Modesto’s airport manager is set to retire April 7, which would be four months after the city placed him on paid administrative leave.
Jerry Thiele has overseen Modesto Airport for six years and has about 35 years in airport administration. He earns $98,136 annually. The city placed him on paid leave Dec. 6.
Modesto Human Resources Director Joe Lopez said in an email Wednesday, “Mr. Thiele has decided to retire from the city effective April 7. During this time, he has and will remain on administrative leave.” Lopez added that Thiele has not filed a claim or similar action against the city.
City officials have declined to say why Thiele, 57, was placed on leave, saying it’s a personnel matter. Thiele has declined to comment.
Steve Fischio – the city’s fleet, streets and parking manager – has been the airport’s acting manager.
The airport has an annual operating budget of nearly $1.2 million and is allocated six employees, according to the city’s 2013-14 operating budget. SkyWest Airlines provides the only regularly scheduled commercial flights from Modesto Airport – three daily flights to and from San Francisco. But the city is working with its airport consultant to land daily flights to and from Los Angeles. The city says those flights are vital for the region and the airport. Southern California is the top destination for Modesto Airport travelers, who change planes in San Francisco.
In other news, the parklets at 10th and J streets downtown are getting the VIP treatment from volunteers who are sprucing them up with new paint, public art and other improvements. Parklets are tiny urban parks along the side of the street. The work includes new bistro tables, chairs and umbrellas.
The project was organized by the urban design group of the Downtown Modesto Partnership, a city news release says. The partnership was formed in November and represents a cross section of the community, such as the city, churches and downtown businesses.
Downtown also is reaping the benefits from youths from Morning Star Community Church in Salem, Ore., who come here every year for a week to do community service. The church youths have weeded and cleaned the highway entrances and exits into downtown, according to the news release.
The church youth group also is painting Central Grace Community Church.