EASTMAN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A bill passed by Georgia lawmakers could abolish the Heart of Georgia Regional Airport Authority and transfer responsibilities to the Dodge County-Eastman Development Authority.
Georgia State Representative Jimmy Pruett introduced the legislation to "streamline the daily operations" at the airport. Pruett argues that it will make things easier since both authorities own land near the runway.
"We would have more continuity between the agencies working together," Pruett said.
But Eddie Driggers doesn't agree. Driggers is the Heart of Georgia Regional Airport Authority chairman.
"Since we've been the sitting board here, representative Pruett has passed two legislation this year and last year, and has never spoken to us," Driggers said.
With the pending bill, the authority has had to put certain projects on hold. Driggers said this will only complicate things in the future.
"He's not acting in the best interest, because he's not holding public debates on this," Driggers stated.
The chairman has been meeting with legal counsel and has been in touch with elected officials about the legislation. This isn't the first time Pruett has had legal dilemmas with the authority. The representative is mentioned in an ongoing civil lawsuit between the airport authority and Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Bank of Eastman and Colony Bank. He said the legislation has nothing to do with the lawsuit.
"I don't know if there's any validity to it whatsoever," Pruett said.
The bill was passed by the House and Senate. If Governor Nathan Deal signs the bill, the airport authority will immediately be abolished.