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Port of Kingston will float on experience

KINGSTON — The changing of leadership within the Port of Kingston has been creating some waves during the past year, but the newest management staff hopes to keep things anchored for a while.

The former staff structure of a port manager, office manager and four marina attendants changed when the port commissioners terminated the Port Manager position last July. In its place, they created a Harbor Master position and attendants Tom Berry and Ed Hall applied for the opening. Hall got the job but after he left the port in April, commissioners asked Berry if he was still interested in being a Harbor Master.

The primary function of the Harbor Master is to handle decision-making duties in the port office as well as remain involved with the hands-on work on the property.

Now, with a couple more recent changes, the new staff includes the Harbor Master, the office manager, a maintenance supervisor and three marina attendants.

Berry said he’s pleased with the new structure and his new position.

“It’s a good opportunity to start using my education,” Berry said of taking the new job after working two and a half years as a marina attendant. “It’s a nice challenge. It’s a management position where I can make things happen.”

New projects for the port this year include establishing more community activities at Mike Wallace Memorial Park and replacing the aging underground fuel tanks with above ground tanks.

Berry said he is also researching how to tighten security on the port property, by either hiring a guard, adding surveillance cameras or both. While Berry said he realizes that vandalism is inevitable at any public facility, he wants to prevent it as much as possible.

“Any problem like that is not going to be tolerable. That is something we are not going to allow,” he said, encouraging tenants and guests to report any suspicious activity to the port.

Docks will also receive some upgrades, including restructuring the guest pier to make it more user-friendly, Berry said.

His primary goal is to keep the port the way it is.

“It’s a high destination port. It’s clean, quiet,” he said. “We’re a short distance from Seattle, Edmonds. It’s very convenient that way.”

Berry isn’t the only attendant who moved from the docks to an office chair. Attendant Scott Coulter is training to be the new office manager after current manager Ellie Ulvila retires at the end of this month.

“I’ve been here six and a half years,” Coulter said. “I was just ready for a change. I wanted to use my brain a little bit more.”

While Coulter said he enjoyed working on the grounds and being around the water, Ulvila’s retirement will allow him to pursue his interest in working with numbers and the port’s financial books.

Marina attendant Ed Clark will take on the newly created position of maintenance supervisor.

“There is nobody who knows this marina better than I do,” Clark said with a chuckle. “I’ve (put) 13 years of blood and sweat into the place.”

He will remain on the grounds with three newly-hired, full-time marina attendants, Jeff Bradley, Ross Carlson and Philip Yu.

Attendants maintain the property, including the parking, bathrooms, docks, the North Beach, landscaping, plumbing, electrical and carpentry.

Having attendants with diverse backgrounds such as mechanical engineering (Yu) and landscaping (Bradley) allows the port to get its work done more efficiently, Berry said.

“It’s fortunate for us to have the people here to do the projects ourselves,” Berry explained. “It’s encouraged for them to be creative — to come to us with ideas, discuss it and do it.”

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