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Air Center sees staff resignations

Lisa Dunlap Photo Mark Bleth has resigned as Air Center manager after almost two years in the job.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The new fiscal year is bringing several changes to the staff at the Roswell Air Center.

Air Center Manager Mark Bleth, also Air Center deputy director, has resigned, as have two other Air Center employees, Office and Security Manager Walt Ramirez and Airport Security Coordinator Evangelina Guerrero.

Bleth, hired in August 2018 and a former manager of the Truth or Consequences Municipal Airport, said he has reactivated his real estate broker license and will join Berkshire Hathaway Enchanted Lands Realtors in Roswell.

He said he will focus primarily on commercial and industrial projects, with the intent of working on some large-scale projects.

Bleth’s work for the past two years included a rebranding project for the Air Center that included a new logo, website and the removal of the word “International,” from the name since the airport does not have a U.S. Customs entry; negotiation of new leases and new tenants at the Air Center; and coordination with international and U.S. aircraft manufacturers that use the Air Center for its aircraft testing or aircraft storage.

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A city spokesman said that the staff resignations were prompted by budget shortfalls.

“The vacated positions resulted from the employees choosing to take advantage of the retirement/severance packages the city offered as part of its budget-reducing measures,” said Todd Wildermuth. “City and Air Center administrators are now evaluating the organizational needs to determine which positions will be filled and, if so, how they will be filled.”

He explained that new hires might fill a position, while existing employees might be transferred or assume additional responsibilities for other jobs.

Because of the business shutdowns and other impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the oil and gas slowdown that is expected to lower tax revenues, city management has proposed more than $31 million in 2020-21 budget cuts. Part of that involves hiring freezes, layoffs of temporary and seasonal workers, and mandatory unpaid furloughs of 14 days for all employees that would be spread out throughout the year. Offering people incentives to retire or resign was part of the budget reduction plans.

Air Center Director Scott Stark, who also used to hold the Air Center manager duties, and Air Center Supervisor Scott Massey remain with the city department.