Sources: City leaders not happy paying former aviation director

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Attorneys for the airport commission said they hope the group will have its first meeting in October.

Multiple city sources said they believe it could come as soon as next week. They suggest the compensation of Executive Director Jerry Orr could be one of the first items on the agenda.

Orr hasn't run the airport for months but the same law that created the disputed airport commission said Orr should still be paid his old city salary of $211,000 a year.

Outside his south Charlotte home, Channel 9 asked Orr what he's doing to earn it since airport operations remain under city control.

"I've been outlining the commission's role so that when the commission is OK'd to take over. We can get started running," Orr said.

Orr said he's been busy, but sources said city leaders aren't happy to be paying him when they're also paying a six-figure salary to Brent Cagle, who took Orr's old job as aviation director.

City Attorney Bob Hagemann said for now the city has little choice.

"Legislation says he's entitled to it. And he's not a city employee. So the city does not have the ability to make that personnel decision," Hagemann said.

But by next Tuesday, the deadline for the final members of the airport commission's board to be named that could change.

State law said that board will have authority over Orr's employment and compensation.

Multiple city sources say they'll be watching closely to see if that new board will discuss whether Orr's pay should be cut, unless and until he begins running the airport's daily operations again.

City leaders aren't commenting on that possibility. Neither is their attorney.

"I'm not going to predict what's going to happen in the future," Hagemann said.

Richard Vinroot, the attorney for the commission, said he likes the makeup of the new board, so far. As for the status of Orr, Vinroot said he's confident the new commission board will make the right decisions going forward.