Port Townsend City Council names new PDA board

Eight members to have first meeting Wednesday

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend City Council has appointed eight people to the new Fort Worden Public Development Authority’s board of directors.

The new board members will have their first meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The city council unanimously approved the nominations on Monday, Mayor Michelle Sandoval sent the official appointment letters to the selected people later in the week.

The new members replace the former board. All members of the former Public Development Authority (PDA) board had resigned after a nine-month restructuring was completed.

Seven people on the new board were nominated by a five-person nomination committee, which narrowed the 10 applicants to seven. Sandoval recommended an eighth person to the board.

The first seven appointed are Brad Mace to Position 1 for a one-year term, Celeste Tell to Position 2 for a one-year term, David King to Position 3 for a two-year term, Eva Webber to Position 4 for a two-year term, John Begley to Position 5 for a three-year term, Rodger Schmitt to Position 6 for a three-year term, Victoria Brazitis to Position 7 for a three-year term.

Sandoval also nominated former PDA board member Nauschard Cader to the board for a one-year term. The other council members approved the choice and he was included in the final motion.

“I reached out to him because he does have degrees in accounting and audits and has the experience of serving on the PDA board in the past and I asked him if he would serve at least in the interim,” Sandoval said.

“His previous experience here would serve us well, as well as his overall credentials.”

Councilman Owen Rowe said: “The addition of Nauschard seems like an appropriate cherry on top of this group of people that have been assembled.”

As part of the city’s code, the mayor is able to appoint someone the PDA board separate of the committee, but the appointment must then be approved by the city council, said City Manager John Mauro.

The PDA board is completely voluntary and the position are unpaid. The one-year terms expire on Oct. 24, 2022, the two-year terms expire Oct. 24, 2023 and the three-year terms expire Oct. 24, 2024.

The term lengths were decided at random, but were staggered so that the board members are appointed on a rolling basis, rather than all at once, Mauro said at the Monday meeting.

The eight people have a variety of experiences and background such as a creative director (, a marine trades project manager, a workplace strategist, a former Centrum board member and a former state parks commissioner.

“I’m pretty impressed with the wide range of talent that’s going to be apart of the PDA board,” said Pam Adams, council member.

Restructuring followed financial issues for the PDA, which were were brought to light in February 2020 before the COVID-19 shutdowns began. The state auditor’s office released a report saying that the PDA had finance-management issues to correct based on reviews in 2016 and 2017

Issues included late submissions of the annual financial reports, failure to disclose debt and that staff members tasked with preparing the financial statements lacked the technical experience needed to perform their duties.

While the PDA began to address the internal financial issues, the pandemic hit, and Fort Worden was forced to close due to the subsequent shutdown. The agency received no funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, PDA Interim Executive Director David Timmons has said previously.

The PDA lost what it computed to be millions in potential revenue.

Timmons said he is excited to start working with the new board members.

“I have all the respect in the world for the prior board and what they did,” Timmons said.

“I look forward to working with the new group to work on the next stages on bringing back the fort.”

The new board’s first meeting on Wednesday will be able to watched at https://zoom.us/j/92063563699?pwd=V29UTzQwT0FNaTVHMy9UTU84eC9LUT09 or can be called into at 1-253-215-8782 using meeting ID 920 6356 3699.

The board is still in discussions as to when it may return to in-person or hybrid in-person/online meetings.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at zjablonski@peninsuladailynews.com.

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