Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Indy Newspaper Takes Swipe at John Clark

Another Indianapolis newspaper has published a rather critical story on former JIA Executive Director John Clark.  

Airport Chief Executive John D. Clark III earned a reputation in Jacksonville, Fla., for being an anti-union spendthrift, cutting jobs while treating himself lavishly as he traveled the world.

He made separate business trips to Paris, London, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Cairo — four continents, all paid for by the airport and all within one year.

He once authorized $10,000 for a limousine in Paris for an airport board member and a lawyer, and ended up apologizing for it.

All of that on top of a $241,500 salary as Jacksonville airport chief executive officer, plus a car allowance and a private club membership.

But if such spending raised eyebrows in Jacksonville, airport officials in Indianapolis figure it comes with the job. They are poised to open up their wallets and formally name Clark the next executive director and CEO of Indianapolis International Airport at Friday’s Indianapolis Airport Authority Board meeting.

The full story can be found here.

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , ,

Indy Media Takes on John Clark

John Clark’s “baggage”, as the Indianapolis Business Journal put it, “has arrived before him.”  Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Bishop has a priceless quote in the article that can be found here.

The man nominated to be CEO of the Indianapolis Airport Authority has been a polarizing figure in Jacksonville, where he’s been CEO of the Florida city’s aviation authority since 2001. 

During that time, Clark amassed a long list of critics — ranging from the city council to airport police to neighborhood residents in the path of a proposed runway extension. 

Jacksonville’s alternative newspaper, Folioweekly, in November published a scathing article about Clark, painting him as a big spender with little regard for authority.

Recently named chairman of the North American division of Airports Council International, Clark has flown around the world for ACI conferences, at the airport authority’s expense. 

According to the newspaper, Clark has flown to Shanghai, Brussels, Frankfort, Paris, London and Buenos Aires in the past two years, racking up expensive hotel bills, including a $726-per-night room in Buenos Aires and $582 room in Paris. His trip to the London Air Show cost the authority $10,491 and his trip to Shanghai cost $11,304.

“I’ve said on several occasions I’d be happy to write him a letter of recommendation, if it got him a job somewhere else,” said Bill Bishop, a Jacksonville architect and city councilman who helped stop Clark and the Jacksonville Aviation Authority from extending a runway into a residential area.
Hours after the Indianapolis Airport Authority announced Clark’s selection on March 10, bloggers who had “Googled” his name starting having a field day questioning the authority’s CEO pick.

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , , , ,

Adios, John Clark

We’ve discussed his high salary and benefits here and here, and we’ve finally found another city that wants him. John Clark is headed to Indianapolis. Apparently, being the highest paid airport executive in Florida and Georgia wasn’t quite enough. Let’s hope JAA’s Board can negotiate a more reasonable salary and benefits package for the next Executive Director.

He can now travel to Hong Kong on someone else’s dime.

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , ,

JIA Slower, Clark to cut salary?

Jacksonville “International” [We don’t have any international flights, folks] Airport has announced that traffic was down 5% in 2008. According to the Business Journal, cargo also decreased 6% and available seats decreased by 14%. What has increased at Jacksonville Regional Airport? Executive Director John Clark’s salary.

In contrast to a 5% decrease in traffic, 6% decrease in cargo and 14% fewer available seats, John Clark earned his annual 5% pay increase to top off his base salary of $241,000. Oh, and let’s not forget his $72,300 bonus; his $10,200 car allowance; his $9,000 cell phone allowance; his $15,000 retirement contribution and his membership at his choice of the University Club or the River Club.

It’s always interesting when an executive’s salary continues to increase while his business is declining, particularly when the executive is laying off employees. We are still awaiting word on whether or not Mr. Clark’s salary will be decreased to reflect the downturn in his business. (Of course, a decrease shouldn’t hurt him too much. His salary remains higher than his counterparts at true international airports such as Miami, Tampa, Orlando or Atlanta.) Somehow I don’t expect the answer to be coming anytime soon…

Filed under: Jacksonville, , ,

LOL! Russia visits Jax to learn about “transparency”

A priceless headline, with a bit of irony to it. Yes, according to the Daily Record, a delegation from Russia is visiting Jacksonville to learn how to operate a transparent government.

Perhaps we can share with a country under the control of a dictator how a “transparent” government allows the executive of our little airport to pull in a higher salary than his peers in Tampa, Miami, Orlando or Atlanta. Perhaps we can explain how to reward unilateral contracts to your closest friends. Perhaps we could explain how a Vice Chairman (and former Chairman) of the Port Authority can personally benefit from Port business he voted on. We can cap it all off by simply pointing to today’s headline in The Florida Times-Union—how to spend over $60 million on a courthouse with absolutely nothing to show for it.

How about a leader that complains about media questions, referring to the Jacksonville media as “the worst?”

Yup, even Putin’s Russia could probably pick up a few tips from Jacksonville, don’t you think?

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JAA and John Clark in new controversy

Jacksonville International [No we don’t have any international flights] Airport’s police are appealing to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to absorb their department, thereby removing them from under the dictatorial powers of high-flying John Clark, whose extravagant expenses and mind-boggling pay were previously discussed here. According to the Times-Union, a new bill is being introduced today that would require Sheriff John Rutherford and John Clark to discuss the merger. More can be learned here.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , ,

Miss Otis Regrets

Folio Weekly has printed their annual “Regrets and Resolutions” issue and we have to admit some are rather amusing. For example:

1. Daniel “Walshie” Walsh, candidate for state representative, regrets appearing shirtless and slam-dunking a basketball on his campaign website.
2. Adam Hollingsworth regrets allowing his soft spot for lady politicians in need to get the better of him during Tropical Storm Fay. Mme. Corrine Brown and Mme. Denise Lee regret the public finding out.

Their resolutions are assumed, of course, but equally as amusing… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

JAA: they’re partyin’ folks

WOW!  JAA folks invite City Council members to two parties in one week. 

The first one was their annual holiday fish fry this past Tuesday.













And then there’s the rockem sockem tailgate party at the Jags/Colts game co-hosted by Michael Stewart tonight that we reported on earlier.

Big salaries and bonuses to go along with lots of parties.  Where do we sign up?!?

As long as we don’t have to be a JAA police officer, that is.

From: Donald Green
To: ron weaver; mary burnett; jim mccollum; jack demetree; deborah pass; cyrus jollivette; chester aikens
Cc: timothy.gibbons@jacksonville.com; tia.mitchell@jacksonville.com; sceastman@folioweekly.com; evansfoprep@aol.com; senator wise <srwise@comcast.net>; cmcburney@bellsouth.net; charles.mcburney@myfloridahouse.gov; eric@govinc.net; gloriousj@coj.net; ron.littlepage@jacksonville.com; wise.stephen.web@flsenate.gov; Susan Stewart; Carla Miller; amosley@coj.net; redman@coj.net; gaffney@coj.net; hclarence@yahoo.com; jhopely@jaa.aero
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 11:21:09 AM
Subject: Retaliation
Are each of you aware that john clark has intentions to retaliate against jaa police officers by cutting police positions even though his own chief of police has told each officer that he believes it could cause safety issues not only within the flying public and other officers but to national safety each of you have said safety first and just thought i should make you aware of what is going on.

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , ,

Jacksonville’s Ethics Hotline Cases

The City’s Ethics Officer has released an update on complaints made via the Ethics Hotline. (630-1015, just in case anyone has something they would like to report.) Once again, although the employees of the City (and citizens) are to be commended for reporting behavior that they deemed unethical, it does appear that the majority of these cases seem to be swept under the rug. Among the most recent cases:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cashin’ In at the JAA

Folio Weekly has a top-notch expose out this week on John Clark, the head of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.  Serving as the head of an independent agency is quite lucrative—at least in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mr. Clark’s compensation ranks him as the highest paid airport executive in the state, even higher than Atlanta’s airport.  (And, in case you are wondering, Jacksonville comes nowhere close to competing with Atlanta, Miami or Orlando in terms of volume.)  According to Folio, Mr. Clark’s compensation includes:

  • Base salary of $241,000 (with an automatic 5% annual increase through 2012)
  • $850 monthly car allowance
  • $750 monthly cell phone/business expense allowance ($50 annual increase)
  • 100% coverage of health insurance premiums
  • Membership dues to the River Club or University Club
  • $15,000 annual retirement contribution
  • Business travel expenses, as needed, which included such things as $10,491 to attend this year’s London Air Show and $11,304 to attend an Airports Council International meeting in Shanghai

Folio pointed out that Mr. Clark recently ordered staff cuts at JIA, presumably to preserve the 30% operating margin that triggers an automatic 30% bonus payout to him ($72,300).  The City Council, particularly Clay Yarborough, Glorious Johnson and Bill Bishop, appear to have taken an interest in reigning in JAA by attempting to restrict his dictatorial powers to move around his budget.  With JAA operating at such impressive margins, perhaps its time for it to start contributing to the City’s general fund, much like another independent authority (the JEA) does…

Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, , , , , , , , , ,

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