Aug. 7--A longtime aviation department employee will take charge of Broward County's main airport while the county looks for a new firm to find a permanent director.
The Broward County Commission approved the new interim director, Walt Houghton, with no discussion Tuesday morning. Hougton steps in immediately as manager of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Houghton has been with the county's aviation department since 1987, assuming his most recent position as the assistant to the aviation director in 1994. And the Coral Springs resident helped manage airports in Tampa and Burlington, Vt., before coming to Broward.
He is slated to retire at the end of November.
Meanwhile, the county is looking for a permanent replacement. Broward reopened the search last month after three nominees from a previous national search fell through.
The county expects to review the new list of applicants soon after Aug. 13. At the same time, the county will look for a new search firm to help out if it can't find a new director with the current search.
The troubled search has come at a critical time for the airport, frustrating some commissioners. Earlier this summer the commission voted to embark on a $695 million runway expansion in 2012. The county is waiting for another report from the Federal Aviation Administration about that plan, and commissioners must decide how to shield hundreds of homes from airplane noise.
Commissioners will discuss those initiatives as well as a master plan outlining other projects at a workshop on Sept. 4.
And last week the county fired two airport managers after an internal investigation alleged they had hidden their ties to the baggage handling firm Bags To Go and given the company preferential treatment.
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