Timmons steps down from PDA

Posted 7/6/23

David Timmons is resigning as executive director of the Fort Worden Public Development Authority.

Timmons announced his resignation at last week’s meeting of the PDA board, which …

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Timmons steps down from PDA


David Timmons is resigning as executive director of the Fort Worden Public Development Authority.

Timmons announced his resignation at last week’s meeting of the PDA board, which unanimously accepted his resignation.

“I’ve been giving this a lot of thought for a number of months,” Timmons told the board. 

In a four-page notice of resignation, Timmons noted his 45 years of government service that started when he was 24 and recalled the support he received when he took over the troubled organization three years ago.

Timmons, a former Port Townsend city manager, was first hired by the PDA in March 2020 to handle the authority’s COVID emergency response efforts. He became interim director following the retirement of Dave Robison in November 2020 as the organization was in a financial meltdown, caused in large part by the diversion of capital funding to pay for day-to-day operations.

The fort was already experiencing a financial crisis when PDA officials also learned Diane M. Moody, the former chief financial officer for the Fort Worden Public Development Authority, had allegedly stolen money from the organization.

Moody was at the center of a fraud investigation conducted by the Washington State Auditor’s Office in 2021, and the investigation found Moody set up false vendor accounts and billed the PDA for $10,054 that was paid to her husband’s construction business, which was no longer in operation. 

The fraud happened in 2019, before the current PDA board of directors was seated, while Robison was the organization’s executive director.

Moody is facing a charge of first-degree theft in Jefferson County Superior Court. She entered a pleading of “not guilty” at her arraignment in October, and a status hearing on the case has been set for July 21.

During last week’s PDA board meeting, Timmons recalled his reluctance in taking a job with the PDA.

“This really wasn’t the path I wanted to take but I agreed to do it,” he told the board.

Timmons said the time was right, however, to talk about a transition.

“This is something I have to do, selfishly, for myself,” Timmons said.

“But I truly don’t want to present this in any way that I’m throwing the PDA and everyone under the bus. I am truly committed to work through a transition,” he said, noting that his employment agreement requires him to give a minimum 90-day notice.

His final day is expected to be Sept. 28.

Discussions are needed about creating a working group to start the transition, with talks to include what role Timmons would take during the transition and what he could do in the future in an advisory position.

“I think we’ve done a lot to lay the groundwork going forward,” Timmons said. “The support here has just been tremendous. The people have been tremendous to work with.

“We’ve made some significant inroads,” he said, in getting support from Washington State Parks and the Legislature.

“I think the groundwork has been laid,” Timmons told the board. “I really believe in this and I think that we’re on the right path. And I hope that we can stay that way and make this a truly healthy place.”

Board members praised Timmons for his turnaround work for the PDA, including the efforts to get the organization’s debt refinanced.

Board Chair David King said work on a transition plan has been underway for some time, and King noted that Timmons’ resignation letter did not tell the entire story of the work he had done in the community.

King recalled joining the Port Townsend City Council in 2008, and noted that Timmons was Port Townsend’s first city manager.

From curb cuts to city water, Timmons had an enormous effect on the community’s quality of life, King said. 

“Managing to sort of improve us, without changing us. I think we’re still funky,” King said. “We value funky. We managed to preserve funky.” 

“There’s still grass growing up in the cracks, but there are sidewalks everywhere and curb cuts everywhere. And we have clean water,” King said.

Rob Birman, executive director of Centrum, praised Timmons for his timely arrival during a critical time for the PDA. 

“I think it’s so easy in this day and age to be a critic. It’s easy also to forget when you stepped up,” Birman said.

“That was absolutely the worst of times. Thank you for stepping up,” Birman told Timmons.