By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Alderman's last day at Fort Worden will be Jan. 18.
“I see this as an opportunity to simplify my life,” said Alderman, 47, declining further comment.
Park Service spokeswoman Virginia Painter said Alderman is considering several jobs in Olympia but has not decided which to pursue or accept.
Alderman's job as a region operations manager in the State Parks Northwest Region Office was cut in late 2011, and having more than 20 years in the State Parks system, Alderman exercised her option of displacing, or “bumping,” a less-senior park employee.
That was Kate Burke, the former Fort Worden State Park manager who is now working for Jefferson Healthcare hospital.
Alderman had faced a challenging situation, said Parks and Recreation board member Rodger Schmitt.
“Because Kate was extremely popular, Allison walked into a situation that was very difficult, even though she had done nothing wrong,” Schmitt said.
“Everyone seemed to have a different idea as to what she should be doing.”
State Parks Field Operation Manager Ed Girard said the parks system hopes to determine a strategy for an interim manager and within the next two weeks.
“We have a little time in order to make the right decision as to what will best fit our needs as we move forward,” Girard said.
“There are a few key people in the park that can step up and help to sustain the work that is now in process.”
Painter said the role of the manager could be redefined in light of December's agreement between the Fort Worden Lifelong Learning Center Public Development Authority and State Parks for co-management of the Fort Worden complex.
“The role of the park manager could be a little different, but we will have a management structure in place,” Painter said.
“There are a lot of things that we don't know right now.”
Under the co-management plan, which is to begin the first of 2014, the Port Townsend-based PDA will manage the campus area, which is about one-fourth of the 434-acre park and which contains most of the buildings, while the state will continue management of the campgrounds, Chinese gardens, trails, lighthouse and shoreline.
Girard said the new parks manager would not be involved in the negotiations between the parks service and the PDA but that any new manager would be a valuable source of information during those meetings.
“We want someone who has park director experience who can come in and help the staff sustain current operations,” Girard said.
“They should also be politically savvy and able to interact with community members.”
Alderman last February called her new position “a lateral move” with regard to responsibility and salary. She was earning $78,500 annually, the same salary Burke earned.
Alderman said the Fort Worden staff, which numbers 32 people, was indispensable during her tenure.
“They are a good group of people, and everyone has stepped up and done more than their share,” she said of the staff.
“They are dedicated, they are committed, and they care.”
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.