KINGSTON — The Port of Kingston Commission has hired Jones Strategic to search for an executive director on behalf of the port.
The port is looking to replace former manager David Malone, who resigned Oct. 23 after the port became embroiled in lawsuits filed by Beth Brewster, owner of Kingston Adventures, and another resident, Tania Issa.
Brewster is suing to overturn the port’s eviction of her business from the marina, and for alleged violations of the Public Records Act. Issa is suing for alleged violations of the Public Records Act.
Brewster and Issa claim the port has acted in a discriminatory manner, and have filed numerous requests for public records in order to prove their claims. However, the port’s alleged failure to respond adequately to those requests have spawned more lawsuits from the two.
The principal consultant is Pat Jones, former executive director of the Washington Public Ports Association. Sub-consultant Larry Boone of LL Boone Consulting will assist Jones in the recruitment process. Boone retired from the Port of Bellingham after 11 years as its director of human resources.
Jones said the port hired him because “they want to get it right.”
Commissioner Walt Elliott wants Jones to assess organizational relationships within the port and then make recommendations for improvement. Jones said he hopes to have the assessment and recommendations finished by January.
“The intent is to help our January project to develop a policy document,” Elliott said.
Jones is interviewing a wide variety of people in Kingston. He said the process is going well so far.
“It’s very clear to me that the port has a long history of close connections with the community,” Jones said.
In speaking with community members, Jones feels most want the port to be successful.
“There’s good support for the institution,” Jones said.
In the proposal, Jones said he and Boone are “deeply experience in the governance and administration of Washington port districts” and “have established a specialty in executive recruitment.”
The commissioners want to move forward with phase one of Jones’ two-phase plan.
Phase one consists of reviewing the port’s operation, including its mission, strategic plan, budget and minutes from commission meetings and then offering advice for improvement.
Phase one will cost the port $10,000, although the commissioners placed a $1,000 cap on Jones’ travel expenses.
Elliott said there’s a chance the port may complete phases two and three without Jones. The idea was suggested during public comments at a Nov. 20 meeting.
Phase two would cost the port $20,000. It includes searching for and interviewing executive director candidates.
“We may likely look to other resources for the actual search as suggested in the public testimony,” Elliott said.
Under Jones’ proposal, phase one would take approximately five weeks. Phase two, if the port agrees to it, would take about eight, with one month dedicated to compiling candidates and another month for interviews and selection.