VENTURA COUNTY — After more than five years managing the county's airports in Camarillo and Oxnard--and serving as a lightning rod for airport critics--Rod Murphy announced Friday he is resigning to look for "new challenges."
Murphy, 56, has taken heat from airport neighbors, politicians and pilots since he was hired in 1994. Foes have routinely blasted Murphy as a wasteful administrator and accused him of failing to take their concerns seriously.
But his bosses on the Board of Supervisors and in the county Government Center have always defended Murphy as a top-notch manager who unfairly endured flak over airport issues.
"It's difficult running an airport in an urban area. It's a draining job, and at some point people start to think there is something better than this," said Harry Hufford, the county's chief administrative officer.
Murphy said he wants to explore other airport administrator jobs, not just in California, but on the East Coast.
"About every five or six years it's time to look for a new challenge," he said. "After a while you kind of figure out the system, then get into coast mode."
Murphy counts among his top accomplishments reducing the vacancy rates from 30% to 3% at Camarillo Airport, and a $1-million runway going in this year. Murphy oversaw 32 employees and a $10.7-million budget at the Oxnard and Camarillo airports, Hufford said.
He will leave his job Sept. 10.