Port charts course for director search

February 1, 2006

The Hood River Port Commission made a few minor changes to the ideal candidate profile for a new executive director on Monday — and gave the nod for recruiters to begin the search.

Waldron & Company has been hired to find a replacement for Dave Harlan, who left in early December to pursue other job opportunities. John Deller, managing director of the Lake Oswego firm, had one last meeting with commissioners on Jan. 30 to firm up details for the nationwide search.

He anticipates that a list of the top 3-5 finalists will visit Hood River on April 24 and 25. Deller recommended that the port plan an open house and arrange for both the candidate and his/her spouse to tour the area and ask questions of real estate experts and school officials.

The port decided to set the salary range for the top staff job from $73,000-$95,000, dependent upon experience.

At Monday’s special meeting, Deller presented the draft position specification list he had prepared after interviewing 25 city, county and port officials, as well as several citizen activists. Deller said the discussion with select individuals revealed that, although the port district is relatively uncomplicated to run in the business sense, the political dynamics were “sophisticated.”

Therefore, he felt the chosen director needed to have strong communication skills.

“Although we seek someone who is not personally political, we do seek someone who is politically savvy and who understands and can succeed within politically charged situations. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated history of effectively operating in a politically diverse and active community.

“The right candidate will have a history of relationship building with multiple stakeholders resulting in successful outcomes in potentially polarized situations,” wrote Deller in the profile.

His description of the director’s role and responsibility included so many proactive elements that it led Commissioner Kathy Watson to quip, “You didn’t put in the part about walking on water.”

To laughter, Port President Sherry Bohn added, “Or at least be able to part it.”

In all seriousness, the port board reiterated to Deller that they wanted to bring an individual onboard who could navigate political channels to further the port’s economic development goals.

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