Originally created 11/30/00

Airport director remains upbeat



These days, Tim Weegar is playing the part of the good soldier, and he seems to be playing it well.

"I'm a positive person," he said Wednesday morning, a few moments after he and other airport officials watched Garrett Aviation break ground on a new jet engine testing facility at Augusta Regional Airport. "I'm going to stay positive."

Minutes earlier, Augusta Mayor Bob Young stuck out his hand and congratulated Mr. Weegar on the job he is doing as interim director of Augusta's only commercial airport.

Mr. Weegar accepted the accolades and told the mayor there is still much to do. The mayor agreed.

For Mr. Weegar, the past few months have been bittersweet. He has helped steer the airport through the political infighting of Augusta Aviation Commission board members. He has helped guide the talk of building a new terminal and developing an airport master plan. He also played a behind-the-scenes role in helping Garrett Aviation's expansion project.

But Mr. Weegar knows that, barring some unforeseen development, he won't be the permanent director.

Aviation officials say Mr. Weegar has done an excellent job filling the void created when the oversight board fired former Airport Director Al McDill.

Ed McIntyre, Whitney O'Keeffe, Marcie Wilhelmi and others agree Mr. Weegar and his staff have done an admirable job in what has been a tumultuous time.

But they say they don't feel he is the man for the permanent position. They demonstrated that belief earlier this week when Mr. McIntyre and Mr. O'Keeffe went before the city's administrative services committee and persuaded that board to raise the salary for the airport director's job from $90,000 to $115,000 per year.

Mr. McIntyre said the increase in pay was needed to lure better-qualified candidates to apply for the director's job. He said all the applications the airport has received, including Mr. Weegar's, are inadequate.

"Tim's been doing a great job," Mr. McIntyre said. "But we want someone who's been there and done that."

Undeterred, Mr. Weegar is going about his business the same way he always has, according to airport employees. His administrative assistant says Mr. Weegar has the same smile on his face he's always had.

But there are rumors that Mr. Weegar is upset - a little hurt about being passed over.

There are rumors he will resign as interim director and go back to being operations manager.

He won't comment on either.

"I can't let that stuff bother me," he said. "There are all sorts of rumors, but I've got a job to do, and I'm going to focus on going about my job the same way I always have. I'm going to stay positive."

Reach Justin Martin at (706) 823-3552.