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In its continuing effort to consolidate administrative roles, the Port of Port Townsend has named former planning director Eric Toews as the new deputy director.
Port Executive Director Jim Pivarnik obtained approval from the port commission for the move after Greg Englin, the former port director of operations, was hired last month as the executive director at the Port of Kingston.
Toews previously was acting as the planning director and in-house counsel for the port, and he had been named acting director after the departure of former executive director Sam Gibboney.
Once Pivarnik was hired as the interim executive director, the port administration began to slim its administrative staff in order to save money, eliminating both the communications position and the director of operations.
Now, Toews, Pivarnik, and Director of Finance Abigail Berg will divvy up management duties between themselves.
“When Greg left, it left a big hole here obviously, so what Eric and I have decided to do is to split up his duties,” Pivarnik said. “In the deputy director position, it is two-fold. One, he is the de-facto operations person, and when I’m gone he is basically in charge. He has signature authority and will be able to take over the port if I’m gone.”
Toews’ project list includes the runway rebuild at the Jefferson County International Airport, the Point Hudson south jetty, Boat Haven stormwater system improvements, updating environmental best management practices, and leases.
“We’ve split up responsibilities,” Pivarnik said. “I’ve given him maintenance and security. Those two departments directly report to Eric, and I took moorage and yard.”
In past years, the port has struggled financially as it has a small tax base and relies heavily on rents from leases and moorage fees to maintain facilities. Decreasing administrative positions is one way the port will reduce expenses in 2019.
But the smaller administration will feel the pressure from the enormity of upcoming capital projects slated for next year, including the runway project, improving stormwater compliance and hiring a new executive director, since Pivarnik is in an interim position. Meanwhile, the ever-present need to replace the Point Hudson jetty will need to be dealt with in the near future.
Pivarnik said Toews is up to the challenge.
“I want to give Eric more responsibility,” Pivarnik said. “He’s got the experience.”
While he was officially hired at the port in 2016, Toews has been involved in the county, city and port policies since he moved to the area in 1990. In 2010, he began contract work with the port on its first strategic plan.
In his new role, Toews hopes to continue helping the port become financially successful.
He already is working with Pivarnik to lease currently empty buildings to increase revenue.
“Being at the port is the most direct route to sustaining and building upon the vision of retaining an authentic working waterfront long into the future,” Toews said in a port news release. “I want to do all I can to achieve that working waterfront vision.”