Citing blatant conflict of interest, the Business Council of Westchester (BCW), the county’s only business membership organization focusing on economic development and advocacy, along with its Coalition for Westchester Airport have called for the immediate resignation of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Westchester County Airport Advisory Board.
In a letter read and submitted at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Advisory Board (copy attached), BCW Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John Ravitz said that Advisory Board Chairman Peter Schlactus and Vice Chair Jonathan Wang were both highly active in leading airport opposition groups, and were using their positions on the county-appointed Advisory Board as a platform to promote opposition to the airport’s operations including making basic safety improvements.
In the letter, Ravitz states that Schlactus has been going door-to-door soliciting support for the Coalition to Prevent the Expansion of Westchester Airport, and handing out flyers (copy attached) urging support for the group which includes a half dozen organizations that are highly critical of the airport. Wang is the founder of the Citizens for a Responsible County Airport, a member of that coalition, and the leading critic of the airport’s operations.
“We want to emphasize that we fully recognize and support the right of citizens to express their views about the airport including criticizing its operations,” Ravitz said. “What is not acceptable is using the Advisory Board as a vehicle to promote the agendas of the opposition groups. Schlactus and Wang are not even vaguely impartial. If they want to lead the opposition groups, that’s their right, but they shouldn’t be running the county-appointed Advisory Board that needs to look at all sides of the issues in a fair and balanced way.”
The Advisory Board includes representatives of the four Westchester municipalities bordering the airport, as well as other residents and ex-officio representatives of the County Board of Legislators and administration. Schlactus and Wang were appointed to the board last year and took their leadership roles in January.
The Coalition for Westchester Airport was formed in August 2018 so that it could provide a reasoned voice to the public debate, separating myths from facts about enhancing the delivery of services at the airport. The Coalition is comprised of businesses large and small, as well as labor organizations, educators and nonprofits. Learn more at http://coalitionforwestchesterairport.org/.