The three remaining finalists vying for the position of executive director at the Washington state Port of Bellingham have all removed their name from contention after learning Friday that port officials planned to interview more hopefuls for the job.
The three are Jeffrey Bishop, the executive director for the Port of Coos Bay; John Carter, the city of Bellingham finance director; and, Dwight Rives, the director of port construction services at the Port of Seattle.
The three were named to the five-name short-list for the $125,000- to $135,000-a-year position earlier this month after the port whittled down a pool of more than 110 applicants. The three had already participated in final round meetings and interviews with the port commissioners, port staff and members of the public.
Two additional short-listed finalists – former Yuma, Arizona city administrator Mark Watson and Washington State Department of Commerce assistant director of international trade and economic development Larry Williams – removed their names from contention shortly before the interviews and meetings.
Following the meetings with the three finalists, originally said to be one of the last steps in the selection process, port officials announced Friday that they were instructing their contracted executive search firm to go outside the finalists and revisit the pool of applicants.
"We carefully and thoughtfully considered all of the input we received during the interview process. And we greatly appreciate all the time that members of the community and stakeholder groups took to share their thoughts with us. Based upon that feedback, we believe it is necessary to expand the pool of applicants for this key leadership position," said Commission President Jim Jorgensen in a statement.
Port officials now expect to have a new round of finalists for consideration by the end of August.