Longtime Port of Olympia executive director Ed Galligan was put on paid administrative leave Monday night.
The Port Commission also appointed Rudy Rudolph, who is the Port's airport director, to serve as acting executive director.
Port Commissioner Joe Downing rose early Tuesday morning to send an email to his constituents, explaining the commission's decision. He told The Olympian the decision to put Galligan on leave was not because of some error or mistake. Instead, it was about change.
"It is with heavy heart, but strong resolve, that we, the port commission, placed Ed Galligan on administrative leave last night," he said in his email.
He added: "We thank him for his leadership over these years. But, time for a change. There are new challenges and that requires new leadership. The three commissioners are on the same page."
The Olympian was unable to reach Galligan on Tuesday. Commissioners McGregor and Zita also could not be reached.
The commission -- Downing, Bill McGregor and E.J. Zita -- discussed Galligan during an executive session before the end of Monday's commission meeting. Although commission meetings are open to the public, executive sessions are not because they typically are used to discuss personnel matters in private.
Following the executive session, the commission emerged, resumed its public meeting at 7:11 p.m. and quickly dispensed with the business of putting Galligan on leave.
Commission President Zita called for the motion to put Galligan on leave, and made a motion to appoint Rudolph to acting executive director, and the meeting was adjourned with no other discussion.
"Our airport and real estate interim director, Rudy Rudolph, has agreed to be a very short-term interim director," Downing said in his email. "I suspect we will be looking for a longer (term) interim director."
Galligan was placed on leave, not fired, so a decision to either keep or terminate his employment at the port will have to come before the commission again, Downing said.
Another executive session is set for 3 p.m. Wednesday at the commission meeting room, 606 Columbia St. NW. The executive session is expected to take an hour.
Despite the announcement about Galligan, port spokeswoman Jennie Foglia-Jones said it was business as usual Tuesday for port staff.
Galligan has been executive director at the port since November 2005. His current salary is $151,132.