Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/22/2011 03:38:25 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO — Airport officials have submitted their formal response to a blistering Grand Jury report that second-guessed some of their decisions in the effort to turn the former Norton Air Force Base into a civilian airfield.

The San Bernardino International Airport Authority board’s nearly 600-page response — essentially a compilation of its own findings — contains several capitulations to the Grand Jury’s recommendations, as well as a defense of its work at the former air base.

“While the SBIAA recognizes the tangible benefits and value of all of the recommendations contained in the document, it is essential that the foundational errors be addressed to ensure the integrity of this process,” wrote Mayor Pat Morris, who also is president of the authority board, in a letter to the Grand Jury that accompanied the response.

The airport authority board — a joint-powers authority composed of San Bernardino County and the cities of San Bernardino, Colton, Loma Linda and Highland — has spent weeks condemning the Grand Jury for how it went about examining the board’s financial practices, construction management and developer contracts.

A Grand Jury-commissioned audit by the San Francisco-based auditor Harvey M. Rose Associates also raised questions about the airport’s relationship with Scot Spencer, a convicted felon who has served time in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud and has been banned from the aviation industry.

At one point, airport officials said the civil Grand jury report, released June 30, repeated several errors that are far from “anything resembling reality.”

Airport officials have argued that the auditors did not look at all the information given to them by airport management.

The airport’s formal response was submitted Thursday, nearly two weeks before an Aug. 30 deadline.

Notable agreements with the Grand Jury’s recommendations include:

Developing comprehensive policies and procedures, and refining efforts to ensure in-depth documentation of business processes and transactions.

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