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Bozeman tapped to head Port of Bremerton
Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman was selected to be the Port of Bremerton’s new Chief Executive Officer, its Board of Commissioners announced Tuesday morning.
“I’m looking forward to this challenge and I accept this position with humility,” Bozeman said, addressing the commissioners. “We have done a good job of working together so far, and we have to continue to fulfill our mission of bringing new jobs, new development and new opportunities to the area.”
Bozeman said he would be submitting his letter of resignation to the city of Bremerton this week, though being mayor there had been “the best seven-and-a-half years of my life.”
Board President Cheryl Kincer said the board began looking for its new CEO soon after former CEO Ken Attebery announced he was stepping down in December.
“We received 51 applications from all over the country, including one from Pakistan and one from the United Kingdom,” she said, explaining the 11 people the board selected to interview were “all from the Puget Sound region, with half from Kitsap County.”
Commissioner Larry Stokes said deciding on a new CEO was “the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” and that as far as he was concerned, “Mr. Bozeman’s record speaks for itself.”
“(Bozeman) has a tremendous set of skills that will help us go into the future, and these skills will be well-utilized by our port,” Commissioner Bill Mahan said.
Kincer said her goal during the CEO search was to gather the “strongest, most dynamic team possible, and with (Bozeman), together with (our current staff), I believe we have done just that. I am very, very proud to present this team to our community.”
Cecil McConnell, president of the Bremerton City Council, then addressed the commissioners, describing Bozeman’s move as “your gain and our loss.”
The port commissioners then voted unanimously to approve the selection of Bozeman as the port’s new CEO.
Kincer said his salary will be $120,000 a year.
Bozeman said McConnell will serve as interim mayor until an election is held in November, and that after submitting his letter of resignation, he will be “available for employment June 8.”
"I thought this was a nice opportunity, a new challenge for me," Bozeman said. "I am looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to making this into a great organization that people understand and that benefits the community and creates jobs. I want to enlarge the airport and do some really spectacular things that impact our economic development. I can probably do more in this job for the region than I could here as mayor, quite honestly. In some ways it's a bigger job."
Bozeman said his reasons were mostly personal, but the challenge was what enticed him most.
"Being a mayor is somewhat of a thankless job," he said. "The outside stuff is nice, but what really matters is what is in your heart. As long as you know in your heart that you made life better, and you made a contribution, it is good enough. I got offered a nice opportunity to take on a new challenge. I was attracted to that. I am the type of person who likes to come in and transform things and make them better. That's what I do for a living."
Bozeman is confident the groundwork is well enough in place to allow the next mayor to continue Bremerton's growth.
As for the legacy he leaves behind in Bremerton, Bozeman said he is happy with the record.
"I don't think we have anything to be ashamed of," he said. "I think the record is pretty good and I am proud of it."
Bremerton Patriot staff writer Steven DeDual contributed to this report.