Port of Bremerton CEO Tim Thomson outlined Tuesday night a restructuring and downsizing plan he told commissioners could save the agency an estimated $443,555 a year.
It will also cost five jobs.
The cost savings, achieved through layoffs, management restructuring and the recent resignation by the director of marine facilities, is close to the roughly $365,000 the port is losing every year at the mostly empty Bremerton Marina. It also comes quickly on the heels of the rejection by commissioners of two bids to privatize the marina.
Under Thomson’s plan, the Bremerton and Port Orchard marinas would have one marina operations manager instead of two and all port maintenance would be consolidated into one department with a facilities maintenance manager overseeing operations. In addition, Thomson calls for the elimination of the director of business development.
Thomson said laid off employees would receive one week of severance pay for every year they have worked at the port.
Commission President Larry Stokes said that Thomson would have sole authority in implementing the plan and making the layoffs. The port will accept written public comment until Feb. 8 and Thomson will announce his final decision Feb. 12, potentially hiring a facilities maintenance manager the following day and sending layoff notices the day after that.
Chris Tibbs, a North Kitsap resident who made an unsuccessful bid for election to the county commission in November and was recently named chair of the Kitsap County Republican Party, spoke to the port commission as a private citizen Tuesday. He applauded port restructuring, but said it might go too far. He also singled out Thomson as part of the problem.
“I think we’re talking about administrative issues,” he said. “I think it might be better for the Port of Bremerton to consider rather than restructuring the organization, looking at new leadership in the CEO position … I think certainly under the right leadership this organization can move forward.”
After some brief applause by the audience, Stokes told the crowd, “I wanna remind everybody that I want this meeting to stay positive. I do not want any criticism. If you wanna criticize be kind enough to put it into writing. I just don’t want tonight, I think tonight it’s really important to keep everything on the positive.”