September 17, 2008

Not All on Board With Hiring Consultant

By Nadia Malik

[email protected]

An initiative by the manager to find direction for Chicago Executive Airport will likely fall through because of concerns about cost.

However, a pared-down version of a strategic planning session for Prospect Heights and Wheeling - the co-owners of the airport - may still be an option.

Airport manager Dennis Rouleau put out the idea of hiring a consultant at about $45,000 at the board's Wednesday meeting. The consultant would help come up with a consensus on what both towns envision as the future of the airport.

"I think it would be a better idea to have an outside party come," Rouleau said.

However, Mark Rooney, a member of the airport board and Wheeling village manager, said he questions spending so much money to hire someone outside the airport.

"You could lead this yourself, I believe," he said, addressing Rouleau.

Board member David Kolssak agreed, saying Rouleau knows all the players involved at the airport.

"That's an awful lot of money," he said. "I'm not so sure we're that misguided right now."

Pam Arrigoni, an airport board member and the city manager of Prospect Heights, disagreed and said an outside force is needed to work with the two towns, who have had a rough relationship in the past.

"I just think it's a tantamount project," she said.

Rouleau said he can come back to the board with a skimmed-down proposal, where he would do some of the work on his own and hire the outside consultant only for portions that the board deems necessary.

If approved, the planning sessions would go hand in hand with a project to create a master plan for the airport.

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