Houston Mayor Annise Parker is now looking for a permanent replacement for Vacar, and she will probably make that decision in the next 30 days, mayoral aide Janice Evans said. The airport is currently piloted by interim director Eric Potts, a retired Army military engineer who, some say, wants the job permanently.
Along with managing the system's three airports, the airport director leads 1,500 employees and chairs the airport's nonprofit entity, the HAS Development Corporation (HASDC).
Vacar led a team that created a web of offshore interests in the name of the HASDC, and, indirectly, the Houston Airport System. His work with HASDC was reported to be part of the rub with White, a friction that resulted in his somewhat cryptic and abrupt departure in May.
The job of director is also no doubt professionally rewarding for those who like large-scale projects. Vacar oversaw $5 billion in planned and completed development during his tenure.
Now, Parker, who has stated her own reservations about the relationship between the airport system and HASDC, has to decide who will be the new Vacar.
The mayor has gotten input from the airlines and local business people, said Evans, the mayor’s communications chief. Within weeks Parker is scheduled to meet with Continental and Southwest airlines, the largest carriers at the Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports, respectively.
She met on Jan. 19 with local businessman and investor Paul Hobby, who chaired the search effort for a new airport director under White. No search committee has been formed by Parker; she is instead relying on Hobby for consultation.
The mayor also met with Potts shortly after her election, as part of a round of meetings with all department heads.