Kansas City Aviation Director Mark VanLoh abruptly announced his retirement Friday, just days before a crucial meeting on the future of KCI Airport.
“The Mayor and the City manager have allowed the department to operate like a business,” VanLoh said in a statement announcing his retirement.
VanLoh was an early and aggressive supporter of making major improvements at the 40 year old KCI airport.
“We had seen some frustration that Mark had gotten out ahead of the process. Specifically as the new terminal is concerned,” said Council member Jolie Justus.
Justus leads the council’s Airport Committee.
Next Tuesday, Justus’ panel is expected to be told by the airlines who fly in and out of KCI they support building a new terminal and they’ll help pay for it.
Another member of the committee says VanLoh’s vigorous push for a new single terminal KCI became a problem for some.
“You know that was the heat,” said Councilman Quinton Lucas, another member of the airport Committee.
City Manager Troy Schulte named veteran Assistant City Manager Pat Klein as VanLoh’s replacement on a permanent basis.
Klein has been the City manager’s coordinator for the last four years during the discussions of KCI’s future.
“Running an airport is a lot like running a city. You have your own police department. You have your own fire department, your own utilities,” Klein told KMBC Friday.
Councilmember Tersa Loar says Klein is fine as a replacement for now, but she’s prefers the city look around as well.
VanLoh led the Aviation Department for 12 years.
His retirement takes effect at the end of May.