Missouri Airport Manager Search Resumes

Clay County officials may choose a new airport manager from a group of previous candidates, they said this week.

The previous manager, Kathryn Sok, resigned last week, citing personal reasons, officials said. She had been hired to manage the Clay County Regional Airport earlier this month. Several weeks after county officials announced they had hired Sok, they learned she had been terminated from her previous job as security coordinator for the Central Nebraska Regional Airport.

Presiding Commissioner Carol McCaslin said officials will begin looking for a replacement as soon as possible.

?We plan to go back and speak to the other finalists,? McCaslin said Monday. ?We are not going to rush into it.?

McCaslin said the process should take several weeks. She said the best candidate would be someone who can help the county market and promote the airport. McCaslin said the county was poised to receive more traffic at the airport when runways at the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport close for renovations.

Sok, who submitted her resignation a week ago, was never asked to resign from Clay County. McCaslin said at the time officials were excited about the vision Sok had for the airport and officials were looking to forward to working with her. At one point, county officials said they tried to persuade her to stay.

Sok could not be reached for comment.

McCaslin said she did not know why Sok had been terminated from her previous job.

County officials have long sought to use the regional airport to bring economic development to the region, said Eastern Commissioner Craig Porter.

Recently, a new terminal building, an extended runway, new runway lights and other improvements were constructed.

The renovations on the county-owned airport in Mosby will allow larger planes to land, something county officials are counting on to help turn the surrounding area into a light-industrial and business hub.

Work on the airport included extending the runway and taxiway to the north from 4,000 feet to 5,500 feet.

The majority of the $6.1 million project was funded through state and federal grants. Officials acquired additional funding to buy a new instrument landing system and lighting that will allow planes to land in inclement weather, officials said.

Other work included construction of a $182,900 terminal, which includes space for a private fixed-based operator who will be hired to manage the airport.

A portion of the funding for the new terminal came from a $75,000 donation from former U.S. Rep. Pat Danner of Missouri. Commissioners named the terminal in honor of Danner.

At one time, the airport?s maintenance hangar doubled as the terminal, which limited restroom access after business hours and left no room for pilots to relax, attend meetings or greet visitors.

The new terminal will include a meeting area, a pilot?s lounge and a reception area. The majority of the renovation work is expected to be completed this summer, officials said.

The county recently decided to build 16 additional hangars. The airport has 32 single hangars, 14 twin hangars and one shade port, which has room for 14 aircraft.

The county-operated airport opened in 1996 and is used regularly by about 75 companies and individuals.

Kansas City Star

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