Reporting Vickie Thomas
ROMULUS (WWJ) - The controversy surrounding Detroit Metro Airport CEO Turkia Mullin now moves into a new phase. Mullin could find out as early as Monday afternoon whether or not she gets to keep her job.
Mullin has been at the center of a firestorm since last month when she admitted receiving a $200,000 severance after voluntarily leaving her job as Wayne County’s chief development officer.
As the Wayne County Authority Board prepares to hold a meeting Monday to discuss the fate of 43-year-old Mullin, she is apparently ready to fight to keep her $250,000 a year job. Mullin has vowed not to step down and the board finds itself in a tricky spot if it does vote to fire Mullin – her contract says she will get over $700,000 if she’s let go without cause.
Wayne County Commissioner Bernard Parker said he wants her out.
“Well, I think there is some clause in her contract that says if anything that she would do to cause irreparable harm to the airport… there’s some language in there. And I think that you can justify to say that that is the case right now,” Parker said.
WWJ Legal Analyst and Talk Radio 1270 WXYT Morning Show Host Charlie Langton gave his prediction.
“I don’t think the board has a whole lot of choice. What they have to do, is they’ve got to suspend her right now, whether they suspend her with pay or without pay may be the decision, but she is absolutely ineffective right now in running the airport,” Langton said.
Parker believes there is cause to fire Mullin, and if that’s the case, she’s entitled to nothing. Langton said something like that could be challenged.
Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano issued the following statement on Friday:
“Turkia Mullin is very talented and resourceful, but unfortunately the situation she finds herself in has become an obvious distraction that will continue into the foreseeable future. I am disheartened that the promise the board saw in her has diminished.
My vision for Aerotropolis has always been to have a strong leader at the helm. I believe under the current situation this has been compromised. When the board meets [Monday] they should proceed with what is best for the continued success of the airport and this region.”
On Thursday, Ficano said Mullin, who had been employed as the county’s Economic Development Director, returned the controversial $200,000 severance pay she received after leaving that job for her new one at the airport.
Ficano has said that protocol was not followed in approving Mullin’s payout. Two county employees were suspended and another was fired.
Meantime, the FBI is investigating.
The board will meet at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the airport’s Westin hotel.
Stay with WWJ and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.