BELLINGHAM - The three finalists for the executive director job at the Port of Bellingham will meet the public at a reception scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven.
Port commissioners expect to choose one of the three as the permanent replacement for Charlie Sheldon, who departed in April 2012.
The finalists, revealed at the Tuesday, Oct. 16, port commission meeting, are:
- Les Reardanz, a former Bellingham assistant city attorney who is now chief administrative officer at the Port of Everett. Before taking the Everett job, Reardanz played a key role in negotiations between the city and the port over waterfront redevelopment and held the title of waterfront project manager. He is a captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Jonathan Daniels, executive director for the Port of Oswego, N.Y., since 2007. He also has had positions with the Eastern Maine Development Corp.; the city of Bangor; the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, La.; and the Eastport (Maine) Port Authority.
- William Panos, public works and port director for the city of West Sacramento, Calif., since 2007. He also has held positions with the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; the city of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Los Angeles Unified Schools; Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; TRW Automotive Group and the California State University Chancellor's Office.
Port Commission President Scott Walker said more than 100 people had applied for the job, which has a salary range of $130,000 to $155,000.
Port commissioners selected eight semifinalists after reviewing resumés , and commissioners interviewed those eight individually before choosing the three finalists, Walker said.
Besides the public meeting session, other community leaders and port staffers will get a chance to have private interviews with the three. Commissioners expect to make their choice later this fall.
Rob Fix, the port's chief financial officer, has been serving as interim executive director.
Sheldon's departure, just 18 months after commissioners had hired him, came after months of public criticism from Walker. Commissioner Jim Jorgensen eventually joined Walker and agreed to Sheldon's ouster after some port staffers aired their own issues with Sheldon in private conversations with Jorgensen.
But Sheldon had warm support from commercial fishermen as well as some port tenants and community activists, and discontent over his departure led to the move to expand the port commission to five members. Whatcom County voters get a chance to decide that question at the polls in November.
The date of Charlie Sheldon's departure as executive director was corrected Oct. 17.