Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce, executive director agree to 'mutual separation'

By Erik Hidle
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND -- The Chamber of Commerce is now calling the departure of Executive Director Roderick Davis a "mutual separation."

A day after announcing that Davis had resigned after only five months, the chamber said it is clarifying its original statement.

"We were premature in releasing that press release," said Dave Turissini, a member of the chamber board of directors.

"It contained information that [Chamber President Ryan Anderson] thought was correct but turned out not to be 100 percent accurate."

Turissini said he had finished negotiating the terms of Davis' departure from the organization on Thursday, and the two sides had made a mutual decision to end the employment.

"Rod is stepping down, and it's an agreeable separation," Turissini said.

"He needs to tend to his personal life and some family issues that are forefront, and we understand.

"There is no animosity between us."

Turissini said Davis would receive severance pay but did not go into detail.

"In his contract there was a severance agreement," he said.

Davis confirmed today would be his final day and agreed with the statement from Turissini.

"I am not resigning," Davis said. "I asked for a mutual agreement to be replaced.

"This is going to be a particularly exciting time for the chamber, and they need someone who will be here full-time.

"Right now, I have to spend time with my family, and it's not fair to [the chamber] for me to be gone for long periods of time."

Davis said he plans to move back to Moses Lake.

On Wednesday, Davis said he did not agree with a statement from the chamber that he had turned in a resignation.

"The apologies have been made," Davis said on Thursday.

"I don't believe the announcement was malicious, but it was expeditious.

"They wanted to let people know they were moving forward."

Davis' final day will be today -- just short of six months on the job.

Davis was announced as the chamber board of directors selection for the job on Aug. 28. He officially began working as the top administrator Oct. 1.

Davis came to Port Townsend from Moses Lake with 15 years of chamber of commerce experience across the country, in Putnam County, W.Va.; Chula Vista, Calif.; and Hermiston, Ore.

In Moses Lake, he served as a business consultant after leaving his Hermiston position for personal reasons.

He also served in the Navy for 20 years and retired as a commander in 1989.

In Port Townsend, Davis succeeded Tim Caldwell, who resigned after 16 years to accept a Port Townsend office manager position with Puget Sound Energy.

During his time at the chamber, Davis helped move the chamber offices into a new facility at the Haines Place Park and Ride and helped establish a wireless hot spot in the same area.

Davis also created an E-lert system, providing business owners with information on forged checks circulating in the area.

In an interview in October, Davis said he planned to introduce a program that would forecast the number of visitors to the town, establish a mystery shopper program and increase visitor feedback, visitor appreciation programs and advertising methods for the community.

Davis also said he intended to get a wireless cloud encompassing Port Townsend in place by May of this year.

Jennifer MacGillonie, a member of the chamber's executive board, has accepted the position of interim director until a permanent replacement is hired, Anderson's statement said.

Reporter Erik Hidle can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at erik.hidle@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 20. 2009 4:42AM
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