The proposed airport master plan came back before the El Dorado City Commission Oct. 20 for a vote, after being discussed at a previous work session.


The proposed airport master plan came back before the El Dorado City Commission Oct. 20 for a vote, after being discussed at a previous work session.

There was some confusion addressed after the initial discussion regarding the hiring of an airport operator to fill the positive David Wiebe has held.

“Dave Wiebe was approached by another company that sought his skills out and made him an offer that was jut too good,” said Herb Llewellyn, city manager.

He pointed out that Wiebe was leaving voluntarily, not that the city was replacing him.
“The city did not anticipate losing him,” Llewellyn said. “Wiebe Air did not anticipate this opportunity coming up.”

Another concern was voiced by Commissioner David Chapin.

“At what point did you say Mr. Wiebe intended to look after his business first?” Chapin asked. “I think you owe him an apology because, Mr. Llewellyn, I’m sure you look out after yourself first.”
Llewellyn pointed out that he looks out for the city of El Dorado first.

“Mr. Wiebe has spent 26 years of public service working at that airport, building that airport, with his hands tied by the city,” Chapin said. “A lot of people who don’t have anything to do with an airplane called me.”

“We all agree the Wiebes have given their heart to the airport and the community,” Commissioner Linda Clark said. “I realize to the citizens who read the newspaper, the way it was written.”
Mayor Tom McKibban said they did not mean anything by that comment.

“We did hold off to vote on this until you had a chance to give input on this,” McKibban said to Chapin, who was absent during the previous discussion. “Any words of wisdom since you are a pilot?”

“I think the business plan as written is a fine business plan and should work,” Chapin said. “I don’t have any issues with the plan that’s in the document. I just wish we could have tried to work things out because it was a good deal we had in the past. I just wish we could have worked things out.”
McKibban asked Chapin to clarify that comment so it was not misunderstood.

“I will never say the city asked Mr. Wiebe to leave, I just wish it would have worked for him to stay here,” Chapin said.
Llewellyn agreed they would all feel the net result of Wiebe Air leaving them.

“I don’t think any FBO (fixed base operator) we get is going to do what Wiebe Air does out there today,” he said. “It is going to cost more. I doubt we’re going to get that ownership in it that Wiebe Air has today. I think that Dave provided a service, that because of his ownership – his personal ownership in that and how strongly he felt about it and how it is viewed by those pilots, and users as his friends and I think he treated them as friends. I think the next FBO will be driven by business and business is driven by a profit margin.”

Chapin agreed.

“There are a bunch of people at that airport that will miss him being there,” Chapin said.

Clark also expressed some hope Wiebe will keep his planes out there and continue to be a familiar face at the airport.

Chapin said Wiebe has indicated he will still be around. “I hope he will for a long time,” Chapin said.

Chapin made a motion to adopt the plan and for the city to execute it. It was approved 5-0.