Pendleton City Manager Robb Corbett plans to make the city’s economic development consultant a full-time employee in his budget proposal for the next fiscal year.

Instead of tacking Pendleton Convention Center management onto Steve Chrisman’s economic development responsibilities, however, Corbett proposes making him airport manager. If city council approves, Chrisman will become a full-time city employee July 1.

“I’m flattered that the city manager has confidence enough to consider me for that role,” Chrisman said in an email. “It may not happen overnight, but I see the airport playing an important role in Pendleton’s economic future.”

In March, Corbett planned to hire Chrisman as convention center manager to replace Pat Kennedy, who has worked under a temporary contract since retiring in January. Kennedy would continue managing the convention center.

Corbett said the rearrangement would save the city money because, even with Chrisman on its payroll, it would have to pay fewer benefits than the previous fiscal year. Kennedy will not receive benefits as a contractor, and interim airport manager Wayne Green was already on the books when former airport manager Larry Dalrymple retired in January.

Green, who now splits his duties as an associate engineer with managing the airport, would return to full-time work as a city engineer.

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Contact Chris Rizer at crizer@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.

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