DETROIT (WXYZ) - In a stunning about face, Wayne County Airport Authority Director Turkia Mullin says she will give back the $200,000 severance given to her to leave her position as Wayne County Economic Development Director to accept her current job at the airport.
As Economic Director, Mullin had been one of the county's highest paid employees, pulling in $200,000 a year, with an additional $75,000 paid by private companies. When the Wayne County Airport Authority chose to hire her as its new airport director in August, she learned her salary would jump to $250,000; $35,000 more than her predecessor.
On Tuesday, Action News Investigators reported that Mullin would be paid a staggering $200,000 just for leaving her old job at Wayne County.
In a written statement, Mullin now says, "I spoke with Mr. Ficano this afternoon and we mutually agreed that giving the money back is the best thing to do for both the county and the airport. This issue has become such a significant distraction that it has interfered wtih our ability to focus on operations. It's time to put this behind us and get back to work."
The statement also says that Ficano agrees.
"There are not many people who would do the same thing in her shoes," Ficano says. "It's never been about money with Turkia. She wants to do whatever is in the best interest of Wayne County. I support her and look forward to watching her drive investment in and around the airport, just as she did here."
On Thursday, Ficano defended Mullin's severance, saying the county was required to honor it.
In August when Mullin was named to her position as the head of the airport, Action News Investigators said she may just be the the most powerful woman in Wayne County government. Inside the county's headquarters in Detroit, a building she played a key role in buying, Mullin is well known as a smart, tough executive whose business savvy and legal expertise has made her a formidable figure.
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