McCrory Backs Council In Airport Fight, Says Time To 'Move On' From Jerry Orr

Nov 25, 2013

Governor Pat McCrory

Governor Pat McCrory said Monday he supports the Charlotte City Council position in the fight with state lawmakers over control of Charlotte Douglas Airport—including the city’s removal of former aviation director Jerry Orr from his long-time post. Until now, McCrory has shied away from taking a public stance on the issue.

At the end of an hour-long interview on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks, host Mike Collins asked McCrory the question.

“Who should run and control and own the airport?” Collins asked.

“The City of Charlotte,” McCrory replied.

Collins then asked McCrory why he had not taken that stance earlier.

“Because this is a fight in Charlotte,” the governor said.

The General Assembly passed a “local bill,” which does not require the governor’s signature, to create a commission that would take over control of the airport from the city council. McCrory never had to take a stance about who should run the airport.

To date, McCrory has had two roles: He tried to broker a compromise in July between state and city lawmakers, and he criticized the Charlotte city council, saying the fight would never have happened on his watch as mayor. He reiterated that criticism on Charlotte Talks. But, McCrory also said “it’s time to move on” from Jerry Orr, the long-time, recently-ousted city aviation director. The commission bill names Orr executive director, essentially putting him back in his old job.

"Jerry Orr is 71-years-old. He's been great for the airport, but it's time to move on," McCrory said. "I think Jerry could still add some value, but it's time to move--this is not about an individual."

A judge has put the commission and Orr’s roles on hold while the city wages a legal challenge.