Whidbey News-Times


New director ironing out contract with Coupeville port commission

By NATHAN WHALEN Whidbey News-Times Staff reporter
November 7, 2013 · Updated 5:53 PM

McDonald / Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

With a new executive director taking the helm of the Port of Coupeville in December comes a new employee arrangement, prompting officials to find a bit more money in the budget.

Tim McDonald, the one-time Island County health director, was named executive director last month of the small port district.

Since then, he worked with port staff to prepare an employment arrangement.

The current executive director, Jim Patton, works for the port on a personal services contract. McDonald wants to work for the port as an “at-will” employee.

Patton, whose contract with the Port of Coupeville expires at the end of the year, is a candidate for an open seat on the port commission.

McDonald said he wants to be an employee because that will allow him to be covered by the port’s insurance.

“I think its important for the port and important for me to be covered by insurance,” McDonald said during the Wednesday, Oct. 30 Port of Coupeville meeting.

He also recommended that he be an at will”employee, meaning the commissioners could terminate his employment for any reason or no reason.

Also, as an at-will employee, if McDonald chooses to quit, he would offer the commissioners a 60-day notice.

McDonald proposed a 25-month contract.

Patton works on a personal services contract and earns $50 an hour up to $34,000 a year.

That arrangement resulted in Patton working hours on a pro bono basis.

“This has been a major concern of mine,” Port Commissioner Benye Weber said Wednesday. She was worried that the deductions required would reduce the availability of McDonald.

“My main concern is where the money is coming from,” Weber said.

After the meeting, Patton said there isn’t a lot of slack in the budget to find extra dollars to increase McDonald’s salary.

He, along with McDonald and the port’s accountant, will meet to negotiate compensation and any implications for the port’s budget.

McDonald is scheduled to start his duties Dec. 1. He will spend a month working alongside Patton so he can better familiarize himself with the port’s operations.


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