New port director may cost more

With a new executive director taking the helm of the Port of Coupeville in December comes a new employee arrangement, prompting officials to try and find a bit more money in the budget.

Tim McDonald, the one-time Island County health director, was named executive director last month of the small port district. Since then, he has been working with port staff to come up with an employment arrangement.

The current executive director, Jim Patton, works for the port on a personal services contract while McDonald wants to work for the port as an “at-will” employee. Patton, whose contract with the Port of Coupeville expires at the end of the year, decided against bidding for an extension. He is currently a candidate for an open seat for the port commission.

McDonald said he wants to be an employee because he will be covered by the port’s insurance.

“I think its important for the port and important for me to be covered by insurance,” McDonald said during Wednesday’s Port of Coupeville meeting. He also recommended that he work on an at will basis where the commissioners could terminate his employment for any reason or no reason. If he chooses to quit, he would offer the commissioners a 60 notice. He proposed a 25-month contract. Patton, on the other hand, works on a personal services contract, where he earns $50 an hour up to $34,000 a year. That arrangement has left Patton with working hours on a pro bono basis.

“This has been a major concern of mine,” Port Commissioner Benye Weber said Wednesday. She was worried that the deductions required would reduce the availability of McDonald.

“My main concern is where the money is coming from,” Weber said.

In an interview after the meeting, Patton said there isn’t a lot of slack in the budget to find extra dollars to increase McDonald’s salary. He, along with McDonald and the port’s accountant will meet to negotiate compensation and the implications to the port’s budget.

McDonald is scheduled to start his duties Dec. 1. He will spend a month working alongside Patton so he can better familiarize himself with the port’s operations.


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