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Tacoma port reorganizes staff structure

Tacoma port reorganizes staff structure

Port of Tacoma officials have implemented a major reorganization of the port's senior level staff in an effort to address the port's decision-making processes.

   Port Executive Director Tim Farrell detailed the changes and the reasons behind them in a memo sent to the 200-member port staff Feb. 8.

   The changes being adopted are based in part on three surveys of what Farrell refers to as the 'corporate culture' of the port.

   The surveys were used by an internal port team to develop a report identifying policies and processes that impeded staff from reaching the port's defined goal of creating 'sound economic growth in Pierce County and Washington State.'

   Two key impediments were identified by the staff report. One was the need for greater 'role clarity' and the second was an identified need for better decision-making.

   In his memo Farrell explained that 'role clarity' means staff roles must be clearly defined and understood by all port staff, not just senior management. In addition, Farrell explained that due to the size and complexity of the 19-member senior staff, the body has become essentially an information sharing groups as opposed to a decision-making body.

   To counter this, Farrell decided to deconstruct the senior staff department structure and reform it, along with certain other members of the general staff, into seven teams. Each team will operate under a very specific mission and with very defined areas of responsibility. For example, the Commercial Team, comprising seven individuals focused on core responsibilities such as business strategy and development and customer relations, is charged with generating '15,000 additional jobs in Pierce County at wages rates 15 percent higher than the state average between 2004 and 2012.'

   Each team also has an appointed leader, who reports directly to Farrell as members of his executive team and will be charged with 'making a very small number of very important decisions.'

   Farrell added he hopes the changes, which took effect Monday, will also afford him more time to spend with port commissions, staff and the community.

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