Interim Carson City airport manager in place
August 16, 2017
The Carson City Airport Authority approved the hiring of an interim airport manager on Wednesday, Aug. 16, while it searches for a permanent manager.
The authority is hiring Dirk Zahtilla to replace Tim Rowe, the airport manager for the last six years, who resigned in mid-July.
Zahtilla has a history with the airport having served as the interim manager eight years ago when the airport was in a lot of turmoil.
“I’ve heard from three (fixed-base operators) and they’re not too excited about Mr. Zahtilla,” said Vice Chair Brian Vowell, who serves as an FBO representative on the authority, during the meeting on Wednesday in the Community Center Sierra Room.
Chairman Linda Law said there was one other candidate who came forward, Yvon Weaver, who quit as airport manager in 2008.
Her husband, Neil Weaver, owner of Weaver Aircraft, has served on the Airport Authority.
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“I actively sought out FBOs and there were just as many dissenting voices for one candidate as for the other,” said Law. “My main concern is day-to-day operations and that led me to believe (Zahtilla) will be the better choice.”
Zahtilla said at the Airport Authority’s meeting last month that he had no interest in a permanent job.
“I’m doing this to serve this group and this airport and if you come to me in a week from now and say this isn’t working, we don’t like you, I am OK with that,” said Zahtilla.
He will be hired as a contractor and Law said his contract allows for either the airport or Zahtilla to terminate it at any time without cause.
He will be paid $5,000 per month to work full-time and be on round-the-clock call in case of an emergency.
The timeframe is open-ended but the authority expects it will take three to six months to recruit and hire a permanent manager.
Zahtilla’s contract calls for him to stay on for 30 days after a permanent manager is hired to assist in the transition.
Members of the authority are working on developing a job description and an employment agreement for a permanent airport manager, which Treasurer Larry Harvey expected to bring to the authority for discussion and approval at its next meeting.
Still to be determined is whether the airport manager position will continue to be a full-time position with someone who can handle both administrative duties and business development to bring in more revenue to the airport, or whether to hire a part-time manager with a limited scope of work.
One possibility may be contracting with staffing service which could provide two people with different expertise, each to work on a part-time basis.
At last month’s meeting Bobbi Thompson, airport manager, Minden-Tahoe Airport, and chief financial officer for ABS Aviation, spoke and said her company could provide such services.
Law said on Wednesday that the company would be submitting a proposal to the authority, which will also consider individual applicants once it begins recruiting.