Thursday, August 29, 2013
The Charleston County Aviation Authority’s process of hiring Sen. Paul Campbell as its new director was not without turbulence … but now that he has the job, Campbell sees smooth air ahead.
As the drama surrounding his hire begins to evaporate, Campbell hopes that the proverbial fasten seatbelt light has been turned off regarding his newest challenge.
On Friday morning, the popular Goose Creek legislator was in his new office overlooking a runway at the Charleston International Airport. A day earlier, the CCAA officially hired Campbell as its new executive director.
The decision came in the form of an 8-5 vote by the CCAA board, and followed several weeks of uncertainty and a heated debate among opposing board members.
Campbell began his first full week at the job on Monday.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” the Republican lawmaker said. “I’m looking forward to working with the staff at the airport. I’m looking forward to the challenge of always learning new things.
“I’m really trying to provide my leadership in making things better. They are being patient with me, which is good, and we’re starting to share and learn from each other.”
While the board was split about the hire – specifically, several board members said they would have preferred a search take place for other candidates – Campbell said the divide would be bridged in the weeks and months ahead.
“I think it’s going to become smoother as we go along now that the formal decision has been made,” he said. “The majority of the board felt like we needed to move forward.”
As he balances his duties as a state senator with the new position, Campbell said he would develop a system that will work for both jobs.
“It’s really a matter of me adapting to the schedule,” he said. “It means learning and developing a system … I really think it’s just a matter of us adopting to it. I’m not going to let either job suffer.”
Campbell called former director Sue Stevens, who resigned unexpectedly earlier this summer to create the opening, a friend. “I’m going to learn from her,” he said.
Campbell, 67, will earn $192,000 a year for his duties as director.
According to its website, the Charleston County Aviation Authority owns and operates the Charleston International Airport, Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island, and the Mount Pleasant Regional Airport.
Chartered in 1970 by the State of South Carolina, the Authority is responsible for managing, operating, and developing all public airports in the Charleston County Airport District. The Authority coordinates its activities with the Federal Aviation Administration and the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission.