County judge breaks tie for airport director contract

PRESIDIO COUNTY - The county has narrowly awarded an Airport Director contract to Chase Snodgrass after nearly a year of deliberations. After brief discussions at the Wednesday morning County Commissioner’s Court last week, Commissioners Brenda Bentley and Eloy Aranda voted to approve the final contract, with Commissioners Jose Cabezuela and Buddy Knight dissenting. Judge Cinderela Guevara broke the tie, approving the $36,000-per-year contract for Snodgrass to work remotely from Corpus Christi to handle big picture concerns for Presidio County’s two airports.

Justice of the Peace David Beebe was concerned that Snodgrass had not worked out the airports’ airplane hangar leases in his seven years at the helm of the airports. Many of the airport hangar leases are improperly documented, severely underpriced, or nonexistent. Judge Guevara assuaged those worries, informing the court that there is a plan to address the hangars within a Texas Department of Transportation airport study that is already in the works.

In a statement after the meeting, Commissioner Knight spoke about his nay vote. “I’ve been that way all the time because just like I said, I think it’s better to have somebody on the ground more than once a month.” Knight had previously voted against the rest of Commissioners, who had opted earlier this year to circumvent the traditional bid process and grant an exception to contract directly with Snodgrass instead.

Snodgrass asserts that the only thing that will change now is how he gets paid, since prior to the contract approval, he was responsible the same tasks, just as a county employee. The Airport Director will actually take a lower pay from the county, so he heartily endorsed the $17,500 in budget savings being partially reallocated to Rudy Estor, an airport employee he believed was underpaid for his work. “Rudy is on site during peak airport hours, and has many duties,” according to Snodgrass.

Commissioners agreed. In a unanimous vote, Estor was given the title of Airport Operations and Maintenance Supervisor, and a raise to $16 an hour. Since the promotion, Snodgrass stated, “Rudy’s promotion to airports operations and maintenance supervisor seems to have been well received by local airport users. Rudy had earned a good reputation with airport users, and I’m very pleased Commissioners Court has recognized and rewarded his contributions.” In other business:

The county will pursue approximately $40,000 of repairs to the heating and cooling system to mitigate leaks across the courthouse. Currently, employees are coming in on weekends to empty buckets of condensation that are not draining properly.

Doctor John Paul Schwartz was appointed the County Health Authority, after it was determined the county needed this position the inspect Mass Gathering Permit applications.

The county delayed two items that looked at application procedures for Mass Gathering Permits and Festival Permits.

The Big Bend Sentinel

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