The issue of whether to go out for bids for an attorney at Charleston County Aviation Authority will take center stage when the board meets April 17.

The 13-member board is expected to hear different scenarios for hiring the main attorney and possibly bringing on board a separate staff attorney.

Summerville resident Arnold Goodstein, 69, has served as legal counsel for the airport board for 20 years, but several board members want the agency to follow its procurement code and receive bids for legal services.

Board chairman Andy Savage also has proposed the board consider hiring a staff attorney, someone to learn to ropes of inner airport workings either under Goodstein, if he remains the attorney after June, or a new attorney if one is hired to replace Goodstein.

The issue needs to be resolved because the Aviation Authority is about to start talking about the spending plan for next year, according to Paul Campbell, director of Charleston County's three airports.

He wants the decision to be made by May so the costs can be included in the agency's new budget year that starts in July.

Goodstein currently earns just over $250,000. The board agreed in January to boost his pay by 6.5 percent through June. After that, he might not be the attorney anymore. It hinges on how the board sets up legal counsel services in the budget.

Goodstein's service came under fire last fall when the board considered giving him a $30,000 raise.

Some board and community members questioned why professional services didn't go for bids as the agency's procurement code dictates.

Procurement changes

The airport's procurement code has been changed about seven times since it was first written in 1983. The board is looking to replace the original 15-page policy with a new 44-page manual to buy goods and services.

Those changes will probably come to the board at its May monthly meeting.

"This document is an entire overhaul of that document in 1983," said Rob Carew, director of airport properties, during a committee meeting Monday.

Most of the changes are housekeeping items and updates, but Savage suggested the by-laws be changed to require a super majority of nine board members to make changes to the new procurement code once it's been adopted.

He said it was dangerous to allow seven board members, a simple majority, to come in and make changes should the board membership change or an issue arise.

"Why have a procurement code if we can do what we want?" Savage asked. "I would like to see more teeth (in it.)"

Campbell suggested the agency look at some other state agencies for guidance on the issue and report back to the committee.

"We know there will be some changes as we work through this," said Bill New, deputy airports director.

A separate panel also recommended changes to the human resources manual. Most of those are updates to bring the policy in line with employment changes over the years.

"It really needs to be looked at every year," said Human Resources Director Sharon McGhee.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.