By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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The three port commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to make O'Hollaren permanent in the job, with a salary of $145,000 a year plus benefits.
“You are in the hot seat, my man,” quipped port board president Jim Hallett.
“I appreciate the confidence of the commission,” replied O'Hollaren, who has been the interim port director since August.
“It's been a great run so far, and I'm looking forward to the challenges.”
At a port meeting last week, O'Hollaren said his priorities are developing the port's composites manufacturing capabilities, getting tenants on the former Peninsula Plywood site and exploring opportunities such as establishing a barge dock at the port's Terminal 5.
He succeeds Jeff Robb, who resigned as executive director June 24 following a critical internal report on his management practices.
The report was prompted by a complaint from the port's then-director of business development, Colleen McAleer.
McAleer was elected last November to be one of the three port commissioners.
O'Hollaren will make $7,000 a year more than Robb, now the port's environmental affairs director.
Through the end of this month, O'Hollaren, the former Port of Longview executive director, will continue being employed through Waldron, a Seattle-based executive search firm.
The company now pays O'Hollaren $100 an hour for a 32- to 35-hour work week.
Under the terms of an agreement with Waldron, the port will pay Waldron $29,000 for selecting O'Hollaren, or 20 percent of his starting salary.
Commissioner John Calhoun said beginning the contract April 1 “keeps relations with the consultant who is providing the service and the permanent appointment clean at the beginning of the month so the contract obligations we all share are clearly severed at a convenient date.”
O'Hollaren plans to move to the Port Angeles area.
He now rents here and commutes on weekends to Longview, where he and his wife, Denise, a Cowlitz County Superior Court clerk, have a three-bedroom home.
No one spoke for or against the contract during the meeting's public comment section Tuesday.
But McAleer said she had listened to concerns over the hiring process, O'Hollaren's history at the Port of Longview and the fact that he expects to be in the position for three to six years that were expressed by port tenant Jerry Lamb, an inventor and port tenant, and Bob Lynette, a former energy consultant.
O'Hollaren, 59, was the only candidate interviewed for the job, which was not advertised, and commissioners kept secret his status as a candidate.
“I fully considered those two individuals' and the viewpoints of dozens of people who stated they think he will be terrific for our community,” McAleer said.
“That echoes my opinion and the experience I have had with him over the last seven months.”
O'Hollaren's new contract mirrors in some respects the terms of his interim-director employment agreement.
They include mileage reimbursement at the IRS rate of 56 cents a mile for one weekly round trip to Longview until he relocates and a $750 monthly housing allowance for up to six months.
He will receive up to $10,000 in relocation costs.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.