Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Pay raise OK'd for airport's director: Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field (KLIT), Little Rock, Arkansas

The top executive at the state's largest airport was given a 3% raise Tuesday, boosting his annual salary to $236,900.

Bryan Malinowski, the executive director since June 2019 at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field, also received a $15,000 bonus and contributions equal to 5% of his salary to his two retirement accounts.

The additional compensation came after the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission met privately for less than 45 minutes to conduct Malinowski's first annual performance review at its final monthly meeting of the year. The vote was unanimous from the seven-member body.

He was scheduled to receive his first performance evaluation in June, but the commission decided to delay it because of the coronavirus pandemic, which sent airline travel plummeting worldwide.

Passenger traffic at Clinton National remains down sharply from its pre-pandemic levels, as is airport income. Clinton National, although under city control, received no general revenue from city government.

Absent the pandemic, the raise or bonus might have been larger, said Gus Vratsinas, the commission chairman.

"We reviewed Bryan's performance and, to a person, we were very pleased with the leadership and the direction the airport's taking," Vratsinas said after the meeting. "We're trying to be prudent. He deserves something because under these trying times, we're persevering at the airport.

"We did give him what I consider a modest increase in his salary, which is parallel to what we gave all the other employees; a bonus; and contributed to his retirement accounts."

The raise was in line with what the executive director at Northwest Arkansas National Airport, the state's second largest airport, will receive starting Jan. 1. Aaron Burkes also is scheduled to receive a 3% pay increase, taking his annual salary from $225,000 annually to $231,750.

Neither Malinowski nor Burkes draw as much as Malinowski's predecessor.

Ron Mathieu's salary received a 3% boost in March 2019 to $235,994.65. He also received a $45,000 bonus. Two months later, he took the top job at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Alabama for a $300,000 annual salary.

Vratsinas said no set formula is used to determine the bonus, which is common at other airports and often based on a matrix using passenger and income levels.

The top executive at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, for example, drew a base salary of $511,568 in 2019 and was awarded a $183,295 bonus, based on a complicated formula that includes airport revenue, passenger traffic and other goals, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"It's sort of market driven and based on how the airport is doing," Vratsinas said. "With this covid, it's probably going to be a chore for the next year, year and a half."

While Malinowski got a raise and bonus, to say 2020 has been difficult is an understatement.

Last month, the commission adopted a 2021 operating budget totaling $24.4 million, which is $12.4 million smaller than the $36.8 million budget the commission adopted for 2020. Clinton National forecasts it will finish this year with a $23.9 million operating budget.

The revenue has fallen almost in concert with the drop in passengers. Through the first 11 months of 2020, the airport saw 892,098 passengers, a 56.6% fall from the 2.2 million the airport saw in the same period last year.


  1. "The top executive at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, for example, drew a base salary of $511,568 in 2019 and ..."

    DFW Airport had 75 million passengers in 2019. Little Rock had 2.2 million in 2019.

    1. Highly skewed salary based on airport traffic to be sure. Yeah well this is the almighty important Bill AND Hillary Clinton airport, so if you don't pay a "fair" salary to the director of that airport, you are a misogynist and hate women.


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