Palm Springs Airport – Growth Means More Bureaucracy

Thursday, April 12, 2007
Airport seeks more management
City manager says growth fuels need;new position to pay $150,000 a year
By Nicole C. Brambila
The Palm Springs (CA) Desert Sun

Palm Springs City Manager David Ready is adding a layer of bureaucracy to the airport. The announcement at the Airport Commission meeting Wednesday that a new assistant city manager position will oversee the airport surprised board members. “I believe any time you add another layer of management, it comes with its own issues,” said Commissioner Nancy Doria, who represents La Quinta. Richard Walsh has been Palm Springs International Airport’s executive director since 2004. Ready said the management restructuring is not a reflection of Walsh’s job.

Doria and Commission Chairman Bob Elsner called the job Walsh has done “phenomenal.”

The Palm Springs city charter structures the management of the airport to fall under the purview of the city manager and council.

Ready, who will search for a candidate for the assistant city manager of aviation position, said growth necessitated the position.

“It is no longer a small town airport,” Ready said. “The airport is no longer the lifeblood of the city, but the entire valley.”

In 2006, Palm Springs International grew by nearly 8 percent, handling 1.5 million passengers annually. The national airport growth average is 4 percent.

The number of projects, including a terminal expansion and new air traffic control tower, required the restructuring, Ready said.

The position will be paid for, in part, by not filling the assistant aviation director spot vacated by Steve Zehr in August.

Ready expects to fill the $150,000 position by June.

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