Gunn pitches proposed changes to port executive director evaluation process

Port of Olympia Commissioner Sue Gunn wants to change the way port executive director Ed Galligan is evaluated, and she pitched those proposed changes to the commission at its Thursday study session.

“The current (evaluation form) insufficiently describes the position and the tasks for this position,” she told the commission. “The version I’m proposing has more description about the specifics of the job and a better way to track that.”

The current form, according to a handout at the meeting, uses two rating categories that are applied to six criteria. The rating categories are “reasonable progress has been made” or “reasonable progress has not been made.” They are then applied to the following criteria: leadership, judgment, administration/management, credibility, performance, people and mentoring.

Gunn proposes expanding the rating categories and rating them 1 to 5, beginning with superior performance, followed by above average performance, satisfactory performance, needs improving and inadequate. And then applying them to the following proposed criteria: staff leadership, commission support, port management, strategic planning, public engagement, community leadership.

Each criteria also comes with several bullet points to be addressed.

For example, under public engagement:

-Encourages public engagement in port planning and program implementation.

-Responds effectively to public comment.

-Establishes systems for assuring public engagement.

-Proposes citizens who reflect a variety of perspectives and represent community as a whole for the (port) citizens advisory committee.

-Assures that the port citizens advisory committee is staffed well and is provided with timely and thorough information (to make) recommendations (to the commission).

“It is a formidable position,” she said about the executive director, “and therefore I think a formidable evaluation and criteria is needed.”

Commissioner George Barner said he planned to look over her proposals at home, while Commissioner Bill McGregor, in fairness to Galligan, suggested that they stick with the current process for now because they’ve already set goals for Galligan that were established in December. The new process could be applied in January for next year, he said.

Gunn agreed, saying it was not her intention to see the proposed changes implemented immediately.

Galligan faces a mid-year evaluation by the commission next month. He has been executive director since late 2005, a time when few ships called on the port’s marine terminal. But since then, ship traffic has soared, with ships regularly loading and unloading cargo at the port. Port of Olympia also was the Port of the Year in 2013. At the end of 2012, Galligan received a 3 percent pay raise, boosting his salary to $141,032. It was not immediately clear if he had received a raise at the end of 2013.