Citing personal and professional reasons, Flagler County Airport Director Roy Sieger told his airport advisory board this afternoon that he was staying in Flagler County after all, three weeks after announcing his resignation to take a job with the Hillsborough County Airport Authority.
“There was some recent things in my professional career and also in my personal life that caused me to reconsider my decision to leave here,” Sieger said. “So I’m actually staying now. I’m not leaving. I’m not leaving. You’re all stuck with me till I retire,” he joked. The county, he said, “made adjustments with me as well.”
In Hillsborough, he would have been the manager of general aviation for four airports–Tampa International, Tampa Executive, Peter O. Knight airport and Plant City Airport. The Hillsborough job would have paid him $118,000. His current job pays $101,000, but Deputy County Administrator Sally Sherman said he’d be getting a “salary adjustment”–that is, a raise–and will be placed in the county’s senior class retirement system, significantly raising the county’s contribution to his retirement pension: that contribution would rise from the 7.26 percent that rank and file employees benefit from to 21.43 for senior management service class employees.
Craig Coffey, the county administrator, was off today and did not return a call to his cell phone. “He will get a raise down the road, but everything is staying the same right now,” Coffey was quoted as saying in a county news release issued during the airport advisory board meeting.
His last day was to be Aug. 24. A farewell party was scheduled for Aug. 21. Gordon Heritage, chairman of the airport advisory board, said the party should still be held, only changed to a “glad-you’re staying party.
“It’s great for the airport if he really has changed his mind,” Heritage said of Sieger’s decision just before the advisory board meeting, as board members were gathering outside the meeting room, waiting for Sieger. The decision had not been confirmed as yet, but some board members had heard of it.
Sieger dealt with an agenda matter or two before addressing his decision minutes into the 4 p.m. meeting. “There’s a couple of personal reasons, I won’t go into those right now. I actually will, one of the things is my wife’s mother has cancer, breast cancer, so she’s going through all that chemo treatment. My wife is helping out with that, you all know I stay here during the week and go home on the weekends. Me going with a new position, I don’t think they’d be as accommodating with me saying you know what. I’ve got to go take care of something. That job would be a lot more demanding and I just feel that this would be a better for me right now to stay here at Flagler County Airport. And I love it here. Not only do I love it here, I love the community. I love who I work for.”
He said it was very difficult for him to make the decision.
“We talked on the phone for hours,” Sherman said, describing his difficulties making the decision. “We recognized we have a great employee.” She added, “I hope the citizens understand, with the return of the economy, it’s going to be a challenge to find and keep good people, and we’re going to have to be sensitive to that, and I hope citizens understand that as well. We’re not just doing this for anybody.” She said Sieger’s efforts brought $27 million in grants to the airport over the years.
Sieger said there was too much happening at the airport to leave. “There’s a bunch of different things is, I had a lot going on with this airport and I was really torn about leaving here, because there’s a lot of big projects coming up,” he said, such as building the airport’;s new runway and getting the money to build a new terminal facility.
County Commission Chairman Frank Meeker described Sieger’s decision as like “Christmas in August” in comments in a county news release issued shoretly after 4 p.m. “Roy is a wonderful asset, so I’m glad he decided to stay,” Meeker said.
Sieger was named General Aviation Manager of the year for 2012 by the Federal Aviation Administration within the Southern Region. He will be honored at Monday’s County Commission meeting, as the Florida Department of Transportation recently awarded the runway safety area improvements at the Flagler Executive Airport “project of the year.”