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"Candidate picked for Boca Raton airport manager"

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Candidate picked for airport manager 
By Marci Shatzman
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel

It's not a done deal, but the Boca Airport Authority has picked its top
candidate to manage the Boca Raton Airport and authorized the search
committee to work out the final details.

Clara Bennett was the choice announced at the authority's Dec. 18 meeting.
She has managed the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport since August 2004,
after working her way up through the ranks. A licensed pilot, she was
president of the Florida Airports Council.

Bennett has received an offer, "but won't sign the contract until the terms
are fully negotiated and agreed upon," Janet Eaton Sherr, deputy executive
director, said after the meeting. "Our hope is she will be here in 30 days."

Bennett confirmed via email on Dec. 20 that she's "finalizing the employment
agreement" and "indicated to my department director and city manager that I
intend to end my time in Fort Lauderdale at the end of January."

She has only good things to say about her experiences. But she doubles as
deputy director of the Fort Lauderdale's Transportation and Mobility
Department, so "I was drawn to the opportunity to focus exclusively on
managing a complex general aviation airport, which is my background and area
of expertise," she said.

Once Bennett accepts the formal offer, she'll replace Ken Day, who died on
June 16, 2013, after managing Boca's private airport for 13 years. His death
left the small airport family devastated.

After a mourning period, the authority appointed airport consultant Pete
Ricondo as interim manager, but the staff has largely been handling
day-to-day operations. "We will remember the loss of our co-worker, a great
friend and human being," Ricondo said in brief remarks at the meeting.

A search for Day's replacement was convened through ADK Executive Search,
which specialized in airports, and there were 47 applicants, Sherr announced
at the meeting.

The search firm and the authority's search committee, headed by authority
chairwoman Cheryl Budd, whittled the candidates down to six, and they were
visited at their respective airports, Sherr said. The final three candidates
went through extensive tests and background checks and met with members and
the public. "The process took over five months," Sherr said.

Members and authority attorney Dawn Meyers discussed the length of a new
contract, and such terms as a possible performance bonus, increases, a car
allowance and life and disability insurance. "The board already endorsed the
salary range and is legally obligated to make an offer in that range," Budd
said. The range starts at $155,000.

Bennett was announced as the top selection with two members voting no.
Authority member Gene Folden mentioned another candidate.

Budd praised all three. "There is no bad choice here," she said.

"I'm also excited with working directly with the authority board and
implementing their vision for Boca Raton Airport," Bennett said in her

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