Airport executive director, board chairman resign

By Frank Schier
Editor & Publisher

Multiple sources report Bob O’Brien resigned as executive director of the Chicago Rockford International Airport during a closed session board of commissioners meeting on a budget proposal. Chairman of the Board Brian Boyer confirmed he himself had resigned at 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 29.

Reportedly, after a disagreement with two board members, one being Vice Chairman Bharat Puri, O’Brien threw his hands up in the air and resigned. Puri could not be reached for comment.

Chairman Boyer replied when asked if the reports of O’Brien’s resignation were accurate: “I can tell you one thing that is completely accurate—that my five years on the board are over. I talked to Mayor Strickland [Machesney Park] at 5 today, and he thanked me for my years of service, and he asked me to help find my replacement, which we are working on right now.”

When asked if O’Brien’s resignation prompted his, Boyer said: “Not really. Mine, simply put, is the board is going into a more management mode than a policy mode, and I simply don’t do it, micro-manage. I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work.

“I don’t know what the plans are,” Boyer added. “I don’t know if it’s any one thing, but by Friday or the next few days, people will know. I really don’t know all the details.”
As to his fellow commissioners and O’Brien, Boyer said: “There are two board members I really admire.

Paul Cicero is brilliant, and his contribution is tremendous. Tom Myer is really bright, and those two should be in positions of leadership.”

Boyer Added: “I think Bob is the best promoter that Rockford has had in a long time. He’s hired good people.”

Cicero could not be reached for comment. Other commissioners are Kenneth Edward Copel and Darrin Golden.

As our sources were calling in here, WNTA News posted on their website: “Two sources tell WNTA News that the executive director of the Chicago-Rockford International airport, Bob O’Brien, may be parting ways with the airport board.

“Rockford Airport Commissioners met in closed session, apparently to talk about personnel issues and adjourned after coming out of the session.” For more, go to

Other sources tell us the board called the meeting to order, read the mandatory statement about a closed session and immediately went into closed session to discuss a budget proposal at about 1:55 p.m. At approximately 3:30 p.m., they came out of closed session, asked for public comment, and when there was none, immediately adjourned the meeting.

After waiting for an hour and a half for the continuation of the meeting in regular session, 15 staff members, all three local television station’s camera people and other reporters “were left with their mouths open,” according to a source at the meeting.

WTVO-17/FOX-39 has worked with this paper on the O’Brien section of this story. The Boyer resignation is an exclusive by The Rock River Times.

From the March 30-April 5, 2011 issue

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