Clark retracts gag order

The executive director of the Jacksonville Airport Authority last week retracted a written directive that threatened to fire authority employees who took complaints to members of the authority board or the media without his approval.

John Clark retracted the Oct. 24 directive in a second memo issued two days after the first, saying that his order didn’t promote good spirit within the authority.

“Further, this directive was issued in haste and penalizes our organization based on the actions of a few,” Clark wrote.

Clark has said the directive was prompted by an authority worker phoning a board member to complain about a new volunteer program at Jacksonville International Airport in which employees monitor curb-side parking at the terminal. He wrote in his directive that complaining to the media or board members “will be deemed inappropriate action and is grounds for termination.”

In the second memo, Clark said the directive wasn’t intended to limit freedom of speech, but he encouraged employees to take their problems directly to him or their supervisors.

“As a member of this organization you have many ways to communicate with the management team about issues or concerns,” he wrote. “It is my hope that as a valued member of the JAA you utilize one of the established methods to address your concerns.”