Traverse City Record-Eagle

Region

May 1, 2014

Cherry Capital Airport director's salary takes off

TRAVERSE CITY — The Northwest Regional Airport Commission dolled out a sizeable raise to Cherry Capital Airport’s director.

Airport commissioners approved a $40,000 raise for Director Kevin Klein effective today, the first day of Klein’s new three-year contract.

Klein, 42, said the new raise brings his salary up to $140,000 annually, and on par with that of his predecessor, former longtime Director Stephen Cassens, who Klein replaced in 2011.

“They gave me three years to kind of prove myself and demonstrate my abilities, and so when we did a review of some of the successes we had over the last few years, they felt it was kind of time to bring me to that level,” Klein said.

Larry Inman, an airport commissioner and member of the Grand Traverse County Commission, said airport board members originally intended to give Klein incremental raises during his first three-year contract to make his compensation competitive with that of other directors at similar regional airports in Michigan. That never happened.

“We just flat forgot to do it,” Inman said.

Klein said the incremental raises were not written in his original contract, and the airport board went through a near-complete turnover shortly after that first deal was inked.

“I don’t want to say they forgot,” Klein said. “The new people weren’t aware of what the old board had promised.”

Klein, who was named President of the Michigan Association of Airport Executives in 2013, has excelled as Cherry Capital’s director, Inman said, and the the $40,000-raise helped ensure he would not leave for a different job.

Klein said he was recently approached by a “headhunter” about a job opening at Flint’s airport. He did not apply for the job, but the compensation offered with that opening -- between $140,000 and $180,000 -- was discussed by Klein and airport board members during contract renewal talks.

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