Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tacoma Port Board Cites Austerity in Rejection of Lobbyist Salary Increase

The governing board for the Port of Tacoma has rejected a negotiated contract with the port's state capitol lobbyist that would have included an annual raise of just over $15,000 a year.

The board praised the port's lobbyist, Lisa Thatcher, for her past work, but said that given the current economic times such a raise could not be justified.

The port recently sought bids on the lobbying contract and Thatcher, who has represented the port in Olympia since 2007, was selected as the winner. The contract, as subsequently negotiated by port officials with Thatcher, would have raised the lobbyist's monthly retainer from its current level of $4,345 to $5,600 – an additional $15,060 a year. By comparison, the monthly retainer for the Port of Seattle state capitol lobbyist is $6,500 a month.

The Tacoma port board, however, tabled the approval of the contract by a 4-1 vote.
The board noted that port CEO John Wolfe recently rejected an annual salary increase, citing the national economic situation and the fact that other port workers have seen little to no salary increases for some time.

The board asked Wolfe to renegotiate the contract with Thatcher to include a smaller increase. The current contract with Thatcher will remain in place until a new contract is renegotiated.