May 27--A year after firing Lester Robinson as airport director, the Detroit/Wayne County Airport Authority will begin a search for a permanent replacement.
Robinson's $215,000-a-year contract was not renewed in May 2010, and he worked a few months after that on a temporary basis.
One of his assistants, Genelle Allen, has been filling the job since, but she said Thursday that she didn't want the job permanently. She hopes to stay on with the airport in an operations job, she told the authority members.
"I believe my best future lies with maximizing our internal operational efficiencies," Allen said. She will continue to serve as interim CEO until a replacement is named.
"We really must move forward and conduct a search," said board chairwoman Renee Axt. The ad hoc search committee includes three members of the board: Suzanne Hall, Samuel Nouhan and Charlie Williams.
Nouhan stopped short of calling the search a national one, but did say it would be comprehensive. He doesn't have a timeline yet for filling the position.
Nouhan said he wants a director who understands how to make Metro and Willow Run airports engines of economic development and maximize the potential created by the legislation to create an aerotropolis, a logistics hub near the airports.
"We need an individual that is capable of using that awesome tool," he said.
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Airport authority board members said any drastic changes would be a mistake.
Former Secretary of State Glenda Hood and Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Denver Stutler on Friday dismissed such talk and brushed off speculation about their futures.