September 20, 2019
A few weeks ago we wrote about the need for more local control over boards and commissions and less influence by governors.
This week’s developments at Orlando’s airport graphically illustrated the point.
If not for the loud protests of two local elected officials on the airport’s governing board — Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings — the governor-appointed board members likely would have forged ahead with a plan for hiring new attorneys that was shot through with problems.
Dyer and Demings are the only people on the Greater Orlando Airport Authority accountable to the people of this region, and until this week they were the only two members willing to directly and forcefully call out the lack of transparency in choosing new attorneys.
Thanks to the backbone of Dyer and Demings — and to a lesser degree, authority member Ralph Martinez — other airport authority members were shamed into doing the right thing Wednesday.
Instead of hand-picking attorneys behind the scenes, the authority is going to to put the work out to bid to get the best attorneys at the best price. Imagine that.
This fiasco might have been avoided if the people who hatched the original plan knew they would have to answer to someone other than a governor who, according to recent reporting, is fond of handing out appointments to both campaign donors and people who have political connections to donors and supporters. (Four of the airport authority’s five gubernatorial appointments were made by DeSantis, the fifth was appointed by Rick Scott before he left office.)