KINGSTON – Port of Kingston Commissioner Bruce MacIntyre has resigned effective Jan. 31.
In his letter of resignation, submitted Jan. 24, MacIntyre wrote that hostility during four years of his six-year term had taken a toll on his health.
“My four years as port commissioner have been dominated by an atmosphere of disagreement, discord, distrust and personal attacks,” he wrote. “This atmosphere of perpetual assault has begun to have detrimental effects on my health, effects which I do not have to — and which I choose not to — accept.”
Contacted by phone Jan. 26, MacIntyre declined to comment.
During a phone interview, Port of Kingston’s Executive Director Jim Pivarnik postulated that MacIntyre’s decision to resign could have stemmed from the ongoing lawsuits involving the port.
“He basically came in, handed me that [letter] and I haven’t talked to him since,” Pivarnik said. “I can’t paraphrase Bruce, this was his letter, so instead of [the port] trying to make a statement, we’re just going to [release] the letter.”
He added, “I really can’t figure out exactly what he was talking about with hostilities. Certainly, internally there’s not hostilities,” he said. “The lawsuits are weighing on everybody, that I can only speculate would be his reason for making that statement.”
In a press release from the Port of Kingston, Pivarnik praised MacIntyre for his service as commissioner.
“Bruce has served the port and its citizens for four [years] of his six-year term,” he said in the release. “Bruce’s leadership and knowledge will definitely be missed.”
The remaining commissioners, Mary McClure and Laura Gronnvoll, will accept applications in the next 30 days from port district residents interested in serving until the November election.
Pivarnik remained optimistic that MacIntyre’s resignation would not negatively impact plans to bring fast ferry service to the port this summer.
“We have two commissioners, that are still on board, they’re going to move pretty quickly to appoint another commissioner,” he said.
“It’s not going to hinder anything or any of our operations or anything else,” Pivarnik said, adding, “Two votes are all you need. As long as Mary and Laura are together, it’s not a problem.”
During MacIntyre’s term, the port district was sued twice for failure to comply with the Public Records Act, and sued by a former employee for wrongful termination. One of the public records-related lawsuits was settled; the other lawsuits are still in court.
The public records lawsuits stem from a dispute then-port manager David Malone had with two residents, Beth Brewster and Tania Issa. Malone initiated the eviction of Brewster’s business, Kingston Adventures, from the port’s marina for not having a lease agreement. Brewster had operated at the marina for three years without a lease agreement but with the port’s consent, and had paid rent for use of the port’s small-boat facility. Brewster said Malone retaliated against her because she questioned in a public meeting how the port was being managed.
Issa believed the treatment of Brewster, as well as other unrelated instances, revealed gender discrimination and conflict of interest at the port, and they both filed requests for public records they believed would back up their suspicions. Malone resigned on Oct. 25, 2015. According to Pivarnik, Issa also recently filed an ethics complaint against MacIntyre stemming from the port’s failure to disclose public information.
“I have raised a number of concerns about Port practices,” Issa said in an email to Kitsap News Group. “Commissioner MacIntyre’s departure today is a healing step for me personally, and also for this community. There are many things fresh and new about the Port— new Commissioners, new leadership. I am excited for what is to come. The Port is the gem of the Kingston waterfront. And today, it gleams brighter as we move forward in a big way.”