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"St. Louis Regional Airport Manager Plans to Retire Soon"

Monday, September 16, 2002

By Terry Hillig
The St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch

St. Louis Regional Airport Manager Marion Richardson is looking forward
to retirement sometime in the next few months. Under an agreement
between Richardson and the Airport Authority, Richardson will step down
when a new airport manager is hired but will help train his successor
and remain a consultant to the authority. 

The authority has been seeking applications for the job for about a
month. Their ad is on the Internet site of the American Association of
Airport Executives. The agreement allows Richardson, 53, to take
advantage of early- retirement incentives offered public employees who
participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. "He'll be
available whenever we need him," said Dean Sweet, the authority's
attorney. "He'll be full time until we hire a replacement." Earlier this
year, Richardson expressed concerns about rumors he would be replaced,
but he said last week he is ready for retirement after 30 years on the
job. He said he did not plan to seek another job. Richardson said the
negotiations that led to the retirement agreement were amicable. Sweet,
who replaced Rod Pitts as the Airport Authority attorney in July, said
his dealings with Richardson on the retirement agreement and other
matters have been entirely positive. "I think it's going to be a good
transition," Sweet said. The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund is a
defined-benefit pension plan fully funded by employer and employee
contributions and interest earnings. It receives no subsidy from state
or local governmental units. Richardson's salary is about $68,000. He
said his pension benefits will be determined by IMRF rules. Under the
early-retirement plan, Richardson is required to "buy" pension benefits
by making contributions equivalent to those he would make if he worked
until age 62, the normal retirement age for full IMRF benefits. The
airport district was created in 1946 in a referendum of voters in the
townships of Wood River, Alton, Foster and Fort Russell in western
Madison County and is supported by taxes on property in those townships.
The authority's current (2001) tax rate is 21.07 cents per $100 of
assessed value, which results in a tax of $70 on a home worth $100,000.
The tax rate is expected to drop to virtually zero after a bond issue is
paid off next year.

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