Port of Bremerton CEO Tim Thomson is open to the idea of having a planning retreat with the Port of Bremerton commissioners, he said this week.
Thomson was out of town and not in attendance at the last port meeting when Commissioner Roger Zabinski asked for a retreat in order to do strategic business planning.
Zabinski said he thought it was important that the commissioners sit down when they had at least a four-hour block of time to “stratigize about increasing the occupancy at the (Bremerton) marina” and at the other port facilities including the airport and the industrial park.
“We need to capture all the ideas we have and give them to the CEO and the staff to work with,” Zabinski said. “We need to have a business plan.”
But commissioners Axel Strakeljahn said he didn’t think it was necessary.
“That’s what we have staff for,” he said. “That’s why we have a staff — to do this very kind of thing.”
Zabinski said, however, that he saw this as the responsibility of the commissioners.
“We were elected to do this very sort of thing,” he said. “We’re the ones in charge of setting the policy and the staff is there to carry it out. We need to get together and hear each other’s ideas and draft a plan and then put it in the staff’s hands to carry it out.”
Commissioner Larry Stokes didn’t weigh in on the matter, but suggested that a decision on a planning retreat wait until the CEO was back in town.
When Thomson returned he said he felt the strategic plan for the port’s properties was part of his job.
“But we will be doing something,” he said. “I want to talk with Roger and find out what he needs and then set up something where the commissioners and the staff can get together to work on business development issues. Right now we’re just trying to think it out and figure out what will work best.”
The port has come under fire lately from Bremerton mayor Patty Lent and others who aren’t happy that the Bremerton Marina is at just a 35 percent occupancy rate. Lent also said she didn’t think the marina was being very well kept up, and said the moorage slips were dirty.
Tompson said the port has some work to do to make the Bremerton Marina more competitive and get its occupancy percentages up.
“I want to have the commissioners’ input into just how we do that,” he said. “And we want to let them (commissioners) know that we are doing our job.”
Thompson said the commissioners have skills that are valuable to what the staff does and he said the staff wants to “make sure they are a part of whatever we do.”
Thompson recently drafted a restructuring and downsizing plan that he presented to the commissioners last month. That plan called for the elimination of five positions and a total cost savings of $443,555.
He said this week that three maintenance positions have been eliminated and one open position, director of maintenance facilities, will not be filled. Two other positions, a maintenance manager and the director of business development, are being phased out and those positions will be eliminated within the month.
Other measures including cutbacks in maintenance costs and a restructuring in the finance department are expected to help the port see the $443,555 annual savings.
“These things are all in process,” he said. “The initiatives are aimed at efficiency and with that will come a cost reduction.”
Port properties include the Bremerton National Airport, the Bremerton and Port Orchard marinas, and the Port of Bremerton business and industrial park located at the airport.