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Former manager files grievance against port

POULSBO — “I’m not going to sit on my laurels,” former Port of Poulsbo manager Barbara Waltz said Thursday, two weeks after being terminated from her position via a unanimous commissioner vote.

Calling the decision “wrongful,” Waltz addressed claims leveled against her at meetings on Jan. 17 and Jan. 24 with a point-by-point grievance statement this week. The former manager noted that while she was following port procedure by responding to the commissioners’ charges, the elected trio did not follow their own policy concerning employee infractions.

On Jan. 24, Waltz opted to be terminated rather than resign her position and admit to doing “anything wrong.” She is holding fast that to that assertion and claims she was involuntarily terminated.

Citing the Port of Poulsbo bylaws, Waltz explained that action on the alleged instances of malfeasance and misappropriations should have been taken within three days of the purported infractions. Instead, the Jan. 24 termination took place months, and even years, after the reported instances.

Last Wednesday, commissioners informed the press of a “special meeting” and — following an executive session — openly discussed the matter. Despite offering information on the issue and answering questions, the port officials repeatedly said they were not allowed to comment on the manager’s termination. They referred further questions to their attorney Greg Norbut who said port policy was not to comment at all on such employee matters.

The trio also agreed to hire port bookkeeper Carol Tripp as the interim manager. At that session, claims that Waltz had disobeyed port policy on live-aboards, taken a work desk home, allowed port employees to salvage items off a derelict boat, written off moorage costs for on tenant and changed boathouse charges for another tenant were leveled. Another issue raised dealt with 1999 port records which indicated that Waltz had taken an additional 98 hours of sick leave.

“I never told Carol (Tripp) to pay me after my sick leave was used up,” Waltz stated in her grievance, noting that she was told that Tripp had brought the item to Commissioner Mike Winter’s attention and “he told her that it didn’t matter because I was salaried.”

Waltz also reported that she brought the live-aboard situation to the commissioners’ attention in December and did not “write off” any moorage as alleged on Jan. 17. She also pointed out that the work desk, she reportedly brought home, was actually being stored in the loft at the port’s shop.

“The desk was still there in December when I was in the shop,” she added.

Waltz explained that she delegated responsibility of cleaning the derelict boat to the harbormaster and maintenance crews.

“All I told them was to get rid of everything as the boat had three to four (feet) of garbage and human waste in (it),” the grievance continued. The commissioners had claimed that Waltz allowed the port employees to salvage items off the vessel, but she countered, “I did not see any boat electronics on it unless (they) were buried under the waste.”

The former manager said she was interested in regaining not only her job but restoring her damaged reputation as well.

“Due to the unsubstantiated and slanderous allegations against me, I demand a complete retraction to be released to the press as well as a public apology from the port commission,” she explained. “My heart’s been in this job from day one. The tenants know this. That’s what hurts me the most.”

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