Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Removed Port Angeles Board President Regains Role

By Mark Edward Nero

Jim Hallett, who was removed as president of the Port of Port Angeles Board of Commissioners last August in the wake of controversy surrounding the resignation of former port Executive Director Jeff Robb, has reassumed his previous role.

On Jan. 13, commissioner John Calhoun, who had been serving as president, joined with newly sworn in commissioner Colleen McAleer and voted to elect Hallett president of the three-person board.

Hallett had been removed as president by unanimous vote last August after a rift between board members that opened as a result of the situation surrounding Robb who, citing what he called “serious health issues,” resigned as executive director of the Port of Port Angeles last June.

Robb was immediately hired by the port commission at the same salary to fill a newly created job – environmental affairs director – but the vote was 2-1, with Hallett against. Hallett later said he was unhappy with the way the situation was handled and that other candidates should have been interviewed for the previously unannounced position.

At the Aug. 26 meeting, Hallett’s board colleagues said his stance on the controversy had compromised his effectiveness. Ultimately, both Hallett and commissioner Paul McHugh agreed with the assessment and Hallett yielded his seat as president to Calhoun.

McHugh, who was up for re-election, did not pass the primary stage and his seat was eventually won in November by McAleer, the first female board member in the port’s 90-year history.

McAleer, who won with better than 64 percent of the more than 13,300 votes cast, already worked for the Port of Port Angeles as its director of business development, a position she resigned when taking her seat on the board.

In July, she identified herself as the whistleblower who filed the complaint that launched an investigation into Robb’s resignation and immediate rehiring. Robb now says he intends to retire in July.