We had 20 days to finish up all the college security and there were still some big decisions to make. I had decided that Marcy, Lorrie, Ching Lee, Vicky, Jason, Roseanne, Corry, Mark, and Cindy along with several clerks were going to be divided between the eight colleges during admission week to assist the security departments. When one college was finished they would go to the bigger ones.
Each college had a different admissions policy but they were close in line. Arriving students went through an orientation process, human resources or student resources along with other lectures. Somewhere along the way the financial end of it was confirmed or finalized. Each student received a packet that identified them through the process.
At all of the colleges that JBG had, the students ended up at security for new IDs that – along with a photo – had a magnetic strip that allowed them access to buildings, dorms, and other college facilities. There were several that also used the card for student lunch and book charges. JBG security assigned the dorm rooms and programmed the cards to open the doors.
There were 12000 of these cards to do in 5 days at eight locations. I was going to ask everyone to work 12 and 16 hour days for those 5 days. Everyone was going to be trained how to make the ID cards. It would be sink or swim for JBG security.
I would be on the sidelines at KCC and Jenny was lead prosecutor on a major international drug gang trial at an undisclosed location.
On the fifth I was sitting with Jenny, Lorrie and Jason in the Federal Court House in Baltimore, listening to motions, objections and a host of other rapid-fire legal terminology I did not understand. All the county commissioners and county attorneys were there.
There were media people everywhere, including Marley Kendal and her local competition Hanna Page. They both tried to get a statement when we came in but I avoided making any.
This process went on for hours before the Judge called all the parties to a conference in his chambers. Half an hour later the bailiff came out and handed me a note that said, “Bring your group and briefcase; follow the bailiff.”
Eric, as the representative for DHS, asked for the airport plot. It took twenty minutes for me to explain the plot, runways, terminal building and fuel farm. I had not made any notation on the plot about the agency hanger other than it was a hanger and the same with the radar spot.
Eric took his pen and wrote US Gov DHS in the hanger and on the radar wrote Doppler US Gov DHS/DOD. All of the county people had a surprised look on their faces as he finished his notes. The judge asked if JGB was willing to accept the designation as an emergency relief airport for the peninsula. “We are,” I replied and then we were asked to return to the courtroom.
A few minutes later they announced a settlement had been reached.
The county would have to repay the DHS 10 million of the 20 million and would be barred from receiving any DHS grants for 10 years. The Island Airport was stripped of the emergency status. The JBG Morton field would receive the status upon completion. An immediate grant was awarded by DHS to JBG Morton field to incorporate changes in construction to meet DHS needs. The FAA was to review the construction plans. The county and the state had approved the settlement and all conditions thereof.
I was not happy. I felt that the involvement of the FAA technically meant loss of control of the airport. The DHS and CIA would stay out of sight and out of mind because everything they did involved national secrets.
I did not say anything to Marcy or Lorrie – they were both pleased – Marcy with all the extra funding and Lorrie with legitimacy this gave the airport. The county had agreed to the terms and the Federal ruling ended any opposition from anyone before it started.
I told Lorrie that she could go ahead and add the airport to the website as a coming event for early next spring. We could have a big open house – maybe get some old military planes, maybe some new.
We stayed in the courtroom a few minutes – we would not have been able to get out any way. The media storm made leaving impossible, so we just talked for a few minutes.
Rodney came out to sit with us and invited us to Andrews Air Force Base on Saturday afternoon for a party with the group we had trained. Then he asked if I would train another group starting at the end of September – this time without the urgency of the last – for the same compensation.
“Sure,” I replied. By then the security group issues should be long over with.
A half an hour had passed by with our conversation with Rodney. I promised that the trainers would be there. He gave the information we needed to get there and into the restricted area.
I hoped by now the media would have left but I was not that lucky. Marley and Hanna were both still waiting and a national outlet was still offering opinions for their studio people.
I answered Hanna’s questions first. “Was I satisfied with the ruling against the county?”
“As a taxpayer I am somewhat relieved that there were no fines against the county for us to pay with our taxes. Even though the funding was misappropriated, it was accounted for. The repayment of the 10 million over ten years is doable without causing a tax increase as long as the county allows reasonable growth to continue. There has been that much above the required budget that has been spent on lace and dressing programs each year,” I replied.
Marley asked, “The airport construction had been a low key project, until this hearing and the designation as an emergency relief airport has changed all that. Is this going to put additional pressures on JBG as a corporation?”
“We designed and planned the airport in a size we could afford and in a way to continue to expand as the in-house funds became available. The airport came about as we expanded our flight division into crop dusting.”
“There was a runway on the farm that needed improving. The farm and crop dusting came as a package. We have pilots that are looking for more hours and have done dusting. We had pilots that are instructors and needed a better location. With the new landing system, more advanced training can be done and it will be safer,” I replied. “It just made sense.”
“The property is posted. Can I get a guided tour sometime?” Marley asked with a grin.
“I will see if I can set it up,” I replied with a wink.
“Can I get in on that tour, too?” Hanna asked, not to be left out. It was easy to see she was upset that she had not asked that question. She was still learning.
Jenny and Lorrie walked ahead of us to their car and out of hearing distance. I was watching the hip action as they walked.
Jason said, “I think Jenny is putting on some weight,”
“Stress does different things to different people. I think it makes her eat a little more,” I replied.
We had decided to spill the beans on the Labor Day holiday. Now, I wondered if we could put it off that long. There was a little more rock and roll with the steps; the kind that drove some men crazy and a few women, too.
Edit by Alfmeister