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Madras City Administrator Gus Burril resigns; council appoints new interim police director, airport manager

Gus Burril, Derek Ables, Tim Plummer
City of Madras
Gus Burril, Derek Ables, Tim Plummer

Recruitment for new administrator planned; police director retiring from OSP position

MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) –- After more than a decade in the position and nearly 20 years with the city, Madras City Administrator Gus Burril submitted his resignation to the City Council at the end of Tuesday night's meeting, effective this Friday, to "pursue new career paths."

Burril began his career with the city in 2005 as the Public Works Director, promoted to City Administrator in 2011.

In the 18 years that Burril has been with the City of Madras, he has watched Madras grow and make big strides.

The population has increased by 46%, Erickson Aircraft Collection relocated here along with their tanker operation to occupy a large aircraft hangar that was constructed to recruit aeronautical business, Daimler Truck North America built a 243-acre site for testing their trucks, a multi-use trail system encircling the community was created, a housing urban renewal district was created resulting in a development boom and an award for housing innovation, tens of millions of dollars in grants were utilized to improve and expand the airport, businesses, parks, roads, and utilities.

And most recently, the city provided funding and other types of assistance to help businesses and the community at large navigate through the difficult impacts of the COVID pandemic.

“It has been a privilege to serve this city and this community as City Administrator," Burril said in a statement. "As I leave to spend more time with family and pursue new career paths, I feel good about how far the city has come and where it’s headed. With the combined efforts of the talented people on staff, the Council, Commissioners, and the community, I am confident Madras will move forward strategically and successfully and continue to be a great place to do business and raise a family.”

Burril’s last day at City Hall will be Friday.

“We wish Gus all the best as he moves forward with his personal and career goals," said Mayor Mike Lepin. "As a Council, our next steps will be to review the City Administrator functions alongside our upcoming Strategic Goals and then authorize Staff to begin the recruitment process.”

Also at Tuesday night's meeting, the City Council authorized the appointment of a new Interim Director of Police Services after the contract for Interim Director Steve Bartol expired last Friday.

The new Interim Director, Tim Plummer, will retire from Oregon State Police on March 24th and has over 30 years professional experience in public safety ranging from patrol work to training/education and administrative services.

In his current position with OSP, Sgt. Plummer is the State Coordinator for the Drug Recognition Expert program for all Oregon law enforcement officers. He is also the chairperson for the Impaired Driving Curriculum work group for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Technical Advisory Panel, an adjunct instructor for the Department of Safety and Standards Training and represents the Drug Recognition Expert program for 14 western states and Guam on the IACP.

“Director Bartol was exceptional in helping the staff and officers of Madras PD navigate through a difficult time the past six months. With his wide range of experience, we feel Sgt. Plummer will carry on that same exceptional service for our police department and community,” stated HR Director Charo Miller.

Sgt. Plummer’s first day as Interim Director will be March 27th and he will be available to serve until a Police Chief is hired.

“Until Director Plummer is onboard, Sgts. Webb and Elder will handle the day-to-day business of the police department,” stated City Administrator Gus Burril.

“Madras PD, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and OSP have worked well together for many years assisting each other on calls and that assistance will continue,” stated Sgt. Steve Webb.

“I can’t say enough about the professionalism of our police department staff and officers. Their commitment to their jobs and this community have been exemplary. Something the entire community of Madras can be proud of,” stated Mayor Mike Lepin.

Madras PD is currently seeking certified lateral police officers and reserve officers. If you’re interested in an opportunity with Madras Police Department, visit

 In 2021, Aviation Management Consulting Group prepared an assessment of the Madras Municipal Airport to determine current needs and future succession planning. Part of their assessment included onsite inspections and interviews and surveys of airport tenants/users, including the Airport Manager/Fixed Base Operator.

After analyzing the collected data, their recommendations to the City Council were that the functions of the Airport Manager and Fixed Base Operator should be managed separately, with a full-time employee for the Manager and a separate entity for the Fixed Base Operator services. Subsequent to reviewing the consultant’s final report and hearing their presentation, Council authorized staff to pursue the recommendations.  

After a lengthy search that attracted applicants from all over the United States, the Madras City Council has appointed Derek Ables as the new Airport Manager for the Madras Municipal Airport, with an official start date of April 3rd.

Ables is originally from Oregon and currently serves as the Operations Manager of the Garden City Regional Airport in Garden City, Kansas. He has previously served as the Airport Operations Specialist in Klamath Falls and worked for Ameriflight in Portland. In his interview, Mr. Ables stated he was looking forward to returning to Oregon where he has family and friends.

“We received interest from many qualified applicants,” stated HR & Administrative Director Charo Miller, “but it was imperative for the City and for airport users that we hire someone who had vision and passion to grow.”

The Airport Manager provides oversight of day-to-day operations and long-term planning while working hand-in-hand with many different users of the airport.

“It’s not only pilots and tenants he’ll be working with, but other users such as the Airshow of the Cascades, Rotarians, and others who utilize the airport for special events,” stated City Administrator Gus Burril.

The City continues to make infrastructure improvements at the airport, which will also be part of the Airport Manager duties.

The current Airport Manager, Rob Berg of Berg Air, LLC is under contract with the City through June 30, 2023. He has served as both the Airport Manager and the Fixed Base Operator since July 2006.

“Our airport has a reputation for being one of the friendliest municipal airports in the area and we have Rob and his family to thank for that. We wish him much success in his new ventures,” stated Mayor Mike Lepin.

The City has issued a Request for Proposals on the Fixed Base Operator services that will close on March 15th. Information can be found on their website at  

The Madras Municipal Airport, formerly a World War II training base for B-17 pilots, is now home to the Erickson Aircraft Collection, Erickson Aero Tanker, Daimler Truck North America, and the annual Airshow of the Cascades. The north hangar, originally built during World War II, is on the National Register of Historic Places. In August 2017, the Madras Airport hosted approximately 400 airplanes for the Total Solar Eclipse.

Article Topic Follows: Madras

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