Scott Lanter, Blue Grass Airport's chief of public safety, has been promoted to the new position of deputy director of public safety and operations at the airport.
The new job, part of a reorganization at the airport that began after a spending scandal there came to light several months ago, will include duties Lanter has had as public safety chief and additional responsibilities. In addition to overseeing law enforcement, rescue, firefighting and communications, he'll be in charge of working with agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration. Lanter will supervise 28 employees.
Lanter, 43, will see his pay raised from $82,000 to $85,000 a year. He will begin his new duties June 8.
In the past, as public safety chief, Lanter reported to the airport's director of operations.
"We're basically combining the two positions," said Eric Frankl, the airport's interim executive director.
Frankl said the airport should focus on public safety at a higher leadership level.
Public safety, he said, "is a number one priority, and it makes sense to highlight that."
Lanter has worked at Blue Grass Airport since June 1987 and has served as public safety chief since July 2001. He is certified by the state as a professional firefighter, police officer and emergency medical technician. He holds a bachelor's degree in fire and safety engineering from Eastern Kentucky University and a master's degree in criminal justice and police studies from EKU.
"Scott clearly has the education, experience, capability," Frankl said.
Frankl said he recommended Lanter for the new job, that the job was not advertised in air transportation industry publications and that no one else was under consideration for the position. The interim executive director said he has not heard anything negative from airport board members about his selection of Lanter.
Board secretary P.G. Peeples, who is also president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Lexington, said he supports Frankl's decision to appoint Lanter to the new post. However, Peeples said he is concerned about a lack of diversity in the top levels of management at the airport.
Lanter is the fourth deputy director — four positions with the new title of deputy director were recommended by a consultant — to be named at the airport in recent months. All four deputy directors, who make up the second tier of management at the airport, are white men.
"I still want it to be known that one of the issues I had with the previous administration was the lack of diversity at the top levels of management. ... I am still concerned that we don't have diversity at the top management levels," Peeples said.
"I will continue to push for more diversity at the top level, just as I will continue to push for more minority inclusion for business opportunities with the airport," he said.
Urban County Council member Diane Lawless wondered whether the new deputy director job, made primarily by combining two positions, will free up money for improvements in the airport's public safety department.
Lawless, who has said airport public safety personnel should be under the jurisdiction of an entity other than the airport board and management, said she also was concerned about what the new deputy director position means in terms of the public safety hierarchy.
"I wonder who's next down on the organizational chart," she said. "Who reports to him (Lanter)?"
In January, airport Executive Director Michael Gobb and directors John Coon, John Rhodes and John Slone stepped down after questions arose about their spending of airport money.
State Auditor Crit Luallen's office found that seven airport officials, including the four who resigned, had more than $500,000 in questionable expenditures over a three-year period. A criminal investigation is underway.