Former Airport Director asserts special interests involved at GCAA; files FOIA request

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During a short Greenbrier County Commission meeting on Tuesday, former Greenbrier Valley Airport Director Stephen Snyder took the opportunity to air his criticisms for the vote by the Greenbrier County Airport Authority (GCAA) to remove him as director.

He also asserted that two board members have conflicts of interest, putting them incompliant with the state code.

Including the county commission with his rebukes of the airport authority, Snyder said, “You all knew from the very beginning that if you felt I wasn’t serving the people of this region in a proper manner, that you could ask me to leave at any time, and I would have done so with no fuss and no muss,” he said. “But you didn’t elect to do that.”

Snyder claimed his termination on June 18 was done with no notice and no preparation for the “thousands of documents in a computer,” which he said nobody knows where they are or how to take custody of them.

“Do not put this airport at risk for your own lack of a better plan for a logical transition,” he said during the public comment period at the meeting, according to the West Virginia Daily News.

Snyder stated he has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the commission for a number of documents from emails during his employment as airport director to various communications with the commissioners. In a prior phone interview with the Mountain Messenger, Snyder had said, as airport director, he “tried to keep special interests at bay,” but “you cannot ruffle the feathers of special interests.”

Commission President Lowell Rose said he did not agree with “ninety-nine percent” of Snyder’s remarks but said he would abide by the FOIA request.

At the close of the meeting, Commissioner Mike McClung thanked Snyder for his service at the airport. McClung, whose view of Snyder’s account countered those of Rose, said, “People, you cannot imagine what a pile of manure [Snyder] stepped in when he got to the airport, but you can see where it is now, McClung said. “That man is basically the savior of the airport and it’s a shame we are where we are now.”

Snyder was brought in and hired as airport manager in early 2015, and saw the airport through the struggle for a new, more efficient air travel service with SkyWest Airlines. He also served to push for more airport improvements. But, by late 2018, tensions arose between the airport and the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) after the airport considered opening their own CVB. Snyder’s defense of the idea of an airport CVB may have led, directly or indirectly, to the vote to dismiss him as airport director.