Port of Tacoma, Farrell part ways
Embattled executive Director Tim Farrell will leave the Port of Tacoma at the end of the year by mutual agreement, ending a three-week drama about his future, hometown paper The News Tribune reported Tuesday.
Farrell approached the port commission at the beginning of the month to discuss a possible transition following news that Japanese ocean carrier NYK Line had cancelled plans to occupy a purpose-built container terminal. Farrell salvaged the situation by getting NYK to agree to a long-term deal to bring ships to an existing, underused terminal operated by APM Terminals.
Farrell, who has led the port for five years, said he wanted to spend more time with his family.
'I think it's a positive action for the port and for me,' Farrell told the paper. 'It allows us to truly carry out a smooth transition and that was my number one goal going into these discussions.'
Although the original NYK deal was derailed by the economic downturn, Farrell was criticized for unanticipated developments that saw the projected cost of the development expand by a third to $1.2 billion. The port has spent $190 million on property acquisition, engineering, environmental remediation and other pre-construction steps on the Blair Waterway site, although a large portion of the costs extended beyond the terminal footprint to allow other industrial development.
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The port commission and Farrell met four hours behind closed doors to finalize terms of his departure. It was the second meeting to discuss his status.
Farrell will leave his post Dec. 31, though remain on paid leave through the end of May, according to The News Tribune. His severance package ' counting salary, benefits and separation incentive ' totals $246,357.61. Farrell's annual salary is $220,000. Under the terms, Farrell will sign an agreement not to compete with the port within the region or specific business areas for six months. The arrangement is similar to one he eventually required for top staff when he cut 47 employees last summer.
Deputy Director John Wolfe will serve as interim port director beginning Jan. 1. ' Eric Kulisch