City on final approach with airport manager hiring
Steamboat Springs — The city of Steamboat Springs is getting closer to naming its next airport manager.
Public Works Director Chuck Anderson said Tuesday the city plans to interview four finalists for the job next week. The city received 61 applications for the position.
The next manager will step in following a period of turbulence at the city-owned airport.
Adam Kittinger, the last airport manager, was fired after serving just shy of a year at Bob Adams Field
Emails obtained by the Steamboat Today show Kittinger clashed with Anderson about airport operations and questioned why Anderson did not address some issues, such as irregular charges for hangar rentals, before he arrived in Steamboat.
Anderson has declined to discuss the circumstances that led to Kittinger’s firing, saying they were personnel matters.
The new airport manager will be the city’s third in less than three years.
Chris Cole, who served as airport manager before Kittinger in 2013, recently discussed the rewards and challenges of the job with Steamboat Today.
During his tenure, Cole helped to revamp the Wild West Airfest and also made an effort to get the community more involved at its municipal airport by leading tours and even hosting car shows at the facility.
“There are a good number of airport managers in Colorado and the nation that don’t have to do as much as the manager in Steamboat,” Cole said after ticking off a wide range of the airport manager’s responsibilities. “Given the small staff at the airport, the airport manager has a lot more on his plate that he can’t delegate.”
The city also owns and operates the FBO at the airport. Cole said this isn’t the case for many other cities that have airports.
“The easiest way to explain to some people is that the airport is a city within the city, and the airport manager basically acts as a city manager but specifically at the airport,” Cole said. “Politics, meetings, regulations, emergencies, events, marketing, the works.”
“So what is difficult for a community like Steamboat is that they are small and have a dynamic airport that requires someone with a lot of experience to help,” Cole continued. “If the circumstances were right, I’d come back in a heartbeat. I loved the community and the airport and loved the area.”
Cole left Steamboat to take an aviation planning job in Alaska.
After Kittinger was fired, City Manager Gary Suiter said he wanted to look into the pay of the position to see if the city should be compensating the airport manager more. The last airport manager’s salary was $79,000.
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