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Orr Is Out As Aviation Director, At Least For Now

Jerry Orr is out as aviation director of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Whether he was fired or resigned depends on who you talk to.

Orr’s attorney says he was fired.

City Manager Ron Carlee says Orr resigned yesterday in a letter following final passage of legislation that transfers control of the airport from the city to a regional authority.

The legislation names Orr executive director of the Airport Authority, effective immediately. So Orr informed Carlee that his employment with the city was over.

Meanwhile, a judge granted the city’s request to put the legislation on hold by issuing  a temporary  restraining order. Once that occurred, the airport reverted back to city control. And Carlee says that means Orr was no longer aviation director because of his, quote, “self-proclaimed termination.”

The Airport Authority’s attorney, former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot, calls it a “stretch” to interpret the letter as a resignation. Vinroot says Orr was doing what the legislation required him to do since lawmakers already designated him director of the authority.

House Speaker Thom Tillis is not pleased. He called the city’s actions irresponsible and says it’s a “clear example of why it has become so difficult for the General Assembly to work with them on the future of Charlotte Douglas International.  We are hopeful that this unwise decision will be corrected in the near future.”

Orr won't be gone for long if a judge lifts the temporary restraining order since the legislation names him executive director of the airport authority.