Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said former Indianapolis airport CEO John Clark was hired by the Gary Airport Authority at her direction, but she would like to re-examine his $350-per-hour pay rate.
"That certainly does not sound correct," she said Wednesday when asked about Clark's pay rate as approved by the Airport Authority at its meeting Monday.
The mayor has no direct control over the day-to-day operations of the airport or the authority. However, under state statute the mayor appoints four of the authority's seven members.
Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority members voted 4-0 on Monday to approve the contract with Clark's newly formed JClark Aviation Group.
Voting in favor were Nathaniel Williams, Cornell Collins and the Rev. Marion Johnson, all former Mayor Rudy Clay's appointees, and Tramel Raggs, Lake County's appointment. Robert Poparad, Porter County's appointee, abstained. Ross Amundson and Silas Wilkerson were absent. Amundson was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels, and Wilkerson is a Clay appointee . . .
The mayor confirmed the job was not advertised for bid, nor was any request for proposals issued. That was not required because the agreement with JClark Aviation is for professional services only, she said . . .
Contacted on Thursday, John Clark said his three-person firm already is at work on identifying business opportunities for the Gary airport. His son, Jonathan Clark, and Al Stanley are his partners in JClark Aviation Group, he said.
"My forte in this business has been growing businesses and business development at airports," Clark said . . .
Clark left the Indianapolis airport's top job after the airport authority declined to renew his contract. He had been chief executive there for three years.
The Indianapolis Business Journal recently reported Clark and two others spent more than $67,000 last year on travel to destinations such as Brazil, Denmark and Morocco. Clark said all of those trips were approved by the Indianapolis Airport Authority chairman and board.