ILM airport director voted out with no explanation from Airport Authority

Director appears to qualify for a year of severance pay, at least $210,000
Julie Wilsey voted out of Director's job at ILM
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 2:40 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - After 22 years of service to the Wilmington International Airport, Julie Wilsey has been voted out of her job by the Airport Authority. The move came as a surprise to many, and the Airport Authority isn’t explaining its decision.

Wilsey, a United States Military Academy at West Point graduate, spent the last six years at the helm, as the director of ILM. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday morning.

Gary Broughton, ILM’s Deputy Director, directed WECT to call Airport Authority Chairman Donna Girardot for comment. Broughton confirmed that he is retiring from his job at the airport on Sept. 1.

When reached by phone, Girardot gave few details about the significant management changes happening at the airport, but did confirm that the Airport Authority voted unanimously on Tuesday to part ways with Wilsey.

“The Airport Authority has decided to vote to opt out of Ms. Wilsey’s employment agreement. She is still the director for the next 30 days, she got 30 days notice. There’s just nothing more I can say at this point, I apologize,” Girardot said.

Girardot said the board has not yet discussed who would be taking Wilsey’s place as airport director and said she couldn’t answer if there were any issues at the airport that prompted Tuesday’s vote.

According to Wilsey’s contract, her annual salary was $210,000 starting in 2018, with annual cost of living adjustments calculated in each year thereafter. Her employment contract was set to automatically renew for terms of five years, with the first term running through 2023.

“This contract will automatically renew unless notice of non-renewal by a majority vote of the Airport Authority is received six (6) months prior to the contract ending date. If the contract is not renewed, then it shall be treated as an involuntary termination and paragraph 5.b. shall apply,” the contract states.

According to paragraph 5.b., “The Airport Authority may, in its discretion, terminate the employment of Ms. Wilsey upon thirty (30) days written notice.... In the event of termination of employment pursuant to this Paragraph 5, the Airport shall provide the following benefit to Ms. Wilsey.... a termination benefit (in equal biweekly installments) equal to one hundred percent (100%) of the annual base salary and benefits over a period of Twelve (12) months.”

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