PORT TOWNSEND — Port of Port Townsend commissioners have unanimously extended interim Executive Director Jim Pivarnik’s employment through June 30, 2020.
Pivarnik was given a 10 percent raise — based on the consumer price index — to $148,632 annually from $132,000 with four weeks vacation. He began work Sept. 18 as interim director.
Commissioners made the decision Wednesday after an executive session.
Commissioner Pete Hanke said previous director Sam Gibboney, who left the post last September and is now the executive director of the Port of Olympia, was paid $150,000.
“Jim has come in and done an excellent job, and this gets him up closer to what she was paid,” Hanke said. “It’s fair in terms of his cost-of-living increase.”
Port Attorney Frank Chmelik said the amendment replaces the severance package that was previously negotiated.
“If you hire a new executive director, he can either become the deputy executive director or resign,” Chmelik said. “If he resigns, he gets no severance. We’ve eliminated the severance package from the contract. In a sense, the economic exposure of the Port of Port Townsend is less now.”
“Instead of waiting until September and doing an eight-month contract, I just thought we could do a year contract and extend it,” Pivarnik said. “I will be hitting the road after that.”
Pivarnik left his executive director position at the Port of Kingston, where he served for over two years beginning in 2015, to return to the port where he was deputy director for 15 years.
His contract as interim executive director was for one year.
“The commission said we’re in the middle of a lot of major projects and asked if I would consider staying a little longer,” he said.
The discussion was prompted by the Port Townsend city manager selection and “not having the port manager and the city manager going away at the same time.”
Referring to such projects as replacing the Point Hudson jetty and work on the Jefferson County International Airport runway, he said continuity was key to success.
“I’ve been talking a lot to moorage tenants and marine trades and everyone seems to be on board,” Pivarnik said. “For the most part, things are starting to turn around, and they see progress. So let’s keep this train moving.
“We are seeing year-end numbers mid-year. We are seeing black ink instead of red. People aren’t complaining. People are saying they want to pay their share and make the port a success.
“If I’m not doing my job and not working out, I don’t need a severance package, and I’ll move on,” Pivarnik said.
“My whole thing is helping the port and not helping Jim Pivarnik. I’m past retirement age. I love this job and love the port and I’m here to see it though.
“It’s going to be a fun year.”
Jefferson County Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].