[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]
"Ventura County airports director resigns"
Saturday, September 2, 2000
County airports director resigns
Rod Murphy's policies had been under fire by pilots, area residents;
resignation surprises some leaders
By RaulHernandez and Zerline A. Hughes
Ventura (CA) County Star
Stunning colleagues and residents alike, County Department of Airports
Director Rod Murphy resigned Friday in the midst of turmoil for Oxnard
Murphy, 56, submitted his resignation letter explaining that he'd reached
his "plateau" with the agency and was ready to submit resumˇs elsewhere.
"I don't feel I'm leaving the county in a lurch," Murphy said. "I was
looking for the right time to make a change, but there is no real right
He will leave next week and Scott Smith, deputy director of airports, will
take over until the position is filled.
Murphy, 56, has been in charge since May 1994 of the Oxnard and Camarillo
airports that have a $10.7 million budget and 32 employees.
Murphy has been in the midst of airport-related controversies ranging from
rent increases and costly master plans to adding more flights at Oxnard.
"If he takes his policies with him, that would be very good," said Robert
Fowler, head of the Camarillo Airport Hangar Association.
Murphy, however, said he's accomplished many things, including a drop in the
hangar vacancies at Camarillo Airport from 30 percent to 3 percent and also
improving the airport's financial posture.
"We've repaired a lot of old buildings, infrastructures, taxiways,
facilities and are continually moving in a very positive direction," he
Murphy said he's considering offers at airports in San Bernardino and San
"Right now, it's time to take a good look at other opportunities that are
making their way out there," Murphy said. "In this position, you reach a
plateau after about five years and you reach a point where you need to get
revitalized and re-invigorated."
He said the hardest part of the job was dealing with the pressure.
"Knowing that you're doing the right thing and pressing on," he said. "It's
nice for people to be that concerned."
Murphy said he had one regret: "The least (thing) I'm proud of is I was
never able to overcome the perception that we were trying to build a
regional airport, which was never our intent. We could never break that
Murphy's resignation caught many by surprise, including council members,
airport board authority members and Murphy's supporters and detractors.
Harry Hufford, interim chief of administrative officer, said he wasn't
"No, he's been under a fair amount of pressure all the time that I have been
here," he said.
Hufford said the pressure has come from pilots concerning costs and also
some vocal Oxnard residents who want to permanently shut down the airport,
citing noise and safety concerns. In July, the Oxnard Airport Mission
Statement Committee voted to close down the airport by Aug. 1, 2005. But
others are adamantly opposed to closing it.
"That's a surprise. That was a quick notice," Camarillo Councilman Mike
Morgan, chairman of the Airport Authority, said about Murphy's resignation.
"It seems that you would have more of a notice for resignation."
Supervisor John Flynn and Oxnard Councilman Bedford Pinkard said Murphy
didn't give them a hint that he intended to resign.
"I was somewhat surprised even though there has been a lot of controversy.
There is always controversy with airports," Flynn said. "I enjoy working
"We were all set to take a trip to Washington (D.C.) to talk about airports
and everything, and he was in this group that was going," said Pinkard, also
on the Oxnard Airport Authority.
An airport detractor said the next director should pay closer attention to
the concerns of the neighbors.
"I certainly hope his (successor) is going to be mindful and pay attention
from the will of the public which want the airport closed," attorney Tim
Riley of Oxnard Shores said. "I look forward to working with the new
department head and in phasing out the airport over the next five years."
Post your opinion on this story in the CAA Discussion Forum