Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ballard's Airport Authority Selects Rogue Jet-Setter To Run Airport

Well, if you thought things might actually improve from the self-dealing days of Lacy Johnson's rein over the Indianapolis Airport Authority under the Peterson administration to the new management under President Randall Tobias, you better think again. Tobias announced today that John D. Clark, III, current chief executive for Jacksonville, Florida's airport, will become the new chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Airport Authority if approved by the Board. “Our search committee found in John Clark someone with a lifelong passion for aviation, a remarkable record of success and a set of experiences particularly suited to the needs of Indianapolis,” said Randall L. Tobias, the airport authority’s president, in a statement. He should fit right into our corrupt city government. A hometown story about Clark, entitled, "John Clark Gone Rogue?", offered this negative portrait of him:

John Clark may care what others think about his job performance, but he’s pretty good at disguising the fact. He showed a stunning disregard for the residents of Arlington when he rammed through a runway extension at Craig Airport, one neighbors had been promised would never happen. He jets all over the world staying in lavish hotel rooms and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists, yet he recently began laying off employees as a “cost-saving” measure. His agency is notorious for obstructing public records requests with exorbitant and patently illegal fees — in one case, attempting to collect $14,000 from a local lawmaker who wanted documents related to Craig. (Jacksonville City Councilmember Clay Yarborough eventually brought his own copying machine to the airport rather than pay the ransom.)

As the executive director of an independent city authority, Clark operates Jacksonville Aviation Authority with little public oversight and a board that follows his lead. Headquartered at Jacksonville International Airport, miles from other city functions and most media outlets, the authority largely flies below city radar. As a result, Clark often seems — and indeed has been allowed to be — unaccountable to anyone . . .

Clark’s salary has long been a point of contention for the airport’s critics and some city leaders. He signed a new contract in June 2007 with a base salary of $230,000 and guaranteed annual pay increases of five percent through May 2012. (His salary rose to $241,000 in June 2008 and will increase to $253,050 in June 2009. By comparison, Mayor John Peyton makes $173,941 a year.) He also enjoys a lucrative package of perks — an $850 monthly car allowance, and a $750-a-month allowance for a cell phone and business expenses (both increase by $50 annually). The airport authority pays 100 percent of health insurance premiums for Clark’s family, his membership dues to either the River Club or University Club, and puts $15,000 annually into a defined contribution or retirement plan for him.

Well, Clark will have to settle for the choice of one club in Indianapolis, the Columbia Club, since the Athletic Club has gone out of business. So can we assume Clark will be paid more than $253,000 in his new job here? Does he get a car allowance? Does he have a monthly expense allowance? Will we have to tender a public records request to learn that information? Will he charge us an exorbitant fee if we tender such a request?

Hat tip to Envisionindy.


artfuggins said...

Had enough????

Citizen Kane said...

Again, where is the Star - oh, I forgot, they have to wait several years and act surprised about information that has been common knowledge among anyone paying attention.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Wow, this is frightening. If only 10% of that article is true, this appointment needs to be deep sixed ASAP. He sounds like someone who lives to take personally profit off his positiion. That's exactly the problem with what's going on in Indianapolis...people using their public positions to profit financially.

What are the odds that the Board will take a closer look at this?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Oh, h e double hockey sticks, people...it's only money.

Geez, you act like it's YOURS.
/s off

Downtown Indy said...

How long do you suppose it will be before the rest of the article gets processed by the powers that be and they 'discover' the mayor is underpaid by some $80K.