Port Commission approves new executive director’s contract


The Port of Olympia Commissioned approved on Monday, February 26, the contract of Alex Smith, the new executive director.

Smith’s contract is for $210,000 and takes effect on March 18, Human Resources Director Ben McDonald told the commission.

McDonald added that the new director will receive a medical plan and paid time off benefits consistent with other port employees.

According to McDonald, if Smith is terminated before 12 months of employment, Smith agreed to three months of severance pay, which is lower than the original amount of six months’ pay. For every two years of employment, Smith will earn an additional month of severance pay but only up to a maximum of five months. The terms are different should Smith be terminated for a cause.

Before the contract was authorized, Joe Downing, a former port commissioner, spoke during the public comment section of the committee to request the commission to consider bringing Smith’s contract amount down to between $180,000 and $200,000.

Comparing Smith’s contract with similar manager-level positions in the county, Downing said that the new county manager earns $220,000 while the city managers of Olympia and Lacey earn $175,000 and $225,000, respectively.

Downing argued that the port is “nowhere near as complex” as the county or the cities, as the port only has around 50 employees.

Port Commissioner Jasmine Vasavada also asked McDonald whether the port could organize a forum so the public could ask more questions to Smith, which McDonald said he would bring up with Smith when she gets on board.

Vasavada explained that when the port held a public reception on February 5, there were expectations that the public could ask questions to Smith and the other final candidates instead of the event being just an informal reception.

The commission selected Smith as the new executive director on February 13 after conducting a nationwide search that attracted 34 applicants and was facilitated by Prothman Consulting.


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  • Boatyarddog

    Good Comments by Commish Vasavada,

    The Public Should have A Question/Answer session Post Employment.

    In The Spirit of Transparency.

    Wednesday, February 28 Report this

  • FordPrefect

    In the spirit of trying to understand your point; what questions do you believe should answered by the previous executive director? Or was it Ms. Smith to whom you were referring?




    Also, for everyone’s sake, it’s never too late to learn important skills.


    Thursday, February 29 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    The Past ED was a Wreck.

    The Questions would be for Smith.

    Since she was a Past ED.

    Thursday, February 29 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    Snith was a Past Enviromental director


    Friday, March 1 Report this