Thursday, October 22, 2009

Farrell Out as Top Tacoma Port Exec

In what is being labeled by the Port of Tacoma governing board as a "transition" of power, port Executive Director Tim Farrell will step down at the end of the year. The decision brings to a close weeks of speculation about Farrell's future at the port, a future brought into question by the recent cancellation of a major container terminal development project at the port.

Farrell called for a closed door meeting two weeks ago to discuss "a transition in power," shortly after Farrell's announcement that a 168-acre container terminal project at Tacoma under development for ocean carrier NYK Line was being cancelled. The reasons for the cancellation of the project– under development for several years and scheduled for completion in 2012– were cited as unforeseen increases in projected costs and a drop in port revenue. Updated estimates of the project predicted a total bill $400 million higher than the $800 million original estimate for the terminal.

NYK and the port subsequently signed a deal that will bring the ocean carrier to an existing terminal at Tacoma by 2012.

A nearly 10-year veteran of the port, Farrell stepped into the top executive slot in 2004. He will leave the port with a nearly $250,000 wage, benefit, and compensation package. The 43-year-old Farrell will also be eligible for a pension from the port when he turns 65.

The commission hopes to have a replacement executive director in place by early next year following a national search.

The port's current Deputy Executive Director John Wolfe will serve as interim executive director during the search period.