(INDIANAPOLIS) - The executive director of Jacksonville's airport has been hired for that job in Indianapolis, despite a last-minute controversy over his spending.
An alternative weekly in Jacksonville accused John Clark III of extensive and expensive overseas travel on the taxpayer's dime, allegations reprinted locally.
Indianapolis Airport Authority Board President Randall Tobias says he called Jacksonville's former mayor, Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver, and other community leaders there Thursday night to quiz them about Clark, and pronounces himself "totally satisfied" with the answers.
"This is an extremely important role in this community, and he needs to be respected and welcomed not only by this board but by the entire community," Tobias Says."If he's going to play the role we want him to in helping with the economic development efforts in this community, the taint that some have tried to put on him is something that needs to be refuted."
The board approved Clark unanimously and without debate. Tobias specifically rebuts one charge in the Folio Weekly article, accusing Clark of taking a $700-dollar-a-night hotel for an aviation conference in Buenos Aires. It's actually $700 pesos, which translates to about $225 a night.
The article questions the costs of what it says are seven overseas trips Clark has taken in the last two years, and quotes union leaders critical of the layoffs of 11 airport workers while Clark collected a six-figure salary plus bonuses.
Tobias says he interviewed about a dozen candidates from among 84 applicants. He says Clark's experience, including his work to win approval of a runway extension in Jacksonville, makes him the right man to find a money-making use for the former Indianapolis terminal and other airport-owned property.
And with Indianapolis preparing to host the 2012 Super Bowl, he notes Jacksonville's airport received a commendation from the NFL for exemplary customer service when the city hosted Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
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