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Jax aviation authority security chief’s resignation near

Special to SEGAZINE

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority’s director of security is on paid leave while his bosses seek his resignation, though the official reason remains a mystery.

Sources familiar with Wednesday’s action against career cop Wayne Clark Sr., told The Times-Union the move followed internal strife over his management style. Clark declined to comment.

Authority Spokesman Michael Stewart emailed The Times-Union an unsigned separation agreement listing the Authority and Clark as parties, but Stewart wouldn’t discuss details.

“Wayne Clark has decided to pursue other interests,” Stewart said.

An email from the agency’s human resources director to Authority directors said that the security department has “experienced a transition in leadership,” but gave no other details. Lt. Mark Stevens will serve as interim director.

The unsigned agreement calls for Clark to be paid his $113,000 salary through Dec. 20. He would also receive a four-week severance and accrued leave. The agreement states the parties desire to end their relationship “amicably.” Clark would promise not to seek civil claims against the agency or making any public statements under the agreement.

Clark headed a police force of about 30 officers responsible for Jacksonville International Airport and the Authority’s three general aviation airports: Jacksonville Executive Airport, Herlong Recreational Airport and Cecil Airport.

The authority hired Clark in June 2010 after rejecting an option to contract out its security services to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Clark was a 30-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office before retiring as a chief, one of the highest ranks in the agency. His experience included patrol and enforcement, investigations and homeland security and the department of corrections.

Clark’s ability to lead the airport police force was cited by the Authority as one reason it didn’t make the switch. He told the Authority that keeping the force together also would save money, including training costs.

Clark hired a new patrol operations commander, increased the number of sworn officers and raised the hiring standards for new officers, according to the Authority’s website. He also reorganized the police department into police operations and general aviation/investigative/regulatory compliance, the website said.

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