Vinroot says Orr fired, city says he resigned

Vinroot says Orr fired, city says he resigned


by Staff

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 12:01 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:04 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- City officials have confirmed that Jerry Orr is no longer employed as the aviation director of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

(Click here to read City Manager Carlee's letter to airport employees)

Orr's termination comes just hours after the North Carolina Senate voted to complete the transfer control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the City of Charlotte to a regional authority.

Orr has been in charge of the airport for nearly 25 years. The circumstances of his removal differ from party to party.

(Click here to read Jerry Orr's letter to the city manager)

Orr resigned Thursday, preparing to take over at the director of the new regional authority. NBC Charlotte is told that was before city council asked a judge to stop the power transfer. Orr’s opponents say he resigned. Orr and his attorney say he was fired and forced to leave the building.

Within hours of the State Senate vote, the City of Charlotte was granted a temporary order blocking the takeover of the airport by Judge Robert Sumner.

Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee released the following statement Thursday evening:

Jerry Orr wrote me today that his “employment as Executive Director of the Airport Authority commenced and {his} employment by the City as Aviation Director terminated” with passage of the state legislation.

With his self-proclaimed termination, I notified Mr. Orr that I was naming Brent Cagle as Interim Aviation Director.  Mr. Cagle is the Chief Financial Officer of the Airport. He immediately assumes full responsibility for the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

Mr. Cagle is committed to maintaining a seamless operation at the airport. The attached memo is being distributed to Airport employees.

"That is a huge tragedy for the city and for the airport. Unfortunately, they reacted like angry and spoiled children instead of business people running a multi-billion dollar operation," said State Senator Bob Rucho.

The legislation would transfer control of Charlotte Douglas from the City of Charlotte to an 11-member board selected by city and county officials, as well as leaders from five counties surrounding Mecklenburg. If the regional authority happens, Orr will become the director.

The City of Charlotte has maintained control of the airport for more than 70 years. Charlotte Douglas is the country's sixth-busiest airport.

The airport is one of the city's largest assets, and city officials had indicated they'd file suit if the Senate voted to take away control.

City leaders say that despite the drama, travelers won’t notice a difference in experience.

“What I think is most important is for people to know that we’re going to continue the operations of the airport, as we always have. Things are going to run efficiently. Things are going to run well,” City Council member Michael Barnes said.