The legal staff of the Arizona Legislature is claiming that Gov. Janet Napolitano overstepped her authority last week by issuing an executive order declaring Mesa’s Williams Gateway Airport a military reuse zone.
“From what we’ve looked at so far, we can’t see anything that would allow her to make that kind of designation,” said Mike Braun, executive director of the Arizona Legislative Council.
Last week, Napolitano returned the military reuse zone status to the former U.S. Air Force base, allowing the airport to offer incentives to attract new businesses. The status, first given to the facility in the mid-1990s, had expired in July.
Braun claims the governor needed the approval of the Legislature before moving forward.
Braun said the special status could be voided if someone decides to legally challenge the executive order — stripping the airport of a powerful economic tool needed to redevelop the area.
Jeanine L’Ecuyer, a Napolitano spokeswoman, contended the governor has the authority and acted appropriately.
“They should really give us a call if they believe we didn’t act properly,” she said of the legislative council.