San Marcos Municipal Airport. Public domain image.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The San Marcos City Council cleared the runway towards the privatization of the San Marcos Municipal Airport this week, directing the city staff to negotiate a management contract with Texas Aviation Partners of Austin.
Though the city would retain ownership of the airport, its administration, operations and maintenance, repair and upkeep, and its development and redevelopment would be put into the hands of the private enterprise.
Aside from the city council’s blessing, the San Marcos Airport Commission seems to also be on board, with the exception of Commissioner Shaune Maycock who voiced disapproval at a Monday special meeting.
Maycock said he isn’t against the move towards the private market, but is concerned that the process has moved quickly with only one bidder. Maycock went so far as to allege wrong-doing and backroom deals in the process, drawing fire from other members of the commission.
San Marcos Interim City Manager Laurie Moyer said the process has followed open and normal conditions.
On May 2, the city issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the operation of the airport, which drew only a proposal from Texas Aviation Partners. Moyer said 44 firms picked up the advertisement and three downloaded the RFP, but only Texas Aviation responded.
Maycock said he was displeased that Airport Commission Chairman Chuck Nash participated in the interviewing process with Texas Aviation. Maycock said that Nash isn’t a city employee and, therefore, should not have sat in the interview. Maycock said that if the city wanted an opinion from the commission, it should have asked the commission as a whole.
Airport Commissioner Ted Dake said the commission is transparent and not guilty of backroom deals.
“I haven’t been involved in any (backroom deals), and I haven’t seen any,” said Dake, who went on to call Maycock immature and hotheaded. Dake later questioned the city council as to how it allowed an airport vendor onto the airport commission. Maycock is the former president and CEO of Blue Skies Aviation, a company specializing in aircraft maintenance, inspections and major repairs and alterations out of the San Marcos airport. He now is the company’s director of maintenance. Maycock’s wife, Christie Maycock, now is the president and CEO of Blue Skies Aviation.
San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz said all San Marcos residents are allowed to apply for positions on any of the city’s boards and commissions.
Airport Commissioner Charles Soechting urged councilmembers to investigate Maycock’s allegations, which he called “reckless,” “untrue” and “defamatory.” Soechting suggested that the San Marcos Ethics Commission look into the alleged backroom deals and put the matter to rest.
Narvaiz said the matter would be put into a future council agenda for discussion and possible action.
In directing Moyer to begin negotiations, the city council stipulated that there should be a clause in the contract allowing for early termination by both parties. The council also wanted a turn-key option and language allowing for profit sharing, only after all costs associated with the airport’s operations and maintenance are covered. The council didn’t provide a specific length to the contract, but tasked Moyer with ironing out the details.
“The San Marcos airport has tremendous potential,” said Texas Aviation Partner Jim Parker, alluding to the airport’s proximity to Interstate-35 and its location between Austin and San Antonio.
According to Texas Aviation’s website, both Parker and Texas Aviation Partner Jim Wimberly have experience in the airline industry, specifically with Southwest Airlines. Parker is a lawyer by trade, serving as counsel and ultimately CEO of Southwest Airlines, while Wimberly has served as airport manager for William P. Hobby Airport in Houston and as vice president of ground operations for Southwest Airlines in Dallas.
Texas Aviation Partner Darin Davis owns a private equity firm dealing with debts and private equity investments. Partner Stephen Alexander owns a property and a project management firm.
(Editor’s note: The above has been revised to say that Shaune Maycock, the former president and CEO of Blue Skies Aviation, now is that company’s director of maintenance. Christie Maycock now is the president and CEO of Blue Skies Aviation.)Email | Print