Clallam Economic Development Council board mulls interim director

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The board of the Clallam County Economic Development Council will hear more about the preferred candidate for interim executive director at its March meeting, board President Brian Kuh said Thursday.

Kuh said he is declining to name the candidate until negotiations between the Economic Development Council, or EDC, and the individual are further along.

“I don't want to put his name out there yet,” Kuh said.

He told EDC board members at their Thursday meeting, though, that the man has lived in Sequim for the past 20 years and most recently worked at a capital management firm in Seattle.

The candidate is a graduate of Yale University and Cornell Business School, Kuh said, and has economic development experience.

“We're pretty fortunate to have him as a potential resource,” Kuh said.

This candidate and another from Sequim approached the EDC about interest in the position, Kuh said, adding that there was no formal job posting associated with the position.

The EDC is seeking a new interim executive director after Tim Smith, a Port Angeles resident and retired city economic development director, resigned Jan. 25 after 28 days on the job.

Smith cited difficulty gaining a clear direction from the EDC board on how members want to move forward.

Smith was hired to the interim position under a $29-per-hour, 120-day contract after longtime EDC director Linda Rotmark resigned.

Kuh said the hiring process for a permanent director is on hold until an upcoming regional workshop, meant to act as a summit for area governments, business owners and business groups, is planned.

Regional workshop

The intent of the workshop is to produce a regional economic development strategy after gathering input from various businesses and stakeholder groups, EDC officials have said.

Kuh said the EDC's executive committee is planning to meet with staff from the Washington State University Division of Governmental Studies and Services to discuss the workshop.

The cost for WSU was not known this week and funding has not been determined.

Colleen McAleer, EDC board member and Port of Port Angeles commissioner, said she wants to make sure the workshop reaches stakeholders across the North Olympic Peninsula.

Clea Rome, WSU-Clallam County Extension director, said WSU staff will work to include as many different interests as possible.

“This is what they're used to doing: working with communities across broad sectors,” Rome said.

Kuh said the EDC's executive committee is working on a six-month timeline before the first regional workshop meetings can be held.

Amend water rule

Board members unanimously approved drafting a letter in support of the Olympic Resource Protection Council's request that the state Department of Ecology amend the Dungeness water rule, a year-old plan for water management in the Dungeness River basin.

Kaj Ahlberg, EDC board member and representative of the Port Angeles Business Association, made the request to the board.

The business association approved a similar letter to Ecology at the end of January, followed by Clallam County commissioners approving their own support letter Feb. 11.

The EDC officers will review the letter before it is sent to Ecology.

The Olympic Resource Protection Council filed a petition Jan. 21 requesting that Ecology amend the rule and claimed the department misused a statutory justification known as “overriding consideration of public interest” when it set the minimum flow for the Dungeness basin.

Implemented Jan. 2 last year, the water rule sets minimum flow levels for the river and its tributaries.

The rule covers the eastern half of Water Resource Inventory Area 18, from Bagley Creek to Sequim Bay.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 20. 2014 9:28PM
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