Imperial County Airport

Another county hat for Birdsall

By MARC SCHANZ, Staff Writer
Thursday, May 27, 2004 3:36 PM PDT
You might call him the busiest man in the county.

The man whose name adorns every gas pump in the Valley now has another job after receiving the nod by the county Board of Supervisors this week. Stephen Birdsall, Imperial County’s agriculture commissioner, sealer of weights and measures and air pollution control officer, also will oversee and manage the Imperial County airport, according to County Executive Officer Robertta Burns.

The reorganization was approved Tuesday by the supervisors.

“I began working with the (agricultural commissioner) early this year to include the airport under his department,” Burns stated in a memo to the board dated Tuesday. “I am more than pleased with the enthusiasm Mr. Birdsall and his staff have exhibited in coming to an understanding of the benefits to the county.”

Burns added in her report that with only three full-time airport employees it has been difficult for the airport workers to handle both the day-to-day operations of the facility as well as administer the numerous federal funds and grants tied to the airport’s operation.

Birdsall said his office has been working with Burns to help with grants and programs. He added his staff has a well-established history of sound accounting practices and working with enforcement activities.

“I’ve been a pilot for about eight years and I’ve worked with (Federal Aviation Administration) officials,” Birdsall said. “I know the lingo, I know the processes. We’ve been working over the past few months to get all this in order.”

Birdsall’s newest title is director of airports and he will supervise operations and development of the county’s air facilities.

As part of a personnel reorganization, Birdsall and his staff will provide the airport with support for administration and accounting ? supplementing the airport’s three full-time employees. Birdsall said the airport manager and his staff would be reporting to his office.

David Conn said Wednesday he is working as the county airport manager and was not familiar with how the new management structure would be set up.

“I haven’t heard anything different yet,” he said.

Burns said “appropriate organization” of the airport will be considered at a later date.

Birdsall added he’s working on an “update” for the airport’s growth for everything from maintenance to operations grants from the federal government.

A caveat to Birdsall’s reworked contract is he gets the private use of a hangar for his personal plane.