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June 12, 2013

Suggestion about L-3 lease offered

GREENVILLE — One local resident is urging the Greenville City Council to take tips from the City Charter when it comes to the negotiations involving a new lease agreement with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems at Majors Field, the City of Greenville Municipal Airport.

Steve Ramsey spoke during the Citizens to be Heard portion of Tuesday’s Council meeting, regarding the issues which have recently arisen about the negotiations.

Ramsey said there “are a significant group of people in the community” who believe the agreement is being negotiated by people chosen by L-3. Ramsey said the public needs to know there will be “ample transparency” prior to the Council taking any vote on a contract.

“I’m here to help you,” Ramsey said. “Our City Charter addresses this subject.”

Ramsey referred to sections 120-123 of the Charter, the city’s governing document, which establishes the procedures to be implemented should there be any transfer of control of city property or granting a franchise.

“There must be three public hearings at three separate, regularly scheduled City Council meetings,” Ramsey said. “The public is to be given notice and the right to review the contract for at least 10 days before the first meeting. The Council cannot vote until after the third public hearing, which must be at least 30 days after the first.”

Although the negotiations with L-3 are not believed to involve transferring the control of the airport, and do not involve granting a franchise to the defense contractor, Ramsey said following the steps outlined in the Charter would provide transparency and allow for public input in the process.

“Following our constitution, our City Charter, would go a long way toward making these actions appear they are being done in good faith,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey asked the Council to place an item on the next regular session agenda on June 25, stating that the granting of an L-3 lease must follow the guidelines for granting a franchise.

The Council did not comment on Ramsey’s suggestion and was prohibited from taking action, as it was not listed as an action on Tuesday’s agenda.

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