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Allegheny County Airport Authority shuffles top staff in 'reorganization'

| Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 11:15 p.m.

The shake-up at the Allegheny County Airport Authority continued on Tuesday as three top staffers took on new roles.

Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Saracco was demoted to superintendent of the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, and Paul Hoback, formerly director of maintenance, was promoted to vice president of operations and facilities, spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said.

“His position essentially covers the same duties the (chief operating officer) did,” Jenny said.

Dave Shaw, formerly the director of general aviation at the county airport, was moved to assistant vice president of maintenance at the Allegheny County Airport. He will supervise Saracco, Jenny said.

Jenny called the moves a reorganization.

“The changes were made to align the authority team with the appropriate personnel to help us achieve our goals of providing the safest and most efficient airport and further develop customer service and facility improvements,” Jenny said.

“Stephanie previously worked at Allegheny County Airport. That was her post prior to chief operating officer and the county airport is a critical component of the authority and a vital asset to the region.”

James Gill, acting executive director of the airport authority, made the changes.

Salary information was not immediately available, Jenny said.

Authority board member Robert Lewis said he didn't know the reason for the shake-up but said, “we do need more flights.”

Board member Rich Stanizzo referred comment to Chairman David Minnotte. He could not be reached for comment, along with other board members.

The board a month ago ousted former authority President Brad Penrod, 53. Two weeks ago, longtime air service development Director Lucinda Harshman, 65, announced plans to retire.

The board appointed Gill, 46, the authority's chief financial officer, last month as acting executive director while it searches for a new CEO. He makes $214,465 a year.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has urged airport officials to add flights. He has denied orchestrating Penrod's ouster but said he supported the decision.

Pittsburgh International Airport has lost more than a quarter of the 213 daily flights it had five years ago. It has struggled to draw passengers since US Airways eliminated its hub there a decade ago.

The airport last year posted its lowest passenger total since opening in 1992.

Pittsburgh has an average of about 150 daily flights to 37 destinations — down from 600-plus flights to 110 destinations in the early 2000s.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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