The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority on Monday voted 5-0 to continue to employ Gary Sanitary District Executive Director Dan Vicari as part-time interim director of the airport.
Vicari's salary as part-time interim director will be $2,265 paid every two weeks under the memorandum of understanding approved by the authority, according to airport spokesman David Goldenberg. He will not receive any benefits from the airport authority.
Vicari made $120,200 as executive director of the Gary Sanitary District in 2014, according to Indiana Gateway, the state's online portal for transparency in local government finance. Vicari said his salary for that position has not changed.
The Times has submitted requests under Indiana's Access to Public Records Act for copies of the new memorandum of understanding approved by the airport authority as well as the previous one. Vicari's salary was the same under the previous memorandum of understanding, according to Goldenberg.
The new memorandum of understanding runs through the end of 2016 and includes a 60-day termination clause, Goldenberg stated.
Vicari first came on board at the airport two years ago as airport expansion manager as part of the effort to rescue the troubled $174 million project. When then-airport special administrator B.R. Lane left that post to head up the Illinois Lottery in March 2015, Vicari took over many of her duties.
He was appointed interim airport director in May 2015. The airport opened its new expanded runway the next month, completing the project after almost a decade of setbacks and budget overruns.
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Other local officials also serve in dual roles such as Vicari's, including Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who draws a $102,580 annual salary as mayor and another $39,516 as special administrator for the Gary Sanitary District.
The strong relationships Vicari has forged in the past two years with the Chicago Department of Aviation and regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have proven invaluable for the Gary airport, said Airport Authority Chairman Stephen Mays.
"He understands this business and what we are trying to do," Mays said.
The airport authority on a separate 5-0 vote also approved some changes in rates and charges, due to an error in some of the paperwork for their previous approval in September.
The new rates and charges have been challenged in a federal lawsuit by the Gary Jet Center, the airport's longest serving tenant.
Under the changes finalized Monday, ground lease charges are hiked to 50 cents per square foot from the current 43 cents. However, that increase will not apply to existing leases, according to Goldenberg.
Lease rates will also increase for T-hangars at the airport, which house small private planes. About 45 of those hangars are occupied, according to Vicari.