Port of Olympia and its executive director agree to part ways, commission announces

The tenure of embattled Port of Olympia Executive Director Sam Gibboney came to an end Tuesday. The Port Commission announced in a special meeting that it has accepted her “separation of service” from the port.

The commission met in executive session Tuesday afternoon, which was followed by the special meeting. Commissioners Amy Evans Harding and Bob Iyall attended the meeting in person, while Commissioner Joe Downing participated remotely.

After checking whether there was any public comment at the top of the meeting, Evans Harding read a statement about Gibboney, using the term “separation of service.”

“The commission thanks Ms. Gibboney for her years of service and dedication to the port, community and staff,” Evans Harding said.

The Olympian will make a public records request to determine the terms of Gibboney’s separation agreement.

Evans Harding went on to say the port is committed to a seamless leadership transition to maintain the port’s stability, and that the port will embark on a search to find a new executive director over the next few months.

To that end, the port commission voted to extend a contract with Prothman, an Issaquah-based recruiting firm that the port has worked with in the past to hire, among others, the marine terminal senior manager, the airport senior manager and the finance director.

The commission vote increases the contract by $50,000 and extends it through the end of 2024. Longtime port employee Rudy Rudolph will continue to serve as interim executive director.

Gibboney’s leadership first came into question when 22 employees sent a letter to the commission, saying they had no confidence in her. Gibboney went on medical leave in June, extended that leave and then was placed on administrative leave.

Gibboney came to the port from the Port of Port Townsend where she had been executive director. She replaced former longtime Port of Olympia executive director Ed Galligan.

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