Sources: Bonnie Allin 'fired' as Tucson airport chief
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Sources: Bonnie Allin 'fired' as Tucson airport chief

Bonnie Allin, the CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority for 17 years, is out after a hastily called TAA board meeting today, in what government sources characterized as a "firing."

Allin's departure from the agency that runs Tucson International Airport was confirmed by officials, but no reason for her leaving was provided.

Danette Bewley, the COO and a staffer at the airport authority since 2012, was named interim president and CEO effective immediately, officials said. The move was a "vote to change TAA leadership," officials said. was informed of the impending move Friday morning by sources, asking to speak on background, who work at government agencies with connections to TAA.

The TAA board, which is an unelected body that oversees the quasi-governmental organization that operates TIA and Ryan Airfield west of Tucson, held a special meeting Friday morning. That meeting, the third special meeting the board has held in just more than a month, was announced on Thursday.

The agenda for that meeting included approving a "retirement agreement" with Allin, as well as an unspecified leave of absence for the CEO.

The meeting agenda also included a closed-door session for the board to get legal advice "regarding a proposed personnel-related settlement agreement."

"It has been my privilege to be a part of this extraordinary group of people who just this week celebrated our latest customer satisfaction survey results that showed an astonishingly high 99 percent in overall satisfaction," Allin said in a press release put out by the agency.

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TAA Board Chair Lisa Lovallo, head of the local Cox branch, "also praised the work of the TAA team and said the board's action 'is a change in leadership intended to further leverage the assets of both Tucson International and Ryan Airfield.'"

The release didn't specify which assets have not been leveraged far enough.

Lovallo and other members of the organization's board didn't respond to requests for comment. Allin, who was scrubbed from the agency website's staff and board listings Friday afternoon, could not be reached.

From TAA:

Bewley has 30 years of experience in all facets of commercial airport management. Before joining the TAA in 2012, Bewley held management positions with the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority and the Port of San Diego/San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

She is an accredited airport executive (A.A.E.) through the American Association of Airport Executives and currently serves as the vice chair of association's Contract Tower Association and Commercial Space Working Group. Bewley also serves on several other committees and is a former AAAE Board member.

"The TAA has an outstanding team of aviation professionals and I am confident we will continue to maintain our airports' highest safety and operational standards and commitment to our passengers and customers," Bewley said.

The organization will conduct a national search before naming a permanent CEO, officials said.

Also on the agenda was a proposed, but unspecified in the document, change to TAA's bylaws, relating to membership on the board of directors.

The Tucson Airport Authority is a state-chartered nonprofit organization, set up in 1948, that has a long-term lease to manage the airports owned by the city of Tucson. It is run by its 60 active members, mostly local business leaders and some government representatives, led by a board of seven to 11 directors (currently eight).

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3 comments on this story

Jul 22, 2019, 6:55 am
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I wonder why this decision was made so suddenly?

Jul 19, 2019, 7:31 pm
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In general business jargon, it’s more commonly employed to mean “pulling in money.”

Jul 19, 2019, 7:09 pm
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Does “leverage” mean borrow against?

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Emily Zentner/Cronkite News

Allin, testifying before Congress in 2016.