Bohnsack resigns as Rock Island County airport authority chairman amid watchdog complaints
After a watchdog group raised red flags with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) over the reappointment of Rock Island County Metropolitan Airport Authority Chairman James Bohnsack, he has stepped down from the position, according to a report in the Quad-City Times.
John Malvik, vice chairman for the airport authority who is set to become chairman in July, will fill in for Bohnsack in the interim, the report said.
The decision came after Edgar County Watchdogs wrote that not only did Bohnsack live outside the airport authority’s jurisdiction, but with his recent reappointment to the Andalusia Fire Protection Andalusia board, he would be serving a dual role on two governing boards. Both situations violated the Airport Authorities Act, according to the watchdog group.
Bohnsack had been serving on both boards simultaneously, the Quad-City Times reports, with a three-year term on the fire district that began in 2015 and a four-year term as airport authority chairman that started in 2014. He told the Quad-City Times he didn’t know there had been a rules violation.
"By rights, I can't do both," Bohnsack told the Times. The “last appointment takes you off your previous appointment.”
The Times reported that Kenneth “Moose” Maranda, chairman of the Rock Island County board, cited an opinion from the Illinois attorney general stating no conflict of interest existed between the positions.
“Nothing has been proven to me that there is anything illegal,” he told the Times.
However, J.M. Kraft, writing on the Edgar County Watchdogs website, said, “We doubt (Maranda) has even read the Airport Authorities Act, or his is simply trying to save face on his ineligible appointment.”
If Bohnsack had not resigned, IDOT would have issued a ruling, according to a statement John McGehee, the Rock Island County state’s attorney, gave to the Times.
“People are interested in how this issue is progressing,” he told the Q-C Times.
The Times reported Bohnsack stepped down to concentrate on his role with the fire protection board.
"You could fight it, or make the commissioners make a choice (if he should serve), but that's not fair at all," he told the Times. "It's a good group of commissioners and they have a lot of work to do right now with Bruce (Carter) retiring. It's a great airport and everything is on a great curve, I don't want to slow it down."