Former Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport executive director Bryan Malinowski posthumously awarded bonus

Tom Clarke, acting Executive Director of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field, speaks during an airport commission meeting Tuesday, April 2, 2024. The meeting was the first since the death of former executive director Bryan Malinowski. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Colin Murphey)
Tom Clarke, acting Executive Director of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field, speaks during an airport commission meeting Tuesday, April 2, 2024. The meeting was the first since the death of former executive director Bryan Malinowski. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Colin Murphey)


The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission on Tuesday met for the first time following the fatal shooting of Bryan Malinowski, the executive director of Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field.

Following an executive session, commissioners voted to posthumously award Malinowski a $24,000 bonus.

Malinowski, 53, died on March 21, two days after an exchange of gunfire with agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as they were attempting to execute a search warrant at his Little Rock residence.

According to the ATF, Malinowski opened fire on the agents. One agent was wounded during the shooting.

On Tuesday, the chair on the Airport Commission's dais where Malinowski ordinarily would sit was draped in black along with his airport badge.

After the meeting was called to order, Bill Walker, the Airport Commission chairman, asked for a few moments of silence in light of Malinowski's passing.

Commissioners then spent about 45 minutes in executive session to discuss employment matters related to the executive director position. When they returned, they approved the bonus unanimously.

When making the motion, Patrick Schueck, the Airport Commission's vice chairman/treasurer, referred to the panel's historical practice of awarding bonuses and said Malinowski had a "very productive year."

Schueck mentioned the airport's renewed lease agreement with Dassault Falcon Jet and grant funding received for airport projects.

Malinowski received a $15,000 bonus last June along with a 3% merit pay increase and retirement savings plan contributions following his annual review.

In an email after Tuesday's meeting, airport spokesperson Shane Carter said the bonus will be paid to Malinowski's estate.

Additionally, the Airport Commission voted to rely on ADK Consulting & Executive Search through an existing contract for assistance with hiring Malinowski's replacement and awarded Thomas Clarke, the airport's deputy executive director who was named acting executive director on March 19, a 7% pay increase while he occupies the role.

Commissioner John Rutledge made the motion for the 7% pay boost and said it was consistent with the last time the airport had to tap an interim leader. That happened in 2019, when Malinowski, then the airport's deputy executive director, took over for the departing Ron Mathieu.

With the 7% increase, Clarke's salary is $237,968.66, according to Carter.

"Mr. Clarke's job description requires him to serve in the capacity of Executive Director in the Executive Director's absence, which he has been doing since March 19," Carter wrote. "Today's vote to increase Mr. Clarke's salary as Interim Executive Director further acknowledges the implementation of this succession."

The federal search warrant served at Malinowski's home last month was tied to suspected violations of dealing in firearms without a license and unlawful acquisition of a firearm. An affidavit in support of the search said Malinowski purchased more than 150 known firearms from May 2021 through late February.

Six firearms were later recovered connected to a crime and three through undercover purchases by the ATF, according to the affidavit. Among the items seized by agents on March 19 were numerous guns and rounds, court records show.

During Tuesday's meeting, Walker paid tribute to Malinowski as he remarked on a successful recent trip and a $4 million federal appropriation for the construction of a curbside canopy at the Little Rock airport.

Whether by "divine intervention" or mere coincidence, just prior to Malinowski's passing, Walker had accompanied the executive director and others on a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the state's congressional delegation, he said.

The trip afforded Walker an opportunity to get to know Malinowski even better, he said, and he observed "his passion and love for not only his airport family, but the work that he was doing here at this airport."

Walker added that "the mixed emotions, I guess, is because he's not here now, but his work, his vision, his hopes still live on in each and every one of us."

For his part, Clarke thanked commissioners for the confidence and support they had shown in him and Malinowski's team.

"We will do our best to perform in a way that would make him proud," Clarke said.

Federal legislation tied to the U.S. Department of Transportation included the $4 million for the canopy at the drop-off lanes outside the ticket lobby. The appropriation represents approximately half of the total cost of construction, according to Airport Commission documents.


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