This is an open letter to the citizens and all the commissioners of Franklin County.

Electoral districts were originally enacted to give our minority community in the county a voice in government, an important idea that originally worked. But in recent years in our county, it has evolved into more.

Acting commissioners’ district “home rule” has become the flavor of the day. If a commissioner wants something to happen or not happen in his district, he must silently agree to do the same for other district commissioners.

This was not the intent of districting.

Just a few weeks ago at the commission meeting, it has evolved into projects with regional implications in the county.

Commissioner Lockley asked commissioners to reinstate the Apalachicola Airport Advisory Committee. It was met with fire from Commissioner Parrish, stating it was his district and “home rule” applies, further stating we don't need an aviation advisory committee!

Most of the issues in this county, financial and otherwise, always comes back to the same issue. Commissioners should not micromanage. Commissioners should make decisions on behalf of all the electorate, with advice from professionals and advisory boards.

What do we have to look forward to next, get rid of the hospital board, the TDC etc...? If “home rule” has become the flavor of the day, should Commissioner Lockley make all decisions pertaining to the hospital? It’s in his district. And should Commissioner Jones ultimately be in charge of the ambulance and the sheriff’s department? It’s in his district. These are regional assets and “home rule” should never apply to regional assets that economically affect all the citizens of our county.

Apalachicola airport belongs to the people of Franklin County, not one district. We need an all-volunteer committee to oversee the airport manager and airport operations in the best interest of the entire county. This regional asset was the only airport open on the Panhandle during the first days of Hurricane Michael and provided relief, fuel supplies rescues and medicine to the region, saving countless lives. Currently, if presented properly, there is 100 percent grant money available for economic development, safety and jobs. This county asset could provide jobs and revenue to the county without damaging anyone's quality of life.

An Airport Advisory Committee advises the airport manager and the county on airport operations, with airport and business professionals. County commissioners can still disagree and choose not to implement the advice. It’s not losing control, it’s about moving forward and creating jobs and tax base. Most of all, to be friendly to the surrounding communities. This type of committee is the norm at every airport in America.

We have some of the best and brightest minds in the county at your ready. to serve and help bring jobs and tax base to the county. Commissioners, you have to see past “home rule” on this and do what is best for the county. Reinstate the Airport Advisory Committee. Commissioner Parish, you have an opportunity to help the whole county, not just your district, by supporting this airport. Myself and others look forward to working with you and the entire commission on the transportation hub study and the airport master plan.

Franklin County needs an anchor employer. We are here to help and listen. We care about our county and want to help all our citizens.

Steve Kirschenbaum

Former member, Apalachicola Airport Advisory Committee