CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte City Council voted 10-0 late Monday to vigorously resist any outside, unilateral efforts to transfer Charlotte Douglas Airport from city control to an independent authority, suggesting a potential lawsuit.

The vote came after council met for nearly two hours in closed session to discuss legal strategies. After the vote, City Manager Ron Carlee said it is considering all options to stop the current legislation under consideration in the N.C. General Assembly.

They will do what they need to do, Carlee said.

When asked whether the city would sue to stop the transfer, Carlee said he has no comment on litigation.

Council members have discussed in the past in closed session about the possibility of legal action to keep the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration would have to sign off on any transfer of Charlotte Douglas to an authority.

The N.C. Senate has passed a bill to transfer the airport to a 13-member authority within 90 days of passage. The N.C. House is considering a bill that would create an 11-member authority, and would transfer control immediately.

Carlee has said the House bill is worse than the Senate bill. He has said it would send the airport into chaos.

The resolution passed by council members also directed Carlee to study ways to improve the airport.

Carlee has been tasked with making sure airport finances are completely separated from the city; to make sure the airport s procurement practices are nimble ; to allow the airport to have a compensation system ... to attract and retain top talent ; to make sure airport security is the most cost effective.

The manager has previously said he would consider making all of those changes, including no longer having Charlotte-Mecklenburg police handle airport security.

The city put CMPD in charge of airport security in December. Airport officials privately criticized the change, which increased costs.

Aviation director Jerry Orr, who didn t attend Monday s meeting, has said he favors an authority. A city-hired consultant, Bob Hazel, also said the airport would be best run under what he called a properly structured authority.

Mayor Anthony Foxx did not participate in the closed session meeting. He is under consideration to be the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and recused himself due to a possible conflict. If confirmed by the Senate, Foxx would oversee the FAA, which would have to approve a airport transfer.

US Airways, the dominant carrier at Charlotte Douglas, has said it is neutral over the issue.

Democrat Claire Fallon did not attend the meeting.

Read or Share this story: