Top 2 airport board members abruptly step down

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HEBRON, Ky. (AP) -- Three members of the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport Board have stepped down including the chairman and vice chairman.

The action comes after months of turmoil at the agency including questions about spending that led to an investigation by the Kentucky State Auditor's office and controversy over personnel.

The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/1cHfoIV) reported that Kenton County Judge-executive Steve Arlinghaus said in a statement that Chairman Jim Huff and Vice Chairman Larry Savage resigned on Friday, effective immediately.

Arlinghaus said he would appoint Erlanger resident Bill Robinson III and Villa Hills resident Kathy Collins to make up for the departures.

In addition, executive board member Mark Arnzen resigned. Arlinghaus appointed Fort Mitchell resident Chad Summe to replace him.

The changes won't make a difference in the nature of the state's investigation, said Stephenie Hoelscher, who is the spokeswoman for Auditor Adam Edelen. The probe is seeking information on the spending of public money on travel, meals and alcohol.

In addition, Huff and Savage have been involved in a dispute with airport CEO Candace McGraw that has involved unsuccessful attempts to fire her.

Arlinghaus referred questions about the resignations to Robinson, who said he is "optimistic that the board will approve" him as chairman.

When asked about McGraw's employment status, Robinson responded: "I know Candace enough to say 'hello' to her. I just got appointed. I'm looking forward to getting to know her."

Huff and Savage released a joint statement that says they have always worked to improve the airport.

"Both of us brought years of business experience and leadership to the board, and we have used that experience to make our airport and our region stronger. Therefore, in keeping with our original commitment ... it is our hope that our resignations will enable CVG to address the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."

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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com