Saturday, March 24, 2012

Indianapolis airport executive director accepts severance package

The Indianapolis Airport Authority has officially parted ways with Executive Director John D. Clark III, agreeing to a severance package that tops $270,000.

The airport board voted Friday to approve a six-page mutual separation agreement that means Clark will receive an exit package that includes his annual base pay of $270,000, plus more than four weeks of paid vacation and personal leave time.

He will not receive a bonus of at least $40,000 a year that was allowed under the terms of his 2009 job offer.

"The board felt he had moved here and made changes at the airport, so we thought it was a fair separation amount for him as he goes out to look for other employment," said board President Michael Wells.

Robert Duncan, 66, who semiretired last year after 38 years as an attorney and an executive with the Airport Authority, was rehired at a $200,000 salary as interim executive director.

Wells said, "The board discussed taking a little time to search for a replacement. We are confident in Bob Duncan's ability to operate the airport, so we can take some time."

The next head of Indianapolis International Airport and the network of suburban reliever airfields owned by the Airport Authority will need to be both a visionary and a nuts-and-bolts manager.

"We're going to look for somebody who understands how to run a large organization with more than 400 employees," Wells said. "And the (director must) run it at a time of declining passenger enplanements but a large debt from the construction of this fabulous terminal."

During the board meeting, Wells praised Clark's tenure as a time of progress in many areas. Wells called Clark a visionary but clearly signaled the board's tighter rein on airport operations.

Not spoken about at the board meeting was a series of publicized controversies during Clark's tenure, such as the replacement of artwork with advertising in the terminal, no apparent progress on reuse of the old terminal property, lagging economic development in the airport area and questioned spending on executive staff travel.

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