Airport, director agree to new contract

jhewlett@herald-leader.comNovember 19, 2009 

Eric Frankl will be paid $150,000 a year and receive a $600-a-month vehicle allowance as Blue Grass Airport's new executive director.

The salary, car allowance and other benefits are outlined in a new three-plus-year contract between the airport board and Frankl that was agreed to Wednesday.

Frankl had been making the equivalent of $192,000 a year as the airport's interim executive director. He'll see the change in his December paycheck. The interim position paid more because he was taking a risk by leaving a permanent job at another airport to assume one that could have been temporary, Blue Grass Airport officials have said.

Frankl left a job as director of airports for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which includes the Toledo Express and Metcalf Field airports in Ohio, in February to become Blue Grass Airport's interim executive director. The local airport board decided last month to put Frankl in the executive director post permanently. He was selected from among 69 candidates vying for the job.

"I never took this for granted; I do appreciate this opportunity," Frankl told the airport board at its regular meeting on Wednesday.

The contract between Frankl and the airport board extends through Feb. 15, 2013, and, after that, would be automatically extended for another year each Feb. 16, unless either party notifies the other at least six months in advance of a desire not to extend the term.

Under the contract, Frankl's base pay could go higher, should the board decide to give him merit raises.

He'll get 15 days of paid vacation each year; five days of paid personal leave during the term of the contract; and five days of paid leave for relocating to Lexington. He'll also get sick leave, which, under airport policy, is 12 days per year.

Under the contract, Frankl is also to be reimbursed up to $10,000 for relocation expenses, including moving, temporary housing, airfare and food expenses for him and his immediate family.

Frankl, who has been renting a place in Lexington, is selling his home in Toledo, Ohio. He and his wife, Linda, will keep their house in Columbus, Ohio, for the time being, he said. His wife is an official at the Columbus Regional Airport. The couple has had a long-distance marriage for several years. They have two teenage sons.

Frankl's starting pay and benefits are less than what his predecessor, Michael Gobb, was receiving when he was forced out as the airport's executive director during a spending scandal that has led to forced resignations and criminal indictments of several former airport officials. Gobb, who did not have a contract with the airport board, was being paid nearly $220,000 a year.

A consultant hired during the scandal had recommended the new executive director be paid between $135,000 and $165,000 a year.

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