The Citizen-Times is not happy that a whole lot of people from the Asheville Regional Airport Authority are going on a junket to Hawaii. Rhett Grotzinger, a member of the board who has a reputation among local air enthusiasts as a common-sense and knowledgeable person when it comes to aviation issues, seems to be the only person with legitimate business. His comments indicate he is going to the meeting to learn about near-term government regulation and funding of the industry. The absence of substance in comments from board members holding elective office incriminate their utterers as enjoying a holiday at taxpayer expense.

Grotzinger was surprised to find out fellow board members would be attending the Aviation Issues Conference. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe) had such a hard time making Airport Authority meetings, a special teleconference phone was installed on her behalf. Fisher is already in Maui, and will be attending the meeting to improve her effectiveness as a board member. Buncombe County Chair David Gantt is going to make connections. He claimed connections made in the past may have helped the airport get $7 million in porkulus in 2009.

A total of four board members have opted for lower-end (approx. $250/night) rooms at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali for six subsidized nights each. Grotzinger, who has an issue with fancy resorts, will be staying elsewhere for $135/night. All have opted to extend their stays at their own expense. Average airfare will be $1212. The total estimated damage to taxpayers is $17,000, which, in terms of government budgets, is trace.