Mt. Vernon Register-News

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April 18, 2013

Authority puts request on hold

MT. VERNON — Following a lengthy executive session Thursday night, commissioners of the Mt. Vernon Airport Authority tabled a vacation request submitted by former administrative assistant Mary Barnett-Johnson.

Barnett-Johnson, who resigned on Feb. 25, had requested she be given the two-week vacation time that she had accrued while employed by the airport.

Barnett-Johnson pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in February to the theft of government funds in the form of Social Security benefits from her deceased mother. Barnett-Johnson reportedly received $85,353 in Social Security payments from August 2003 through September 2011. Her mother died in 2003.

"We've done everything we can to check on the finances of our operation, working under the direction of our auditors," said Manager Chris Collins. "We sent all letters to all of our tenants, about 50 in all, to check balances as of Dec. 31, 2012. We've gotten back all but six responses, and all of them we've gotten back have been spot on with our accounts."

Collins said officials have found some questionable charges on the airport's credit card account, although the amounts are not unreasonable. Those charges are still under investigation.

"We want to check everything out," Collins said. "We want to be fair, but we also want to do what's right for the taxpayers."

Barnett-Johnson was employed by the Airport Authority just shy of six years, according to Collins. Sheila Jolly-Scrivner was hired in March as the airport's new administrative assistant.

During the treasurer's report, Collins told commissioners the airport will not make a huge profit this year, although the budget amounts are close to projections. The Fiscal Year started on May 1, 2012, and ends on April 30.

Collins noted the airport has taken hits on insurance costs, caused by door damage to one of the hangars, a worker's compensation claim, and switching casualty insurance to a three-year contract with a new carrier.

"We got a rebate on the first one, but we were already two months into the new contract," Collins said.

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