Diversity goal for Port of Port Angeles chief

Applicant plan update Feb. 18

PORT ANGELES — A consultant will make a targeted effort to recruit women, veterans and people of color to apply for the vacancy created by the upcoming departure of Port of Port Angeles Executive Director Karen Goschen, port Commissioner Colleen McAleer said Tuesday.

The search for Goschen’s replacement begins Friday when the job opening is scheduled for posting on the port’s website, then expands to port-related organizations and job boards and aggregators, port consultant Jeannie Beckett of Gig Harbor said.

Goschen, a former port finance director named to the port’s top position in 2016, is resigning on an unspecified date by mid-year — after her replacement is hired — to take care of her ill sister.

Goschen, who gave notice Dec. 28, is working with Beckett on writing a proposed part-time contract for the commissioners’ consideration to become a port project director, possibly for environmental issues, once they hire her replacement.

The port is paying Beckett $150 an hour to find the tax district a new executive director under a $20,000 general contract.

Port commissioners chose Beckett believing it would be cheaper than hiring an executive search firm.

Beckett briefed McAleer, board President Steven Burke and Commissioner Connie Beauvais Tuesday, at the commissioners’ regular meeting.

Beckett will collect applications until Feb. 18 and provide an update to the board for its Feb. 23 meeting, she said in an interview.

Applicants will be placed into groups according to selection criteria.

A table with candidates who meet minimum requirements in experience, education, business development and other requirements will be provided to commissioners, who will have access to all the applications.

McAleer said Beckett will try to find resources to add diversity to the pool of applicants.

“We would try to ensure that we were targeting executive associations and [web]sites or executive organizations that cater to women, veterans and people of color,” McAleer said.

“It’s important for any government to do that. As leaders of the community, we should ensure we are reaching out to all populations and breaking down any barriers that might exist, so that all groups have an opportunity to compete and engage fairly.”

Beckett said women and veterans are covered in port association websites.

“I will be as inclusive as possible,” she said.

The submissions will be reviewed and a short list created in March for a potential first round of video interviews with commissioners, who will list their top five candidates before possibly conducting video interviews.

The process will be reviewed in April to determine the next steps.

Burke estimated the position will pay a salary of about $130,000-$160,000 and manage a general operating budget that in 2021 is $8.4 million.

He said applicants do not need port executive director experience but must have experience in public administration and managing employees, and “ideally” would have a bachelor’s degree.

He said the next port executive director needs to be able to work with community leaders as well as other government agencies and port staff.

Commissioners have pledged to involve the public in the selection process. They have not decided what form that will take.

The face-to-face, meet-and-greet sessions common for past executive director finalists is not possible under current COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, they said.

Commissioners are not required under the state Public Records Act to disclose the names of applicants for public employment but like other governments release names of finalists for upper-level positions.

McAleer has stressed the need to keep a tight lid on applicant information after a candidate for Goschen’s position was fired when the port made him a finalist and released his and other applicants’ identities.

She said finalists for Goschen’s position will be warned that their names and basic employment information will be released if they reach a final round of 3-5 candidates.

Goschen said she will not take part in selecting a successor or reviewing applications.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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