Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mayor Removes Airport Director - Curiously Says Its About Economic Development

Anyone who had any reservations accepting the idea that nothing happens at the airport that the Mayor does not want to happen, need only look at the series of events that lead to the 'resignation' of John Clark as the Indianapolis Airport's Executive Director.

I first saw the news that Clark was out over at Gary Welsh's Advance Indiana blog, then the IBJ's news alert started circulating, and this morning I read more about it in the Indy Star.

Here are the dominoes.

December 16 - Michael Stayton, former President of the Airport Authority Board, announces he will step down, even though he still has two years left on his term.

December 31 - Mayor Ballard appoints Mike Wells to fill out the final two years of Stayton's term.

January 20 - Mike Wells elected President of the Airport Board at his first board meeting of this appointment.

March 10 - news reports suddenly appear of another year, more expensive trips abroad for John Clark and his top deputies.  Curiously, Mike Wells keeps using the word "I" instead of "we" or "the Board" in his statements that changes are coming.  For instance, the IBJ quotes him as saying "I'm making major changes to the travel policy".

March 19 - Wells announces immediate departure of Clark as Director.  Mayor Ballard is quoted as saying
"What I’m mostly concerned about out there is the economic development aspect of the airport,” said Mayor Ballard. "I think that’s been slow, much slower than I would have expected.
"It may have been the recession. It may have been all the economic downturn but I want to have more plans for development out there. That’s what I’m mostly focused on."
Those of you who wanted to blame Clark for announcing the cancellation of collective bargaining at the airport, which was delayed for about a month so candidate Ballard could bask in the light of a recent union endorsement - blame Ballard instead.  (see "Is Indy Airport Playing Politics For Ballard?")

Those of you who wanted to blame Clark for removing art from the airport in order to put up a garish electronic advertising screen, remember the timing.  On August 9, the removal is announced.  On August 24, Mayor Ballard swoops in to save the day.  Then, on November 30, right after the election, the art is removed.  Just in time for the 'holiday travel' season and the Super Bowl - where ads just might fetch a pretty penny.

Yes, anything the airport does leads directly back to Mayor Ballard - its a lesson John Clark has learned and its a lesson the public needs to learn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ballard is just reading from the script prepared by others.

Also, I'd like to know what kind of economic development he thinks is going to suddenly occur at this airport.