The Port of Grays Harbor commissioners on Tuesday approved an 8.26 percent raise for Executive Director Gary Nelson, citing exemplary work over the past year that contributed to a big increase in Port activity.
Nelson’s salary was increased to $181,704 from $166,701, a $15,003 annual raise.
“I think one of the things I’ve learned over the years is how difficult it is to do what we’ve done without having the right people in place,” Commissioner Chuck Caldwell said. “Gary, I think what you’ve done is have those people in the right place, and it means a lot to the people of Grays Harbor and it means a lot to me.”
Last year proved to be a busy one for the Port, with hours for longshore workers at a 30-year high of 176,000. Exports of wood products, grains, liquid bulk cargo and automobiles all seeing a significant bump in 2013.
Three proposals to store and ship crude oil through the Port also began working their way through the planning and permitting processes last year.
Nelson took over as executive director in 2000.
“Being able to be here during this time has been awful rewarding,” Nelson said.
“It’s been a team effort, from the front desk to all the way out in the yard.”
Other administrative staff members received raises, negotiated individually with Nelson. Deputy Executive Director Leonard Barnes received an 8.26 percent raise. His 2014 salary is $138,750, up from $127,293, an $11,457 increase.
Finance Director Mary Nelson received a 6.54 percent increase, raising her salary from $115,414 to $123,493. It adds $8,079 in 2014.
The rest of the Port staff has not yet negotiated its 2014 compensation.
Commissioner Jack Thompson praised the work of Nelson and all the Port staff.
“We’re very, very proud to be part of this organization, and very proud of the accomplishments that you folks have done,” he said.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Stan Pinnick was installed as the new commission president, Thompson was selected as vice-president and Caldwell was selected as secretary. Caldwell was sworn in to his third term after winning re-election in November.