Broward hires new airport director

Aug. 28--After reducing his severance package Tuesday, Broward County commissioners unanimously hired Kent G. George, director of the Pittsburgh International Airport, to run the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Earlier in the day, George's candidacy was delayed when several commissioners said they were uncomfortable with a contract that would have given him nearly $600,000 if he was fired without cause in the first year.

"I'm not willing to approve what I consider to be an excessive severance package," County Commissioner Ken Keechl said.

Commissioners delayed voting to allow officials to contact their search firm to determine if the contract would have been unusual. But in the meantime, officials worked out a compromise that means George could earn about $440,000 in severance if fired without cause in the first two years.

George will earn $250,000 a year, plus deferred compensation and other benefits.

The 60-year-old is CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, where he has worked since 1998.

George replaces Tom Jargiello, who resigned last fall.

County Administrator Pam Brangaccio nominated George after three other candidates fell through. Two prior finalists withdrew, while one was forced out of contention after posted e-mails he had sent from a prior work account that were critical of Broward officials.

County officials launched a new search and found George.

George will oversee a controversial runway expansion slated for 2012. He inherits an aviation department that commissioners have often scrutinized, and which is currently subject to numerous internal audits.

Before working in Pittsburgh, George held airport management positions in Moline, Ill. and Reading, Pa.

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