Jim Parker

Jefferson PUD general manager steps down early as commissioners seek ‘new direction’

PORT HADLOCK — Jim Parker has stepped down from the position of Jefferson County Public Utility District general manager and been replaced by an interim general manager as the agency seeks to restructure.

Public utility district (PUD) commissioners approved during a Monday special meeting Parker’s early release from his contract.

“It was a mutual decision by the board and Mr. Parker,” said Commissioner Kenneth Collins, commission president.

Parker was scheduled to retire in April after 24 years of working for the PUD. He is now scheduled to retire March 5. In the meantime, he has stepped down to take roughly six months of paid time off he has accrued.

“We haven’t severed ties,” Collins said. “He’ll be supporting the interim general manager.”

Interim general manager steps in

Assistant General Manager Kevin Street will serve as interim general manager.

The agreement signed by PUD commissioners Monday specifies that Parker will get $70,000 in severance pay, which is roughly six months of his current salary.

Parker wasn’t available for comment as of Tuesday.

“The PUD board really wanted to chart a new direction,” Collins said. “We just wanted to accelerate the process of finding a new general manager.”

The board said in the agreement that restructuring would be placed in Parker’s file as the reason his contract was terminated early.

Collins said that, because Parker planned to retire in April, the board wanted to get started finding a new general manager to take the PUD “into the future.”

Collins said PUD commissioners hope to find a permanent general manager in the next three to six months.

“It’s a complicated job,” Collins said. “That’s why we were eager to get started and begin moving in a new direction.”

PUD commissioners are seeking candidates with the solid management experience of a larger organization because the PUD, which now employs 50 people full time, is expected to continue growing.

“All the commissioners recognize the huge contribution Mr. Parker made to the PUD,” Collins said. “We now have 50 full-time employees, and that’s tenfold from when Jim started.

“The community owes Mr. Parker a great deal of gratitude for all he’s done.”

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.