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Port of Olympia/Gibboney- continued…

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Residents call for Port of Olympia executive director Gibboney to resign

Rolf Boone, The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.) – 1h ago (July 26th, 2022)
Jul. 26—The heat was turned up on embattled Port of Olympia Executive Director Sam Gibboney on Monday after several residents called on her to step down from her position during Monday’s commission meeting.

The residents called for her resignation in the wake of a story that appeared in The Olympian earlier this month, in which 22 port staff across the port’s major business units said they had no confidence in her ability to lead the port.

A letter and staff survey were shared with The Olympian.

“We do not believe Sam Gibboney has the capacity to provide the Port of Olympia with the quality leadership and oversight essential to the organization’s health, effectiveness, and functioning,” the letter reads. “The negative impact of the hostile and ineffective work environment we experience has worsened over the past two years.”

The letter also claims that staff has turned over at the port at the rate of more than 68 percent in the last three years.

In response to the allegations, several residents spoke during the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting.

Janet Jordan pointed out that not only have port employees suffered, but also the taxpaying public because it takes money to recruit, hire and train new people.

“This is not a cost-effective management style,” she said. “As managers of the executive director, I urge you to develop more efficient oversight skills and remedy the current situation by calling for the immediate resignation of the executive director so the port can move forward, supporting a healthy working environment for port employees and in turn a more productive port.”

Kim Murillo thanked the port employees for having the courage to come forward.

“I will always stand with American workers,” she said. “We are united and we are what makes America great and I want a healthy, strong workplace for quality employees. We are not going to get that unless there is a change in administration.”

Carla Wulfsberg also pointed out that if the situation at the port isn’t remedied, more employees could leave. She called it a grave situation.

“I ask the commission now to take immediate action to call for the resignation of Ms. Gibboney and to restore a healthy working environment for port employees,” she said.

Although several residents pointed their fingers at Gibboney, Sheldon Watson blamed the three port commissioners, saying it was their responsibility to provide oversight of the executive director.

In response to the vote of no confidence, Gibboney told The Olympian she was looking at bringing in a management consultant to help guide the port forward.

Watson scoffed at the notion of hiring a consultant to tell a $200,000 a year employee how to do their job.

Gibboney received a 3 percent raise for 2022 and now earns $191,227. This is her fourth year at the port.

“That is not a good way to spend scarce resources,” Watson said. “You find the person who can do the work. If they can’t do the work, they’re in over their head.”

Watson asked the commission to consider his statement and to take the appropriate action.

The port commission, as a result of a recent policy change, doesn’t respond to public comment, but they made an exception on Monday.

“The port commission is working hard with the executive director to understand the issues and to take corrective (action),” Commissioner Joe Downing said.

Commissioner Amy Evans Harding, who recently got married, supports a port with a healthy, strong workplace, and all three commissioners share in that commitment, she said.

“Sam has everything she needs to be successful, and I’m on the far end of setting unreasonable expectations, probably, and I think we as a commission are working to set new expectations,” Evans Harding said. “She has everything she needs to rise to the occasion and lead our team. She is part of our team and we will lead her to the best of our ability.”

Commissioner Bob Iyall said the commission is taking the employee concerns seriously.

“We are definitely taking action and working with Sam to do whatever we can to turn that corner,” he said.

(c)2022 The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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