close the airport without coordination. There’s a lot of little strings. It’s the fine print, I guess, is the way to look at it. But we have a part of our shop that makes sure that we follow up with that.
Rodney: 00:30:28 One of the hotspots of that, revenue diversion, we want airports to be as self-sufficient as they possibly can. A lot of cities that have airports think they could take the profit off the airport and take it downtown, and that’s not allowed under those grant assurances. So revenue diversion takes a lot of little avenues, and we have to watch how that plays out. Especially as the airports get smaller, that becomes a more important thing to [inaudible 00:30:54]. I do believe St. Louis has a grandfather clause, so there’s some money that can come off the airport and whatnot.
Speaker 4: 00:31:01 Is there not a bill in congress looking to change that for the 12 airports that have it? There’s not a?
Rodney: 00:31:01 I don’t think there’s anything currently-
Speaker 4: 00:31:01 A conversation?
Ronda: 00:31:01 There’s a con-
Speaker 4: 00:31:01 Conversation.
Ronda: 00:31:12 There’s a lot of lobbyists that are trying to get that changed. There’s probably as many lobbyists for it as there are against it, but there is a lot of conversation right now.
Speaker 4: 00:31:26 It’s just louder now than it ever has been. ‘Cause if I know about it, it’s loud. ‘Cause I would not normally.
John Speckin: 00:31:32 It’s also at the time doing to FAA reauthorization right now. So there’s a lot of FAA discussion going on.
Speaker 4: 00:31:39 Okay. Okay, alright.
Rodney: 00:31:40 And the reauthorization talk right now is probably louder than it has been several times before because there’s more interest and more willingness to notch it up a bit.
Speaker 4: 00:31:50 Uh-huh.
Rodney: 00:31:50 So things like the grandfather in Atlanta is getting some discussion. I don’t know, without having a [inaudible 00:31:55]
Speaker 4: 00:31:55 Okay. Okay.
Rodney: 00:32:01 The other part of the program I wanted to mention a bit about was the certification program under what’s known as part 139, all those commercial services with ten people or more on the plane. So, If you’re smaller than 10, and some communities limit to nine or less just so they don’t have to paint the runways regularly, ’cause it’s very costly. It’s very expensive, and maintenance is very high to stay up with that. If the light bulb goes out, we’re going to expect you to replace the light bulb. Paint starts looking faded, we expect the paint to be replaced. If the grass is high, we expect it to be mowed. So I’m sure Ronda could tell you that a big part of her budget is dedicated to making sure you stay in compliance with 139.
Rodney: 00:32:40 Not being in compliance could be everything from removing that certificate to a civil penalty. Typically, everybody complies and it doesn’t go to that level, but we make sure that it’s very well maintained. We do that on an annual basis. We can drop in and whatnot, but that is a very significant program that does cost the airport quite a bit to operate.
Rodney: 00:33:04 Other areas of ours, the planning I mentioned. When airports and trying to think conceptually, where do we go in the future, what’s our outlook, a lot of them do what’s known as a master plan. And in the master plan you’re looking at what’s the traffic prediction? If I build a runway, how much would I get out? How many people would show up? That sort of thing.
Rodney: 00:33:24 The engineering side, when we hand you a grant we typically hand you all the rules that they must be followed. Our Engineering side helps with that. Tries to make sure that you can get the dimensions right, get the strength right, the amount of weight that’s gonna [inaudible 00:33:37]
Rodney: 00:33:39 Environmental, obviously we’re charged with following all environmental rules with the federal money that we’ve got, so we do have environmental [inaudible 00:33:45] house.
Rodney: 00:33:47 And land and land purchases, they do have to follow the same guidelines that Federal Highways puts out, so if you’re buying land that’s called the Uniform Act, better known as the Uniform Act. We enforce that for airport projects also.
Rodney: 00:33:59 And the the last piece I have is what’s known as airspace. In airspace, you asked earlier about how do we coordinate some of this, one of the ways we try to do that is when somebody does a project in an airport anything on the airport itself, any change to the airport, is airspace. What that means is we look at the impact to the air first, but we also coordinate is there a radio frequency interrupted? Are there cables buried where you plan to dig? Will the building block line of sight for a tower? So that airspace is more than airspace. It’s a coordination tool between the FAA for all the lines of business to see that project and to anticipate what it might do to their side of their own business. Airports are sort of the coordinating piece of that. We don’t control what the controllers do in the tower, but we coordinate with the tower. We make sure they see it and we get their confidence back.
Rodney: 00:34:50 One of the things we do need from airports, so one of your grant assurances is, if somebody is impinging on the airport. Let’s say a new hotel wants to build off the end of your runway. We would expect the city to have zoning and stuff in place to protect that. The FAA has no jurisdiction but we can tell you, if it would impact your airport, we would expect the airport or the city or the owner to take care of the fact that if it’s gonna do that you don’t want it to happen.
Rodney: 00:35:14 So that’s really us and airports. If you want, I did put the website where you can get the NPIAS report. Basically, it’s an annual report to congress that we update every two years. It’s kind of dry, but the first executive summary you might need is under two pages.
Speaker 4: 00:35:14 Okay.
Rodney: 00:35:14 Quite a lot of information. And that’s all I have.
Speaker 4: 00:35:37 All right. That’s a lot of information, but it also clarifies some things for me to understand how the airports actually operate. Alderwoman Howard?
Howard: 00:35:37 I don’t have any questions.
Speaker 4: 00:35:45 Alderwoman Millbrook?
Millbrook: 00:35:51 I have no questions.
Speaker 4: 00:35:51 Alderwoman Egraçia?
Egraçia: 00:35:51 No questions.
Speaker 4: 00:35:53 Alderwoman Green?
Green: 00:35:56 No questions.
Speaker 4: 00:35:58 Alderman Cohn.
Cohn: 00:35:58 I am curious, so with the fees that you mentioned that are collected at each airport, the passenger facility fee. You mentioned that airports like St. Louis are entitlement airports. Wouldn’t they be the airports that are carrying most of the fees that are coming through?
Rodney: 00:36:20 So they’re-
Cohn: 00:36:20 Talking about airports.
Rodney: 00:36:21 Right.
Cohn: 00:36:22 Like, if an airport has less than ten thousand passengers, or tickets per day that are being issued there, they’re still receiving in proportion, even on a five million dollar project, a larger percentage of the pool than what they’re actually generating.
Ronda: 00:36:22 Oh, we argue that all the time.
Cohn: 00:36:44 Who determines the entitlements. Is that the FAA? Is that congress? How can we get our fair share? As St. Louis we constantly have this battle in the state legislature. If the city and region, the St. Louis region, contribute roughly 70 percent of the revenue for the state of Missouri, and we hardly see any of that come back to the St. Louis region in terms of transportation funding, or of anything else. So I’m just curious who sets those guidelines, or rules, and if we are an entitlement airport how do we get what we are entitled?
Rodney: 00:37:27 First of all I want to clarify that there’s two pieces of the money that you’re discussing there. One is the passenger facility charge, and that is collected at the airport-
Cohn: 00:37:34 That’s local.
Rodney: 00:37:35 Right. So the other part is the fuel tax, the passenger fees and whatnot that go to the bigger picture. That is used for that NPIAS, that whole system. And what you’re saying is “How do we get a bigger piece of what the whole system is?” First of all, I’d say that you do get more, if you looked at the past. The amount of passage you have dictates how much entitlement money you get. 3.35 billion, I guess you’re looking at, well, we get back 10. So it doesn’t seem like it’s a fair amount. When you have a big project, though, like when the land was being purchased, we were funding upwards of 40 and 50 million a year. So for those needs, at the time the need was [inaudible 00:38:19] we did up the amount.
Cohn: 00:38:21 So is it purely needs-based? And also, if it’s part of the NPIAS I assume that the NPIAS also includes newer airports that get built out in, you know, rural communities. It’s not like this is static, right? Airports are added or removed from time to time. I’m sure it doesn’t change frequently, but I’m sure that we’re adding new airports to the list.
John Speckin: 00:38:49 Part of what they look at with this system, and we do this in concert with congress right, and through that, is we’re looking at the needs of even rural community need aviation, right? So-
Cohn: 00:39:03 They do, though? I mean-
John Speckin: 00:39:04 No, they do, so-
Cohn: 00:39:05 I’m not trying to be an-
John Speckin: 00:39:05 No, they do. There’s an old saying that we always say, is the CEO doesn’t show up on a Greyhound [inaudible 00:39:13] he shows up on an airplane. And so not only do they need the airport to reach other parts of the city, but they also need it for things like [inaudible 00:39:22] which is a big piece of that.
Cohn: 00:39:24 So these aren’t necessarily commercial flights, they could be cargo flights, or?
John Speckin: 00:39:24 They can-
Speaker 4: 00:39:29 Or they could GA, general aviation.
John Speckin: 00:39:32 General aviation, type. So a lot of these airports, they give 150 thousand dollars a year
Rodney: 00:39:38 That’s it.
John Speckin: 00:39:39 That’s it. And a lot of banks don’t even accept 150 thousand dollars a year. And when they don’t accept the entitlement, that goes into as discretionary pile. But the formulas that we actually make up on how we divide the money up is a well coordinated process that, explained regularly to congress, and so really it would be a congressional type interaction to actually get change in the formulas type.
Rodney: 00:40:06 This NPIAS is a report to congress, just for that reason. So they’re monitoring, where’s the money going? One of the reasons that the PFC program came about was just your argument. The big airports were saying “Look, we have the capacity to generate the money. We feel that we’re not seeing our fair share back.” With the PFC program it’s immediately back. One of the little offsets is you have to give up some of your entitlement if you get the PFCs, and it goes into the, you know, the program. It’s not a big amount, but you don’t get your full entitlement.
Rodney: 00:40:36 Another piece that I didn’t talk much about, but these small airports, they’re funded in what we call federal shared [inaudible 00:40:44]. So they have to come up with 10 percent to match the money. As we get to the larger airports, it goes to a 75/25 percent. So the big airports are carrying their fair weight, bay all means, you’re carrying your fair weight, but if you look at where the money goes it is going back into the big airports. I don’t have the numbers, you know, statistics of what that is, but I know a it’s a large portion of the money does go back into big airports.
Cohn: 00:41:09 I’m just, I, like, this DXE airport down in southeast Missouri, I assume that’s Dexter-
Ronda: 00:41:09 Dexter.
Cohn: 00:41:17 And so, I’ve actually had lunch at the, you know, the little shop on the Dexter, you know, airport. I mean, it’s a very tiny airport. Right? And so, you know, most of the planes that are coming in and out of there are private planes. They’re not, you know, passenger planes or even cargo planes.
Ronda: 00:41:38 Right. Exactly.
Cohn: 00:41:39 So, you know, I’m just, I’m curious how, so, and is that a municipal airport? Are these all municipal airports? Are they?
Rodney: 00:41:49 There’s a map code there.
Cohn: 00:41:51 Right, so but like a local basic airport, is that?
Rodney: 00:41:54 Most of them are municipal. Or some of them are county, some of them come together as county.
Cohn: 00:41:58 Okay.
Rodney: 00:42:00 So, to answer that, almost all the airports are owned by a government type entity. The reason for that is only those entities can accept those grant assurances. If you’re a private individual you cannot accept all grant assurances.
Cohn: 00:42:00 Okay.
Rodney: 00:42:19 So you do not, with the exception of one or two in New York, we do not give funds to private airfield.
Cohn: 00:42:22 So the NPIAS is predominately, if not almost entirely publicly owned by a county or municipality or what have you?
Rodney: 00:42:22 I did have-
Ronda: 00:42:34 Some are state owned.
Cohn: 00:42:35 Yeah.
John Speckin: 00:42:36 So there has been discussion and Ronda can, who knows better than I, about changing the PFCs. Give the ability to larger airports to have greater flexibility on how much they collect in PFCs so they can use more of that money, staying here in one corner. That’s congress’s decision, not the FAA’s, so that’s actually a new legislation on how much the airport can charge [inaudible 00:43:00] But the other thing to keep in mind is that the airport and airline trust fund that Rodney talked about, that also funds about 90 percent of the FAA. So, for the air traffic controllers, the control tower, the equipment that we use and own and operate, there’s no expense for the airport. For us. So that comes out of that trust fund as well. So that part of it is, just to keep in mind, that’s why all that money doesn’t, and it can’t go back to the airport. Because you would have no national airspace system. So not only is that paying for what’s here in Lambert, it’s paying for some [inaudible 00:43:38]facilities that are around. It’s paying for radars all around the nation, communication facilities, things you can’t see make up the national airspace system.
Cohn: 00:43:46 So it’s paying for 90 percent of the FAA, or-
John Speckin: 00:43:50 90 percent.
Cohn: 00:43:50 90 percent of the money goes to the FAA.
John Speckin: 00:43:53 90 percent of what’s collected in the airway, 90 percent of the FAA’s budget comes from the airport and airway trust fund.
Rodney: 00:44:01 Which is about 18 billion. Something like that.
John Speckin: 00:44:06 The trust fund itself, in starting, if you look at the graph on how it goes, starting in about next year the trust fund could fund 100 percent of the FAA. It up to congress to decide if they want to use it, but net worth[inaudible 00:44:21] There is between what our budget is and what the aviation trust fund collects, they’re about equal. That’s right.
Cohn: 00:44:29 And one other question, in general, if I may. So I notice on here there’s the unclassified airport. There’s only one in the state of Missouri, but what, like, what is an unclassified airport?
Rodney: 00:44:42 When the last NPIAS was revamped, or updated, there were certain airports that were not meeting the initial entry requirement to be in the NPIAS
Cohn: 00:44:49 Oh, sorry, there’s two.
Rodney: 00:44:51 I think there might even be more than two. One of the criteria is that you have at least ten aircraft at your airport. In other words, 10 people park their plane at your airport, pay a hanger fee or whatnot. The ones that are unclassified usually have less than 10, and what we’ve done because of that, of course if they don’t have the planes they don’t get the money. So unclassifieds do not have money in that 30 billion request. We’ve, I don’t want to say wiped them clean but we’re not taking in their requests because they don’t have the need. If they have a safety issue, they’re still in the program. We can still do something. As John mentioned, sometimes it’s the green life light. They have two based aircraft but they still have to have a runway that works a life light. So, if their runway falls apart they’re still eligible, we can still do [inaudible 00:45:41], but on day-to-day we wouldn’t build an extra taxiway, we wouldn’t improve their [inaudible 00:45:46], we wouldn’t improve the hangar. They’re kind of singled out.
Cohn: 00:45:50 So do the local based [inaudible 00:45:53] unclassified, do they have an air traffic control-
John Speckin: 00:45:58 No.
Cohn: 00:45:58 [inaudible 00:45:58]at all? Mainly because most of those are very rural communities, and-
John Speckin: 00:46:01 Right, they don’t-
Cohn: 00:46:02 Don’t have towers or-
John Speckin: 00:46:04 The only place in the state of Missouri where you have towers, and I’ll start from east and work our way west, so Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Jeff City, St. Louis, Spirit of St. Louis, Joplin, Cape Girardeau’s tower is actually operated by the city, owned and operated by the city. Those are the places that actually have control towers.
Rodney: 00:46:34 A lot of the places that used to have FAA towers, the FAA backed off and they have what is known as a contract tower. It’s not operated by the FAA, it’s a contract. Some of the cities that lost their towers actually staff it themselves. They hire a contractor-
John Speckin: 00:46:51 And that’s the way Cape is. We basically gave the city the tower.
Cohn: 00:46:57 What would precipitate the FAA not funding the tower anymore?
John Speckin: 00:47:06 I think it would be the loss of traffic.
Cohn: 00:47:07 Just loss of traffic.
John Speckin: 00:47:07 Yeah. There’s a window of cost benefit analysis of what type of services we bring to the airport, safety factors, based on operations.
Cohn: 00:47:17 That’s all the questions I have.
Speaker 4: 00:47:18 Okay. My main question is, I don’t know if it’s a question anymore, about the statement. When we look at the operations of the airport, for FAA, your main responsibilities are the traffic control, and the infrastructure, and caretaking of the airport. So it’s not actually the inside operations, where you would get concession stands and all that stuff. You are really the part that deals with the process of the planes coming in and out, the safety involved with that, and the opportunity for this airport to still be in compliance.
John Speckin: 00:48:13 So, I think it’s important to say that we don’t own a piece of the [inaudible 00:48:17]
Speaker 4: 00:48:17 That’s even better, thank you.
John Speckin: 00:48:19 We don’t own a piece of [inaudible 00:48:20]. That is owned, maintained, and operated by the airport. Like I said before, we don’t open and close airports. We don’t open and close airports. We communicate and we work with them, but it’s theirs to operate under part 139 regulations, and how to do it. There’s regulations on how, when the firefighter, how, what’s the response time? All that stuff, we set the standard and monitor team meetings.
Speaker 4: 00:48:48 And, based on the way the federal government has set this up, there is nothing and nobody that can change the rules and regulations of requirement from your two [inaudible 00:48:59], other than congress.
John Speckin: 00:49:04 There’s some things that are regulations, okay, and we can go through a rule making process where we can go out and change the regulation. Part of what we do, though, is congress gives us the authority to do our job within the FAA, and that allows us to create the regulation. So there’s regulations and policies. Regulation goes through a rule making process, and we can go change our regulations in concert, it doesn’t require congressional action for us to change those-
Speaker 4: 00:49:38 And, what I should have said a little bit differently is, no one else has their authority. Is what I’m saying. So John Blow couldn’t walk up and say “Oh, you know, I think your air traffic tower should be over here, and let’s just do that.” And we can say “Okay.” We can’t do that.
John Speckin: 00:49:54 So just like part of my previous jobs, I worked on the expansion here when we built the new runway, and my team was the team sighting the radar that’s on there by the new runway right now. That was an FAA decision on where the best location was to put that radar. We did things in concert, we communicated, we worked out, but it’s our decision. We owned it. We did the environmental. We did the communication work, everything. That was, that’s our decision. Just like this tower is.
Ronda: 00:50:25 There is one additional thing on that, though. When you talk a little bit about the concessions. In order to receive the federal grants, and one of the grant assurances is, there is an ACDBE component which I think Amber has shared with the team before. But there are federal requirements as well with your concessions program, even though they don’t run the concessions program, in order to receive federal funding and these grant assurances you do have to meet those ACDBE requirements at concessions.
John Speckin: 00:50:54 And doing that part with the FAA’s civil rights office actually comes and does audits of airports at various times to make sure you’re meeting those type of.
Rodney: 00:51:04 Those extend to the federal money, so when you get the federal dollars for a grant those programs also come with the federal money. I want to give an example where, and I think it’ll clarify your last statement here, think about the new entry of all these unmanned aircraft. Right now there’s not, or a few months ago there was not a lot of rules about how to operate those. The FAA had to create those rules. So we can make new rules, I mean it’s possible. But you’re right, once they’re set it is basically the FAA [inaudible 00:51:36] you would have to go back to the FAA to get it changed.
John Speckin: 00:51:40 And part of the difficulty is people establish their businesses based on the regulations we establish.
Speaker 4: 00:51:46 Okay.
John Speckin: 00:51:47 So if we make big changes in part 139 it would cost billions and billions for them to meet the new standard. So that’s part of it, is so we have to be careful. You talk about the speed of government, right? And part of that is the deliberation of government. We have to get it right the first time because businesses start developing and investing and going down the path based on the regulations we form. So we have to get it right. We have to be deliberate and get it right so that businesses and economies and stuff associated with that industry can grow without having to worry that we’re gonna come back “Oh, we’re gonna go this way.” You can’t do that.
Rodney: 00:52:25 We can’t penalize the airports unintentionally. A good example, years ago we used to have much smaller signs that the pilots looked at, and because of accidents through the late 70s, early 80s, they decided to increase the size of the signs. Well, if we were to do that again, we’d probably have two, three million dollars worth of signs that go fix to be in compliance with the new requirement for signs. So we don’t take that lightly. That is a[inaudible 00:52:55]. Gotta go through the cost benefit, it’s gotta go through federal register notice so that everybody knows what’s going on before that new rule is made.
Speaker 4: 00:53:01 Okay, and then would you help us fund your new rules.
Rodney: 00:53:07 Yes.
Ronda: 00:53:08 Sometimes.
Speaker 4: 00:53:08 Sometimes?
Ronda: 00:53:08 Sometimes.
Speaker 4: 00:53:08 Okay.
Ronda: 00:53:08 So, you know, a good example of that was when we, what we call the SEARAs, the service animal relief areas. So there was a mandate that came out, it’s been what? About two years ago. That we had to provide them, inside the terminal and so many feet between each one, to meet the needs of passengers traveling with animals, especially service animals. That was an unfunded mandate, so we had to install those but there was no money that was available to help airports install them. That’s not [inaudible 00:53:38]
Rodney: 00:53:39 Congress doesn’t look very favorable on us doing it again. We try not to go there but occasionally it does happen.
Speaker 4: 00:53:46 I want to double check again, ’cause a lot has been said, Alderman Cohn, any more?
Speaker 4: 00:53:48 Okay. Alderwoman Howard?
Howard: 00:53:55 I just want a little more information on this classification. I know you went over it, but we’re considered a large medium hub along [inaudible 00:54:04]
Rodney: 00:53:55 You’re considered a medium.
Howard: 00:53:55 Medium hub.
Rodney: 00:54:07 You’re this close to the large but you’re at the top of the medium.
Howard: 00:54:10 Okay.
John Speckin: 00:54:11 So it’s the top 30. Whatever the top 30 is.
Rodney: 00:54:14 It’s actually-
Howard: 00:54:14 And we’re number 32.
Rodney: 00:54:15 It’s the top one percent of traffic.
Howard: 00:54:17 How many airports are there?
Rodney: 00:54:19 Right now there’s 30 in the large category.
Howard: 00:54:19 In that. In large. 30.
Rodney: 00:54:23 There’s some confusion because air traffic what they call a core 30, which-
John Speckin: 00:54:26 Right.
Rodney: 00:54:27 Airports with high volume that they administrate a little bit closer, I guess, and it kinda lines up, but it’s one percent of the traffic makes the top large group.
Howard: 00:54:38 I think, and I know this is probably a difficult question because, do the airlines drive that population or is it, you know, the city that drives the population or is it[inaudible 00:54:54] You know, the service, how many people you see-
Ronda: 00:55:01 It’s driven by the airlines. Obviously the airlines can come and go as they please, provided they meet all of the regulatory issues that are set forth to operate as a 139 airport. But the airlines look to say “Where can we make money?” So the first thing they look at, typically, is population. How many people live in MSA that need to get out every day. So when you have 20 million people by default, like the New York airports or the Los Angeles airports or the Miami airports, you’re gonna have a significant amount of carriers because of the population.
Ronda: 00:55:35 As you get outside of that, over time, it has morphed into where then can airlines look to still make money in MSAs that may not have 10 million, 15 million, 20 million people. And then that becomes a little bit more objective, you know, “Can we make money in St. Louis?” So the first thing they look at is your local market and the demand there. The second thing you’d look at is connecting traffic, and is there an opportunity for us to-
PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:56:04]
Ronda: 00:56:00 Is connecting traffic, and is there an opportunity for us to still make money and connect traffic, and those you can put anywhere. So, in the years when we were a large hub, and we were a large hub, obviously, in the TWA days, TWA chose to put all of their eggs in the basket here. So that connecting traffic, which was about 70% of his total airport passenger and plane events, wasn’t based here in St. Louis. That model was very hard to sustain. I think these people know, there were three bankruptcies filed by TWA. The financial model they had was broken. So it was very challenging to put that many connecting passengers and still have enough revenue from that ticket, because it’s a lower, no-good ticket, to be able to say, this hub is financially sound.
Ronda: 00:56:47 Now, there is room for connecting traffic in some of these medium hubs like we are today, but you have to make that case to the carrier. And I think that is where the community plays a role in that. You know, you as a business community, you as governmental entities, along with the airport, have to work very closely with an airline to sell your case, to make that case and to support it, and hope that, one, they take a chance on it, and two, that it’s sustainable. So you’ve been seeing that with Southwest, and that isn’t driven by the FAA. That isn’t driven by our local population. That’s driven by our desire to say, can we be successful in St. Louis with connecting traffic. And the majority of those markets that they’re growing that connecting traffic on have been pulled out of Midway. So Midway has had some challenges with completion of the passengers, the connecting passengers, some of the cost, and a variety of things where they haven’t been as pleased with the operational performance of being able to connect those passengers through.
John Speckin: 00:57:52 They being FAA, or they being Southwest?
Ronda: 00:57:54 No, they being Southwest.
John Speckin: 00:57:54 Southwest. Okay.
Ronda: 00:57:55 Yeah. They being Southwest. So, you know, it is a little bit of a combination. For the first one, when you talk about the really large hubs, the majority are those driven by that population base of just very, very dense population. And then you get into those markets that are secondary markets like a St. Louis, and say, how large can we get? I mean, it’s our hope that ultimately we could get back to that, where we’re number 32. So you go to the top 30, we’re number 32. Number 31 is Dallas Love Field. That’s obviously [inaudible 00:58:26]. They really can’t expand any more at Dallas Love Field because of the footprint, physical footprint at that airport. So they probably are capped at where they’re going to be there. So, and then number 30’s Portland, Oregon.
Ronda: 00:58:42 So then you take a look, you say, okay, can we continue to one, grow the region, and if we grow the region we grow the population base, which hasn’t been happening here. That’s a good indicator. And then two, can we continue to grow some of that connecting traffic and be a strong enough partner with Southwest and others. I mean, American, Delta, and United connect, but they connect 1%. You know. Connecting traffic on Southwest has grown to about 25%. This year we think it’ll get closer to that 30%. So can we get to 70% again, no, but can you do 35, maybe 39, maybe 40 … you know, you edge your way up. That’s something that the whole community involved in the airport takes an active role.
John Speckin: 00:59:29 So the FAA’s role is to make sure we have the facilities in place from the FAA side, not the [inaudible 00:59:33] side, to actually say, cleared to land, cleared to fly.
Ronda: 00:59:29 Okay.
John Speckin: 00:59:37 Okay. That’s our job.
Speaker 5: 00:59:39 Without restrictions.
John Speckin: 00:59:40 Right, right.
Speaker 5: 00:59:41 We try not to restrict the airport in any fashion. Through operations, air trafficking … it gets a little more complicated on the airport side because let’s say you want a 10,000-foot runway and you have 8,000. You have to justify that on the DIQ, and some of that is, there’s a forecast, here’s what we think we’re getting, here’s letters the airline sent and wanted to give us. We go through the justification process. We don’t just hand it out because somebody says we think maybe it’ll come, but we don’t have it.
Ronda: 01:00:10 I think you both would agree our airfield infrastructure is ample to contain …
Speaker 5: 01:00:14 Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
Ronda: 01:00:14 Right.
Speaker 5: 01:00:16 You guys …
John Speckin: 01:00:18 Listen. We’re polite, so …
Ronda: 01:00:19 So funny on the show. Which is a good thing! Excellent.
John Speckin: 01:00:20 And the other thing to keep in mind is, you have all the FAA’s latest, state of the art technology is in and working very well. Okay. We can move a whole lot of aircraft in and out of your state. We do, we can have you moving a lot more …
Speaker 6: 01:00:43 And one more question. Does the geography, you know, since we’re center of the country, does that have any bearing on …?
John Speckin: 01:00:50 Not to the FAA. So, when we deregulated aviation back in Carter’s administration, is, the FAA got out of this is to try and decide where planes should land and take off. I mean, there’s part of it, too, is if you notice like in O’Hara they’re doing, like, a 16 billion dollar expansion on [inaudible 01:01:08]. Well, why don’t they just bring some traffic down to Kansas City and St. Louis and make us more … you know? And part of that sense in your mind, that that’s not ours to decide. I mean, ours … that’s cities, that’s the airlines. Ours is to make sure that they’re safe for whatever kind of stuff.
Speaker 5: 01:01:27 Another piece of that is, the airline industry has changed. When you buy a ticket and you wanna go to, say, Los Angeles, do you want to stop in Denver? Nobody does. You want a direct flight. So the aircraft manufacturers have responded to that desire with airplanes that can go further. They can fly practically around the world in a flight, which is a pretty far distance, longer than you want to sit anyway, because airlines want to offer the direct flights. So the whole spoken [inaudible 01:01:54] thing has changed over time with more direct flights, and …
John Speckin: 01:01:58 And larger aircrafts, because they’re flying farther.
Speaker 7: 01:02:03 Wow.
Speaker 8: 01:02:03 Thank you.
Speaker 5: 01:02:03 Scout’s Honor.
Speaker 7: 01:02:03 Thank you. I don’t know what … okay. I don’t wanna regress again.
Speaker 8: 01:02:03 No, that’s good.
Speaker 7: 01:02:03 [inaudible 01:02:11].
Speaker 8: 01:02:15 Just a couple of core questions. If we’re at 32 right now in the [inaudible 01:02:19], are there any projections or … whether we could become 31 or 30, and what that would employ?
Ronda: 01:02:15 Are you asking me, or them?
Speaker 8: 01:02:30 I, probably you, I just …
Ronda: 01:02:35 I think what our plan of attack has been is to, you know, because we haven’t seen the population grow for our region, so we know that that stagnant number is a bit of a challenge for us. So what we’ve looked at is, is really that connecting. And, you know, it took us a better part of three years working with Southwest to make our case, to say, we can be a strong connecting market for you, that we were not a connecting market for them. And I think as we’ve proven to them, and as they see the customer response, many times if there’s a choice of getting to a destination and your choice is be in St. Louis, or maybe it’s be at one of their other connecting locations, St. Louis is becoming a more preferred spot for them, because it’s easier, typically their connections are gonna be made, and people like it. So I think as we continue to make that case, we can hoist our growth.
Ronda: 01:03:32 Do we have a projection? Not necessarily, because if I put it out there, then someone’s gonna say, well that’s what you said. So we do think that we can continue to grow passengers. I mean, this year we’ll top 15 million, we’re pretty confident. So, typically you look at that cut-off of the top 30 being that 15 million. When we say 15, that’s both enplanements and deplanements. So the numbers that they’re looking at here are enplanement are passengers. So this year we know that we’ll have over seven and a half million, which I think [crosstalk 01:04:05] 15 million passenger airport. So, we feel pretty good about that. It’s not going to happen over night, it’s gonna be, we’re gonna have to continue to prove that we can be a good connecting market, and the hope is along the way our region starts growing, because that’s a key piece of what they will get in, it’s a key piece of what international.
Ronda: 01:04:26 I mean, if you look at some of the markets that are smaller than us, in addition to what on the international side, there really are some [inaudible 01:04:34] vicinities by whether the cities, counties states regions to bring the international traffic back, what we’re seeing is our GDP is flat, whereas in some areas like in Indy, or in Nashville, or in Austin, which, you know, they have a GDP that’s, the projection might be four, five, six percent, while ours is staying a bit flat.
Ronda: 01:04:55 So those are things that the airlines look at as well. So anything that we use within a region can show in some great sections right now, whether it be the financial sector or the educational legacies, or tech scene, bioscience, that’s making some headway in helping in our marketing, and that’s where the region enters in, and there’s a region to help sell that piece, not just us. And we did that about three weeks ago with Southwest. We had three days’ session here with their route development. And within that we brought a lot of leaders in the region to do a panel to talk about what’s right and what’s growing in the region so that they can here as well that, you know, our investment that we’re making is right. It can continue to grow. So it’s a very concerted process, and a very, I think, ongoing effort.
Speaker 8: 01:05:51 And there was another statement made that we are just barely on the large hub route. What does just barely mean?
John Speckin: 01:06:04 I was looking at the enplanements.
Speaker 8: 01:06:04 Oh, okay.
John Speckin: 01:06:07 So 1%, the bottom of the large hubs are currently about nine million. I think your numbers are at seven, seven and a half.
Ronda: 01:06:14 Seven and a half for this year.
Speaker 8: 01:06:16 Okay. So basically we’ll do seven and a half million? Okay.
Speaker 7: 01:06:19 Oh, yeah.
Speaker 7: 01:06:23 And last year it was at a million connecting [inaudible 01:06:27]. Just to give you a perspective.
John Speckin: 01:06:38 [inaudible 01:06:35], you’re poised to, if Southwest wanted to bring more planes here, if they’d like to, then they could come in without delays, without … and you’re poised for that.
Speaker 5: 01:06:38 I mean, coming here trying to see, like I said, they can hold onto their safety doing that out here, and they’re all [inaudible 01:06:56].
Speaker 7: 01:06:58 Well, one of the things I know that we had a lot of conversation was because, and this is not likely, that our actual population’s gonna grow that much, but we can look at how we operate as a region and what we offer people, and so I think a lot of our energy is gonna be put in that area. There’s no reason why we couldn’t become a conventional destination for people. So there are a number of things we could do to market our region differently, and that could help us a lot too. And so a lot of energy’s being put in that department. So hopefully, the numbers will go up, and we’ll have more opportunities here, but I think you really have done justice here with this information because now we understand exactly what you do. Most people think that FAA does everything at the airport. You make all decisions at the airport. And so now we made it very clear how you interact, where you set the rules, and how you have the opportunity to assist us in improvements with the airports as well. And I’m hoping that as we move forward in talking about many different things concerning this airport, that the clarity is there upfront, and that we won’t have any serious problems later on.
Speaker 5: 01:08:23 Well, good. We’re glad we could be a help. And it’s more of a, we very much enjoy the opportunity to come and provide you information. If there’s more information you need, we’ll be glad to come back. We can get into the level of detail that you wanna talk about and bring in the right people in the local controls, local management. We kept this at a high level because I believe that’s what you wanted.
Speaker 7: 01:08:51 Exactly, you gave us what we needed. Definitely.
Speaker 5: 01:08:53 Okay. And so we can get to, and as Rhonda knows, we have some very detailed people we’ve given to Louise, and I doubt it needs to get to that point, but thank you very much for the opportunity to be here.
Speaker 7: 01:09:04 Thank you. I have a resident in my ward that’s retired, mechanical engineer that dealt with the tower and repairs and all that stuff, and I tell you, when he talks about this job for thirty-something years, it is so exciting. And he comes and talks about kids at summer camp, and all of that. And it would just amaze me, when he’s talking.
Ronda: 01:09:22 You mean all the future engineers …
Speaker 7: 01:09:25 Ah! Maybe will be at some point. So, it’s very exciting. Very exciting. So again, thank you.
Speaker 5: 01:09:25 You bet. Thank you.
Ronda: 01:09:30 Thank you. I’ll keep these if you want, and that means she can take them back with you [inaudible 01:09:39].
Speaker 7: 01:09:38 Please.
John Speckin: 01:09:41 I do have the first chapter of the [inaudible 01:09:43], which is the interesting part.
Speaker 7: 01:09:41 They all should have been with all these [inaudible 01:09:46].
Speaker 7: 01:09:48 I also wanted to share with the committee that we’re also gonna take a tour of the airport. We’ll have lunch, and we’ll also come back, according to the agenda, and we’ll be talking to union leadership for the employees.
Ronda: 01:09:48 Oh, is that them … that’s, they’re here?
Speaker 7: 01:10:07 Oh, they’re here!
Ronda: 01:10:08 So, yeah, if we can tie all of them up, I think … with all those people, go ahead and have them …
Speaker 7: 01:10:09 Come on, we can do it.
Ronda: 01:10:09 I need some water. I need some of my water.
Speaker 7: 01:10:14 Can we take a break? While you’re getting …
Ronda: 01:10:23 Sure! Sure. Get some water.
Speaker 7: 01:10:25 So we’re ready to bring his name back, because originally [inaudible 01:10:29] replace for commerce? Could we take a moment now? I wanted to ask our director to share with us the union representatives here that will be …
Ronda: 01:10:43 Okay. Wait, what were …? Yeah, I’m sorry, I should have done that! We’ve obviously worked at a number of meetings lately because we’re in the process of …
Speaker 6: 01:10:43 Are they gonna come over and join us now?
Speaker 7: 01:10:43 Oh, just come on in, just come …
Ronda: 01:10:43 Okay.
Don: 01:11:05 Yeah, so my name’s Don Zavodny, and I’m here on behalf of AFSCME Local 410. I currently serve as State Minister here for the Local.
Jed: 01:11:15 Jed Carmen, I’m currently their service and ground authority for St. Louis and surrounding area. So I have the [crosstalk 01:11:23] as far as if they have a need to understand their MOUs [inaudible 01:11:29].
Speaker 7: 01:11:35 Okay. And for the public amusement, give us the AFSCME.
Don: 01:11:40 Sure. It stands for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.
Speaker 7: 01:11:46 All right. Thank you. And so you represent city employees and regional employees.
Don: 01:11:52 Yeah. We have state employees we represent, here in the city of St. Louis itself we represent some of the airport employees here, primarily the custodians, labor, maintenance people that as I understand work inside the terminal doing maintenance work primarily. Um, not the people who work on the runways or outside, so.
Speaker 7: 01:12:16 Okay.
Don: 01:12:18 We also represent, just background information, from the city, the employees in the water department and refuse department also.
Speaker 7: 01:12:25 Okay. And we also have joining us … introduce yourself.
Speaker 9: 01:12:30 I’m Jeff Boss. I’m a representative from the St. Louis Kansas City Regional Governors. I represent the airfield maintenance pavers and painters. So all the guys who do all the work on the airfield.
Ronda: 01:12:30 Which is a large part of this.
Speaker 7: 01:12:30 Oh, my.
Speaker 6: 01:12:30 About how many?
Ronda: 01:12:30 About 60, 65. Roughly.
Speaker 6: 01:12:44 Okay. All right. And, so, what we wanted to do was allow you the opportunity to explain that representation more thoroughly to us, because we want to have a better understanding of employee relationships, how they do interact here, some of the … and you can get into some, a bit of the roles as well while we’re sitting here. But it’s important for us to understand operations here at the airport, and we do know that unions play an important part of that. And we’ve had a lot of conversations. I serve as a commissioner here at the airport as well, and so I hear a lot of different things that people have concerns about. And I wanted to just make sure that my committee and other, all persons have the opportunity to understand operations at the airport. So, whoever’s gonna start, start.
Don: 01:13:55 I’ll lead off. So, as I mentioned, we represent, I think our biggest group is the custodians, although that’s a shrinking group for us, because the airport has entered into a contract, or has in the past had a contract with a private company that’s moved, that’s taking over most of those responsibilities. However, in that process as I understand it, the airport grandfathered in the current city employees who provide those services here at the airport so long as they remain. However, when they retire or leave service, they are not replaced by the airport itself. That then goes, falls, those responsibilities fall to the private contractor that’s providing that services to the airport. At some point in time, we’ll no longer have custodians here that we represent, as I understand.
Speaker 7: 01:14:45 Let me tell you. Let me tell you. So, tell me how many employees you have now that you represent.
Don: 01:14:50 28. So. And we, along those lines, we are in the process of, I should say, we’re in the process of negotiating a new MOU. The relationship with the unions with the city, whether it’s here at the airport or anywhere else, is kind of a unique situation in that here at the airport or with refuse or water departments, we didn’t negotiate what we call an MOU, a memorandum of understanding. And that MOU primarily covers some, what I would call workplace rules and policies and how to implement some of the regulations that are established by the civil service commission itself. We don’t get into negotiations of wages or benefits or anything like that sort with the airport here. I mean, that’s something that’s done through the city personnel, office with Richard Frank, and then it’s adopted into a pay ordinance, which the board ultimately approves as part of the budgeting process.
Don: 01:15:57 And so our MOU covers, just for some examples, anything from … so there’s basically two shifts of workers for the custodians here, a day shift and then a night shift. And so, how they bid for if they want to move to a different shift, or when a vacancy occurs, how do they make that move, I mean, there’s some language in the MOU that covers that, there’s language that talks about scheduling them their vacation time throughout the year. Just some of those types of things. I mean, we process them. We include some language on the processing of grievances, and appeals, if somebody’s disciplined. So it’s not a very big MOU, and I said we were in the process, but not really, because we held, what, two, three meetings earlier this year and I think we’re at the point where we’ve agreed tentatively to what we accomplished in those meetings. We’re waiting now for the personnel department, Richard Frank, to get his approval on it so we can move forward with approving it. And I’m not sure where that’s at right now. It’s taking him a while. He’s had it for quite some time, so.
Don: 01:17:14 But then, the actual wage negotiations and other economic items and things of that sort that go through that city pay ordinance, that involves a series of meetings and negotiations with the city personnel, the partner, and I’ve got to tell you that you may have heard or will hear that we have not been able to come to an agreement with the city on that. We are at an impasse. Our members felt that a 1.5% step increase within a year was not adequate. They were looking for some sort of cost of living, as their costs have increased and are significantly higher than that. We brought a person, well, we didn’t bring him into the negotiations although I think he appeared before the public employing committee a little over a week ago, almost two weeks ago, used his paycheck as an example. He makes about $1205 every two weeks. Now he’s carrying family insurance, because he’s got a family, so he’s doing that through the city. That’s over $600 every two weeks in premium cost to him. His take-home pay for that two week period was just a little over $600. And it was that $600 because he had 24 hours of overtime and under 240-something dollars in overtime pay on that check. If he hadn’t had that, his check would have been less than $400.
Don: 01:18:52 And, I mean, there are other items that we’re concerned with. The city adopted that paying metric about three years ago, which was a step in the right direction in terms of, we thought 30 steps was a little excessive, but part of the problem there is, so, why is a new employee today starting at step one and I stayed with the city for 30 years? I’m gonna get to step 30 eventually, [crosstalk 01:19:16].
Ronda: 01:19:16 Maybe.
Don: 01:19:17 Maybe, but those steps are funded each and every year. Moreover, if I was employee not getting [inaudible 01:19:25] sum three years ago with maybe 10, 15 years of service, I was placed on a step in that [inaudible 01:19:31] that corresponded with what I was earning at that time, and that may have put me at step 10, maybe. Maybe a little bit higher, maybe a little bit lower, but did not correspond with my actual years of service. So even if I stay with the city now for another 10, 15 years, I will never get that maximum, and that is an issue that our members have concerns about and would like to see some adjustments to that.
Don: 01:19:57 The other thing is, I’m talking in generalities here, of course, some examples, you understand why we went to impasse and did not come to an agreement, the refuse department is an example where they found the hiring rate was not attracting enough people wanting to apply for the position, so they moved them up nine steps, did nothing for anybody else, but was a current employee, so now you’ve got people who were at a step lower than that- yeah. If you were at a step lower than step nine, you did move up to at least step nine, but say you were at 10 or 11 and you got six, seven, eight, nine years of experience, you’re now compressed with those people walking in the door making almost the same amount as you are, so. So that’s just some background on that.
Don: 01:20:48 I would say our relationship here with the airport, I think it’s a pretty good relationship. We tend to work through any types of problems or situations that come up fairly well. And we do represent employees. They ask us for representation in any type of disciplinary matters that they may be facing. I think that’s … the only other thing I would wanna cover is this issue of privatization of the entire airport. I’m not prepared to speak really in depth with it, but I think there’s a big issue and a small issue, the bigger issue being, is it a good, is privatization of government services ever good for not just the employees but the citizens and government itself? And one of the problems I see is the giving up of control. You’re almost creating a new bureaucracy within a system that we always, or quite often, talk about as very bureaucratic anyway. Now you add another level of bureaucracy, because things have to change. If there’s something that’s needed that’s not covered in that contract, you’ve got to work through that process with somebody that you’ve contracted with to run those operations.
Don: 01:22:11 And I’m not sure that it ever is really as cost efficient as everybody claims it to be. As I was sitting here this morning I saw an article up on Iowa, which, they privatized their Medicaid program in the state a couple of years ago, and the article was talking about this agency that oversees the program has been asked, well, how much money are you saving? His response was, well, I can’t really tell you how much money I’m saving, I’m just saving money. When you get those kinds of answers, you have to suspect that everything’s not really as [inaudible 01:22:44] as the picture may be pointed when a consultant does a study to say, you know, this is a good idea. This is maybe the direction you ought to go in.
Don: 01:22:52 And then the smaller picture is, what happens to the employees? Even the one you enter into a contract and guarantee the employees that they will be hired by the private company that might be taking over the operation, there’s things that just can’t be done. For example, something like a retirement plan. If they leave service with the city, go work for a private company that’s providing those services now, their retirement plan or their pension is frozen at that point with the city. It may become that the new company has a plan, and it may become part of that, but it may be an entirely different plan or not a same plan, or nothing similar. You can’t, the new company cannot allow them, well, I don’t, maybe there’s some ways to do it, but in most cases, they can’t take over their pension plan as it was with the city at that time, and then there’s the other benefits and things of inspiration also, so. I can tell you right now, we would be pretty opposed to privatization, and probably if we could roll back the privatization of the services that the custodians are doing-
PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:24:04]
Don: 01:24:00 Roll back the privatization above these services that the custodians are doing, would be very pleased with that also. Unless there’s some questions, I think that’s all I have.
Ronda: 01:24:12 Can we wait and do questions after the [inaudible 01:24:15] presentation.
Don: 01:24:12 Yeah, okay.
Ronda: 01:24:12 [inaudible 01:24:18].
Speaker 10: 01:24:18 Yeah and I don’t think I can add much to what Mr. [inaudible 01:24:22] had to say beyond the fact that any privatization would have, and as we’ve done, you know we represent water, different entities of the county and as we’ve done different studies, you know the airport is a money maker for the city, so why would you take something away?
Speaker 10: 01:24:40 I know their reserves are limited onto what they can be used for, and to my understanding they have very sizable reserves here. And then just to talk about the good things that we do together, because sometimes you think the beauty has, one sit on one side of the table and management sitting on the other side of the table, there was a diversity program that’s very important that is offered to the airport employees, and management brought it down to the airport.
Speaker 10: 01:25:10 Rather than require the employees to go downtown, participate, they made it convenient, and they brought it down here which I thought was a very huge, positive thing for the staff here. As well as amazingly, they are enjoying it, is the yoga class. The yoga class that is now being offered for the workers. And they’re participating in that. And I was shocked to hear how much enjoyment and positive feedback on that, so just want end on a good note.
Ronda: 01:25:10 [inaudible 01:25:45].
Jeff: 01:25:47 So I represent the airfield maintenance, the airfield maintenance painters and pavers. Pretty good relationship overall at the airport. There’s one I’ve got an issue with presently that I’m trying to work through with pay for the guys working on the painter crew, [inaudible 01:26:04] airfield maintenance guys, but most of that [inaudible 01:26:07] resolved. We worked through snow call issue. FAA had certain requirements yielded to the directors understanding what we need to do to make sure that coverage was there. And during the pay negotiations, I was also reluctant due to [inaudible 01:26:29] everything else is going up. My members are suffering as well, also [inaudible 01:26:36] probably qualify for food stamps. And in the negotiations, the residency bill that you have, holding power, would alter the commuting allowance for out here. That was something that Richard Fraxles tied to take away, is since they’re required to live in the city then drive all the way out here, make sure that they get compensated X amount of dollars to be able to drive. They’re forced to drive out here.
Ronda: 01:27:07 And then as I understand like more than a half million dollars.
Jeff: 01:27:08 If the residency would go, we agreed to change that. Because then they could live out here if they wanted to, so.
Ronda: 01:27:08 [crosstalk 01:27:15].
Jeff: 01:27:19 So we did make that stipulation. We agreed to the way, the one and a half for this year, with the hope that next year, with the tax increments, finance suits, little changes with the drop plan that there would be more money available in the second year of the pay plan.
Jeff: 01:27:39 So we did agree, but with hopeful promises of more money for all of the employees got resolved soon. That’s where we’re at with the money structures. As far as the airport, we certainly are taking a backseat approach on the whole privatization case. It’s too much to be done if you have to log the whole process. My members are very concerned about their pensions, and their wellbeing of course. With someone taking over the … As so are we. Watched the process, I think my EST who’s Al Bond, has spoken publicly in support of it. So I really can’t say that I’m opposed it, since he’s already been out there saying that. He thinks it might be a good idea. As a resident I’m cautious to throw the same support, only because I don’t know what to look through if it is good for us or not. As the gentleman mentioned, it makes money here. Comptroller, a bad comptroller sets low hanging fruit. So why would you want to give up an asset like that? Other than that, I certainly hope the unions get to stay to represent the employees out here. There’s not much of a conflict, but they try to do what’s fair, be a good business partner with the whole city, not an opposition, as some unions are painted in the public. Please remember to vote on prop when it comes up in August.
Ronda: 01:27:39 Yes, yes.
Speaker 7: 01:29:27 Well, gentlemen I know that we have a lot of employees here at the airport. But Madame Director, so the majority of employees here are not unionized.
Ronda: 01:29:37 The majority are not and if [inaudible 01:29:39] 530 employees right now, we do have about 50 vacancies. So the physical number, but I mean, we’re trying to fill all those vacancies. So if you look at 530, we know all those unions obviously become the airfield, the painters and the janitorial staff. We have a lot of other administrative financial properties, those are not unionized crews. They are more staffed crews. And they represent a large piece of this airport.
Speaker 7: 01:30:10 So the actual cleaning staff, that number is what?
Ronda: 01:30:14 I think right now, it’s 28.
Speaker 7: 01:30:19 They clean this whole airport.
Ronda: 01:30:21 No, no, no, no, no. They clean the office space for the airport.
Speaker 7: 01:30:23 Okay.
Ronda: 01:30:24 So our bathroom, our offices, or over where Jerry is at the ALB.
Speaker 7: 01:30:28 Okay.
Ronda: 01:30:29 The office space there, but the facilities like where the aircraft, the airfield maintenance workers, those facilities are cleaned by the team that they represent.
Don: 01:30:29 [inaudible 01:30:40].
Speaker 7: 01:30:29 Okay. Okay.
Ronda: 01:30:41 So it’s about, I think right now it’s about 28. And it has been, when the state did the audit in 2009, one of the very critical pieces was that we had janitorial staff in house. And the state audit that was done at the time said that our airport should look to outsource that. Which [inaudible 01:31:09] operation. So when I came on in 2010 and it was obvious the response we had to do for the state at the time. With a lot of discussion with them, what was said was that we did have and we wanted to make sure that the employees that were currently in the role were protected. And so we made an agreement at the time, that we would allow all employees to stay as long as they wanted, and we would guarantee their jobs. But as people retired, or are attritted to other jobs within the city, then we would look to backfield their duties with outside help. So that’s been eight years now, and as we had about 80 initially agreed was the number of in house janitorial staff, 80 85. And they did clean larger portions, of some of the airport back then.
Ronda: 01:32:00 So as the staff attritted, initially we turned parts of terminal one over to an outside janitorial staff, through a solicitation process. And over time, we did outsource terminal two, and now when we look at the staff that remained, they are totally cleaning internal office space.
Speaker 7: 01:32:23 Okay.
Ronda: 01:32:24 Within our operation, so they only clean the space, that we airport employees work in.
Speaker 7: 01:32:33 [crosstalk 01:32:33]. That’s something the public didn’t understand right, [inaudible 01:32:33] so, that’s some clarity that we need.
Speaker 7: 01:32:38 Also I’m just gonna make one brief statement then I’m gonna turn it over to [inaudible 01:32:43] for questions. The privatization of the process of exploring privatization as you know will be, is beginning. The contract has been approved by [inaudible 01:32:58]. A lot of people had a lot of input with how that operation will take place. And as you’ve said, there’s so much unknown. There’s been a lot of rhetoric that’s been passed about, suggests to people that, Internationally all those airports are controlled by a management company. Most governments, the way that system is set up, it’s pretty much what they want to do here. But that’s still no reason for us to jump to any conclusions, we have to go through the exploration process, and everybody’s gonna have input, that’s why we’re talking to you. We need to understand what your role is, we wanna hear your thoughts too about it as well. So as you know, no one entity can make this decision, it’s gonna require different levels of government, I try to report ours with the passing of that, before we get to that point. So we have a lot of [inaudible 01:34:13].
Speaker 7: 01:34:15 But as we look at it, probably about two years before we get to that point of making a decision one way or another. And so, during that whole process, my intent is to continue to gather information, and to continue to be informed about you. This committee is an integral part of that decision making process, so we have a lot of work to do, we have to be extremely vigilant in all this process, and we also need to keep the public informed.
Speaker 7: 01:34:51 Because the public can easily be confused because there’s so much moving about out here. The people who want to manage the airport, are putting some information out. People who just want to satisfy the political agendas, are putting different information out. Those who are honest about process and procedures … So it’s confusing for the public, and we’ve gotta find a way to keep information with as much clarity as possible. And so, I plan to do that, and have as many informational meetings as possible, okay.
Speaker 7: 01:35:31 And I’ll just turn it over to any questions, oh there you are, Alderman Comb. Okay, Alderwoman Allen.
Ald. Allen: 01:35:41 I just was wondering, back to your salary concerns. What is the average starting hourly wage for a civic employee?
Don: 01:35:46 I don’t, I can’t answer that.
Jeff: 01:35:50 Seems like it depends on the pay grade.
Speaker 7: 01:35:50 Yeah.
Ald. Allen: 01:35:55 I mean, if they’re just starting, I mean beginning.
Ronda: 01:35:56 It still does depend a little bit though, on the type of job.
Speaker 7: 01:35:59 What type of job.
Ronda: 01:36:00 An airfield painter obviously is going to be paid more than an airfield maintenance worker, or [crosstalk 01:36:05].
Ald. Allen: 01:36:10 Okay, so how much does an airfield maintenance worker start at?
Jeff: 01:36:14 Well, they’re like a 13G and the airfield maintenance painter is a trade position.
Ald. Allen: 01:36:17 Okay, so they’re not.
Ronda: 01:36:18 Yeah, ’cause they’re.
Jeff: 01:36:18 ‘Cause airfield maintenance painter, are the ones that paint the stripes, the numbers, all the one ways, and [inaudible 01:36:24] so, it’s a skill, yeah.
Ald. Allen: 01:36:18 I gotcha. It’s a little more technical, it’s a skill labor.
Jeff: 01:36:30 Mm-hmm (affirmative). Like as the actual numbers, I don’t know I’m sorry.
Don: 01:36:32 I don’t know the numbers either, but the employees that we represent are non skilled employees.
Ald. Allen: 01:36:38 So it would be quite lower.
Ronda: 01:36:38 If you [crosstalk 01:36:43].
Don: 01:36:46 Oh yeah they’re some of the lowest paid city employees.
Ald. Allen: 01:36:46 [crosstalk 01:36:47].
Ronda: 01:36:46 No, no. [crosstalk 01:36:48].
Ald. Allen: 01:36:51 And that doesn’t include [inaudible 01:36:52].
Ronda: 01:36:53 That’s correct, the benefits, not the 401K contribution, their vacation, or anything like that, but I think it’s around 25,000 is what the custodians start out on, [crosstalk 01:37:04].
Speaker 10: 01:36:53 [crosstalk 01:37:03].
Ald. Comb: 01:37:07 I won’t, I’m sorry, so there was an executive order by the previous administration that all city employees should be [inaudible 01:37:14] the 10 10.
Speaker 7: 01:37:07 Right, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ald. Comb: 01:37:07 [crosstalk 01:37:16].
Speaker 7: 01:37:17 Right, we don’t have any employees in the 10 10.
Ald. Comb: 01:37:23 Well if they’re getting 25,000 a year, they are [inaudible 01:37:24].
Ronda: 01:37:25 Well, if you could [inaudible 01:37:24] we think you made that memo.
Ald. Comb: 01:37:25 [inaudible 01:37:26].
Ald. Allen: 01:37:25 So, and the 10 10, no.
Ald. Comb: 01:37:25 Because there’s a critical 10 14 as of 2008 or [inaudible 01:37:26].
Speaker 7: 01:37:25 So, okay.
Ronda: 01:37:25 So that’s what they work for.
Ald. Comb: 01:37:26 That’s 20,800 there so that, and then let me make … so imagine that they make, let me, I’m making some presumptions here but I’m imagining that we’re starting them bare with the 10 10 per hour out at the airport.
Ronda: 01:37:49 If we don’t set that, but I think you make, any group that wasn’t there was brought up to that minimum. So it could be that the starting was, now remember we’re not hiring any custodials at this point, internally. So the majority of the team that we have here are senior employees, meaning there’s a lot of employees making, 10 15 20, so.
Ald. Allen: 01:38:06 So that 10 10 would represent their actual pay, not including benefits.
Ronda: 01:38:14 That’s correct, yeah it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
Ald. Comb: 01:38:14 That’s just [inaudible 01:38:18].
Ald. Allen: 01:38:17 Yeah, wages.
Ronda: 01:38:19 Just the wages, yeah. And as I said, the majority of them are senior people, they’re not junior force, so they would be at the higher part up in that pay range.
Ald. Comb: 01:38:19 [inaudible 01:38:29].
Ald. Allen: 01:38:30 We can research [inaudible 01:38:31].
Jeff: 01:38:31 Do you have the pay ordinances for the job title?
Ald. Allen: 01:38:36 Yeah.
Ronda: 01:38:37 And then, obviously on the airfield side, with the maintenance workers, and the painters. There is quite a bit or opportunity for overtime, especially in the winter months, because we’ve got, we have mandated snow call. And so they get, there is a premium that they get between November and April, November 15 April 15, whatever the date is specifically. Because we require them to be on call, the crews, we have to run the airport in the snow. And then when they are actually called up, obviously there’s overtime. We have a short window we get a lot of the paining done, so this is peak season, trying to get the painting done. And so there are opportunities for overtime in that classification.
Ald. Allen: 01:38:37 Okay.
Speaker 7: 01:38:37 Interesting. Alright.
Ald. Allen: 01:39:26 That’s all.
Speaker 7: 01:39:27 That’s all? Okay Alderwoman [inaudible 01:39:31].
Speaker 11: 01:39:31 No questions.
Speaker 7: 01:39:31 Alderwoman Gracia.
Ald. Gracia: 01:39:35 Just one, Jeff you mentioned Al Bond, is that?
Jeff: 01:39:35 Yes.
Ald. Gracia: 01:39:41 Okay, I’m not sure who that is.
Jeff: 01:39:42 He’s the executive secretary treasurer of regional counsel.
Ald. Gracia: 01:39:46 Oh wow.
Jeff: 01:39:47 He replaced Terry Nelson.
Speaker 7: 01:39:48 Oh Terry, okay.
Jeff: 01:39:48 A couple years ago.
Ald. Gracia: 01:39:48 Okay.
Jeff: 01:39:50 So Al Bond’s [inaudible 01:39:51].
Ald. Gracia: 01:39:51 Okay.
Speaker 7: 01:39:52 We don’t see him much.
Jeff: 01:39:52 No.
Speaker 7: 01:39:52 Okay.
Ald. Gracia: 01:39:57 Okay, thank you.
Jeff: 01:39:57 But like especially since it was in the paper that he supported [inaudible 01:39:58], so.
Speaker 7: 01:39:57 [inaudible 01:39:58].
Ald. Gracia: 01:39:57 Okay, that’s it, thank you.
Speaker 7: 01:39:58 Interesting, okay, Alderwoman Green.
Ald. Green: 01:40:08 Do you, speaking of employee [inaudible 01:40:11], have you done any comparisons of similar sized airports in markets like ours, and what their staff I making? In terms of the wages that we are paying here.
Jeff: 01:40:08 Yes.
Ald. Green: 01:40:08 Can you … Okay.
Jeff: 01:40:08 But recently no.
Ald. Green: 01:40:33 Okay, just curious to see how far we are off from employee wages, better being paid in other areas.
Speaker 10: 01:40:39 They’re doing some studies I don’t think it’s at the airport. I know water is the one we just made reference to, they started with American Water they came up, in fact Richard Frank, Mr. Frank’s sister works for the personnel department, so she was able to give us that accurate figure or $26 as their starting wage, compared to our $14 and some change.
Ald. Green: 01:41:06 Okay.
Don: 01:41:06 [crosstalk 01:41:07].
Ronda: 01:41:10 The airport’s council on … I apologize.
Don: 01:41:12 No, I was just gonna add, that we also know that over that water department, the customer service representatives, these are the people that work at the counters, that take in payments and things, took a look at how they compare to MSD itself and there was a pretty big discrepancy there also, so. I think they’re meeting [inaudible 01:41:34] a moment when Tyrus?
Ald. Allen: 01:41:38 Tyrus.
Ald. Green: 01:41:39 Tyrus.
Don: 01:41:40 Yeah, some [crosstalk 01:41:41] information on that, so.
Ronda: 01:41:42 And, Airports Council International, which is a trade organization that airports belong to, they publish an annual list of comparable workers by industry at the various airports across the country. So you can see, and I do know that the HR department uses that list to look at.
Jeff: 01:42:04 Say it’s been in the [inaudible 01:42:05] two years.
Ronda: 01:42:06 Probably, they publish I said annually, but that is one opportunity to pull everything from comparable airports, obviously we have the coastal airports which are gonna be in a different category, but.
Ald. Green: 01:42:17 What was the name of that again?
Ronda: 01:42:18 It’s Airports Council International, and it’s our trade organization as an airport, and within that they publicize compensation surveys. Compensation study, what’s it called? Antonio is the … it’s the compensation study of all comparable workers at airports and [inaudible 01:42:38].
Ald. Green: 01:42:38 I’ll look that up, thank you.
Speaker 7: 01:42:45 Okay, so I wanna go back quickly to airport privatization a little bit, because some of the questions I’ve been asked, by employees mainly is, they don’t think anybody is interested in what happens to them, okay, and that is far from the truth.
Jeff: 01:43:12 Absolutely.
Speaker 7: 01:43:12 Far from the truth. We have a responsibility to make sure that they’re okay. In regards to what the privatization would show us, even if it shows that we could have some kind of a profit, or whatever it shows us, we still have a responsibility to care about the employees. And we will do that. So I wanted to make sure that you share that with your people that you represent, and I’m really interested because at the end of the day, when you can’t respect people who choose to stay in a job, a low paying job and do the job well, then there’s something wrong with you as an entity. And so I have problems with that. And I’m learned that a long time ago, from being a new steward. Because if you can’t respect my employees and treat them well, then I’m gonna show you a different way of paying. And usually it’s coming out of your pocket. So we have to make sure that they understand that part of it. And they have to also not, not hurt themselves, by not performing at their best during this period of time. Please share that with them. Because that only hurts the cause.
Jeff: 01:44:36 Well, to thank you as a group of Alderman, Alderwomen for making it more transparent, it’s eased a lot of anxiety by a lot of people. They felt it was being forced and hidden by a different agenda, and they had no control and now you’ve kind of been transparent so, I think it’s eased a little bit. They’re still concerned.
Speaker 7: 01:44:36 Absolutely, they should be.
Jeff: 01:44:41 But it seems to be a little bit more fair than appeared initially, so.
Ald. Allen: 01:45:08 Well I think that you bring.
Speaker 7: 01:45:08 Go right ahead.
Ald. Allen: 01:45:09 Things that just [inaudible 01:45:09]. It will lay some of the trepidation that is going on behind the scenes.
Jeff: 01:45:09 Right.
Ald. Allen: 01:45:26 And whether or not the airport can be privatized, [inaudible 01:45:19]. Someone that [inaudible 01:45:23] one of our biggest assets, [inaudible 01:45:27] our front door, abandoning that to someone that we many not have control over is concerning to me. I think that however, taking a look to see what kind of efficiencies or what we can do maybe to make the airport better if that’s truly what this is about, I think is a good thing. I think if we can maybe take some information.
Speaker 7: 01:45:26 Right.
Ald. Allen: 01:45:53 Then maybe find some ways to provide better service and bring us up to that area where we need to be competitive and maybe get more flights in here, so. Sometimes you have to compromise and give that information to decide how best to move forward, so. And I think [inaudible 01:46:22].
Speaker 7: 01:46:22 I still think there’ll be a learning opportunity for all of us. I know you’re so busy doing what you do every day, that you don’t always have an opportunity to step back and analyze what you’re doing. And basically that’s what this is going to be. An exploration of information and how the operations runs and the way we look at things like this, and I unfortunately had a job like that, and a lot of people didn’t like me, I had to go in and audit departments for a Fortune 500 company, and when we go in to a department to look at how it’s run, sometimes people would be afraid, to just simply share. And that’s something that cannot happen in this operation either. We can’t have anything hidden, ’cause it’s not gonna help anything, it will probably hurt. We’ve gotta be as open as possible, and we also need to understand that at the end of the day, the decision is gonna be made by us, not by the outside group that is doing the exploration. Now, they may have all kinds of beliefs about a lot of things, but at the end of the day, we know what the process is.
Speaker 7: 01:47:41 And that’s why we have to work together. And I could never state it enough in those kind of situations. If we don’t all work together then we can’t get the best outcome. And that’s what we wanna have, is the best outcome. And sometimes that means, that you’ll change some things. But we don’t know that until we explore, so let’s be open with it, when you see something you think is not right, come and tell somebody, don’t just sit on it. Come and tell somebody.
Jeff: 01:48:16 You know [inaudible 01:48:17].
Speaker 7: 01:48:17 I know you. And I like that, I like that, so we wanna keep that open line of communication, it’s critical. I also wanted to make sure that before we end this part of it, that I thought there was another union group here.
Ronda: 01:48:17 They opted not to come.
Speaker 7: 01:48:40 Oh, they opted not to come, okay, interesting. See what I’m talking about?
Ald. Allen: 01:48:43 What group was that?
Ronda: 01:48:43 [inaudible 01:48:46].
Speaker 12: 01:48:43 [inaudible 01:48:48] Level one electricians.
Jeff: 01:48:51 There was a guy earlier when I interviewed staff.
Ronda: 01:48:51 Okay.
Jeff: 01:48:51 He just didn’t feel like, he only had a limited amount of time.
Ronda: 01:48:58 Not much time, okay.
Ald. Gracia: 01:48:59 That was electrician?
Speaker 7: 01:49:02 Electricians, yeah.
Jeff: 01:49:02 Electrician.
Speaker 7: 01:49:03 Well, we’ll make sure that they’re heard, okay.
Jeff: 01:49:03 Yeah.
Speaker 7: 01:49:06 So we’ll make an opportunity for them to be heard.
Jeff: 01:49:06 He did sit in for about a half hour.
Speaker 7: 01:49:06 Oh, okay.
Ronda: 01:49:06 Okay.
Speaker 7: 01:49:10 Okay, well, we’ll make sure that-
Ald. Allen: 01:49:12 But he was on the job I guess?
Jeff: 01:49:14 Right.
Speaker 7: 01:49:14 Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). And then I have to repeat the importance there too, at the higher level. So I’ll make the right calls and make sure that they understand that this is important. It’s really important. I want the public to hear, it’s not, I don’t want them to hear from us, I want them to hear from you. So, that’s critical.
Speaker 10: 01:49:31 I wanna just add one thing, before I took this position, I used to travel, I used to fly about eight times a month, eight flights a month, when you arrive at the city, just like anything it’s your first impression.
Speaker 7: 01:49:31 Yes.
Speaker 10: 01:49:45 It’s your first impression. As we paint the arch, and [inaudible 01:49:49], and different things on the walls of our city, is that what we’re gonna get if we turn it over to somebody else, are they truly gonna have the heart of the city, and the city its best interest. Sometimes I can’t [inaudible 01:50:03].
Speaker 7: 01:50:05 I can agree with you on that.
Ronda: 01:50:08 One additional thing and I appreciate your comments about the employees. It has been really tough on the employees around here.
Speaker 7: 01:50:13 Sure.
Ronda: 01:50:14 I mean, there’s a lot of angst, we haven’t had a lot of information to share with them, so it’s been really tough, and we’ve seen a turnover rate higher than what we’ve seen in a long time. So I think anything … we can only, we can share with them, that they shouldn’t be concerned. And I agree, I think you telling everybody … But the airport’s best defense is to make sure that we’re doing our job right everyday. And that’s the strongest statement we can do, but any additional input that would give reconfirmation to the employees, that people are concerned about them, it would be well appreciated. ‘Cause it has been a tough year for the employees.
Jeff: 01:50:14 [inaudible 01:50:57].
Ronda: 01:50:59 Oh yeah.
Ald. Allen: 01:51:05 Well and I think the employees do make [inaudible 01:51:05].
Ronda: 01:51:05 [inaudible 01:51:05].
Ald. Allen: 01:51:05 Yeah, we can’t just [inaudible 01:51:07].
Speaker 7: 01:51:17 I can appreciate that, so the next part of our agenda is.
Ronda: 01:51:26 We’ll have lunch [inaudible 01:51:24], so I think we can release all of you guys, if you’re finished with your questions.
Speaker 7: 01:51:30 We good.
Speaker 10: 01:51:32 Thank you. [crosstalk 01:51:33]
Ronda: 01:51:36 Thank you for coming out. [crosstalk 01:51:37] And then the [crosstalk 01:51:37].
PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:51:44]
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