Orlando Sanford International Airport (OSIA) President andCEO Larry Dale announced last week that he will retire effective Sept. 30.

Following Dale’s announcement at last week’s Sanford Airport Authority meeting, Vice President Diane Crews was nominated to fill Dale’s spot once he retires. However authority members reconsidered and will discuss the selection process at April’s meeting.

When Dale took over as the top executive in 2001, OSIA was little more than a general aviation airport with no domestic service. Now 14 years later, more than 2 million passengers pass through the Sanford Airport annually as they travel to and from dozens of domestic destinations and Europe.

Orlando Sanford International Airport President and CEO Larry Dale

Under Dale’s leadership, the airport also expanded its property holdings and it’s industrial park operations.

But Dale’s leadership did not come without controversy. The former Sanford mayor drew the ire of many when he was selected for the airport job shortly after leaving elected office. Many of the members of the Sanford Airport Authority were appointed by Dale and the Sanford City Commission during his time as mayor.

Dale was also criticized for what some believe to be his exorbitant salary. Dale is paid $266,000 annually, about $20,000 more then the CEO of Orlando International Airport, which accommodates more than 32 million passengers each year.

Never one to shy away from a fight, Dale attracted cheers and jeers in a battle to replace Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees with private contractors to administer security screenings after repeated blunders by the bureaucracy-plagued  federal agency at airports across the country.

This is a developing story. Check The Bokey for more updates.

— by Dan Ping

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