Mark Raines, who was hired this week as the public relations person at Little Rock National Airport, has changed his mind and decided not to take the job, Airport Director Ron Mathieu has confirmed.
"After he signed and accepted," Mathieu said, Raines had second thoughts, and gave family issues as his reason to back out. Mathieu said he didn't probe further. Mathieu added that he hasn't decided on what his next step will be to fill the position. Raines won out over finalists Michael Keck, a former city director; Bryan Kulpin, who holds a similar position with the Reno/Tahoe Airport Authority; and Debbie Wilhite, a political consultant.
Raines, a resident of Cabot, was to have been paid $125,000 a year. After Raines' hiring was announced, City Manager Bruce Moore noted that it is a "requirement" of his that department heads and key staffers at City Hall be Little Rock residents, but he doesn't hire airport staff. Residency of city employees has been an issue in the ongoing city penny sales tax campaign.