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April 23, 2014

Longtime Cullman Co. airport manager being forced out by board

VINEMONT — Cullman Regional Airport Manager Bob Burns has been forced out of his position, after being served with a confidential separation agreement and general release at a specially-called airport board meeting on Wednesday.

The document is effective April 23, 2014, though Burns has not signed it.

Burns provided The Times with the documents given to him by the airport board members stating: “No further services will be required of Burns after that date. Burns will receive compensation at his current rate for work performed through the separation date, plus any earned, but unused vacation pay.”

According to the agreement, Burns will continue to receive payment through July 18, 2014, at his regular rate, conditioned upon his execution of this agreement. He has 21 days to consider the agreement and consult with an attorney.

Cullman Airport Board Attorney Tim Culpepper declined to comment on the document because it has not been executed.

The board is comprised of Cullman Mayor Max Townson, Cullman County Chairman Kenneth Walker, Dr. Vince Karolewics, Dr. Ben Gomez, and Dr. Rex Smith.

When reached Wednesday afternoon, Townson said he couldn’t comment on the situation because it is a pending personnel issue.

This is not the first time Burns has been at odds with the board, as members entered executive session on September 26, 2013, to discuss the good name and character of Burns and since then, created a job description for Burns and assistant manager, Ben Harrison. Burns vocally opposed the creation of a job description, saying he did not want to be “micromanaged.”

The separation agreement is not currently listed on the regularly scheduled Thursday, April 24, meeting agenda. The board will meet at the airport office in Vinemont at 11 a.m.

Burns has served 12 years as director of the airport. He served a total of 19 years with the airport.

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