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Port Operations Manager Position

At the Port Commission meeting this week (January 21, 2019), the Port Operations Manager gave a presentation on her proposed FY2020 Budget.

budget 2019

Included in the presentation was a notation that FY2020 proposed wages have not been calculated but “add an estimate of 120K.”

budget 2019 wages

Let’s analyze this – 120K per year seems to be a substantial increase from FY2019 which had total wages budgeted at 100K. (I am assuming that the benefits amounts are separate. Also note – the actual amounts to date for FY2019 are just for half of year so far. The budget year ends June 30th 2019.)

If this is a salary increase for the Port Operations Manager, why is this?


This is something I posted on the Facebook Group “Borough Budget Watch” on October 15, 2018:

I attended the Port Commission meeting today down at Port MacKenzie. Here are my thoughts: I am generally against a gov’t trying to do economic development. And I think the Rail Spur was and continues to be a colossal waste of money. (Years of litigation; so expensive and it is still nowhere near completion. Plus there is no good plan about what entities will actually use the Rail Spur.) I have mixed feelings about the Port itself. However, if the MSB and the citizens are determined to try to make the Port profitable, we need to have a real Port Director again. We need an expert in Ports and Shipping and International Markets etc. Our manager, John Moosey, our “Internal Auditor” James Wilson, our Attorney and our Port Manager/former Port Admin Assistant Therese Dolan are all spending a great deal of their time (which costs us all $ as they all make good salaries) on all things PORT. Plus, and I am sorry to be so blunt, but they do not have the expertise. They just don’t – as has become plainly clear over the last few years (the ferry fiasco, the FERC fiasco, the now endless & extremely expensive dock repairs with little to no insurance reimbursement, all of our tenants have left the Port, the new timber just deal fell apart, NPI (which is an absent tenant) hasn’t paid the MSB in a few years (do they owe us $1.5 million??) and yet Jim Wilson keeps travelling to Oklahoma to meet with NPI owner Dale Rich to discuss stuff – which makes no sense to me at all. Also, I don’t think we should waste any funds paying for our Manager or Mayor or Assembly people to travel all over the world (China in May; plus there was trip to Japan in 2015 by Arvin and Colligan) to try to drum up biz for this port. Let a Port Director do this instead. If we are going to get real about the port, we need a real Port Director again – not a “Port manager/Admin Assistant” with help from an “Internal Auditor” whose expertise was in Agriculture and Emergency Response efforts before he joined the MSB. We need to get smart about this. How to pay for a Port Director? I would eliminate the “Internal Auditor” and the “Port Manager” jobs. Use those salaries to pay for one world-class Port Director. Further note: we don’t need an Internal Auditor AND a Deputy Manager of the MSB. If the MSB wants someone who is a CPA to keep tabs on finances (but someone separate from the finance director), then hire a Deputy MSB manager who is a CPA. That would be a more efficient use of that position in my opinion.

This was originally posted on the Facebook Group – “Borough Budget Watch” on September 29, 2017 – but posting here for posterity:


The new MSB “Port Operations Manager” is Therese Dolan. Previously, she was the Port Commission Secretary and the Administrative Assistant to the (recently retired) Port Director Marc Van Dongen.

A source tells me that her new job came with a substantial increase in pay.

Mrs. Dolan is married to Terrance J. Dolan, the MSB Director of Public Works.  The same source tells me that Mr. Terry Dolan used to work for Assistant MSB Manager George W. Hays when they were both in the military.

Questions: Was this newly created position of “Port Operations Manager” posted?

Did the MSB Assembly approve the hiring of Ms. Dolan for this position or was it approved only by Manager John Moosey?

PUBLIC COMMENTS (from the original FB post):

T.S.: Just as a point of reference Ms Dolan has worked at the port assisting the director for quite awhile. Not looking to start a ugly conversation about the merits of the port.

NDS: What is her operational experience operating a deep water Port? How many candidates applied? Why didn’t the MSB issue a press release introducing the new Port Manager and her professional background…….

NDS: Where was the transparency??? If this was a closed door promotion and newly created job, it was not posted internally or publicly. The MSB owes tax payers answers. Who made the decision to create a new job title and hire the Admin Assistant to fill the position? What is the salary? Why did this happen without public comment or notice? The Port is our biggest Capital project.

TS: Are you sure it wasn’t advertised? There has been a director and an assistant for as long as I remember. Her salary will be in the budget. I’m sure if you wanted to know you could ask. I never have known personnel issues getting public comment.

MG: Just a short note to put in this conversation. Usually, jobs are advertised in house before they go public. If there are qualified people available, it doesn’t go out of house. It could be that they deemed they had the qualified people, therefore it stayed in house.

NDS: My source says this job was not posted at all – not internally or otherwise. It was a done deal.  Why hasn’t Moosey made any public announcements about this?

BK: MSB staffing still is often based on connections and favoritism. MSB HR should be an independent process. It’s under the direction of management currently. That way you don’t get 5 family members working for the Borough at one time. The legitimacy of the hiring (and forced resignation) process at the Borough needs a thorough vetting.

J.C.: Oh come on Bill, you worked for the Borough

B.K.: Exactly. That’s how I know

NDS: (I wrote this comment after conferring with my source again) The new “Port Operations Manager” position was not posted internally or externally. Ms. Dolan‘s position was reclassified from an Admin Assist position to the newly created “exempt” (i.e. non union, management, highly compensated) Port Operations Manager position. The only notice about this was in an MSB email re: personnel changes which is sent out each month to employees.

port dolan 2

The last public mention of this issue (the dilemma of whether or not to hire a new Port Director or do something else to save money since the Port is not very active) that I was  able to find on the MSB website was the March 2017 Port Commission Meeting (where Therese Dolan was listed as the Administrative Assistant by the way.)

And then – boom – by late June, 2017, Mrs. Dolan is the new Port Operations Manager – with no public announcement. I found this out because a source sent me a note.

Apparently, the MSB Employees Association (the Union for non management MSB staffers) complained about the way this matter was handled.

Here is the press release from when the MSB hired Mr. Dolan. (There was no press release when Mrs. Dolan was promoted to her key position.)

(Was Mrs. Dolan hired to be the Admin Assistant to the Port Director at the same time her husband was hired by the MSB back in 2013? Was this a two-fer? And what exactly is their connection to MSB Asst Manager George Hays?)

port dolan 1

I couldn’t find much about Mrs. Dolan’s work background but I did find this:

port dolan 5

UPDATE: When I shared this blog post on the Borough Budget Watch FB group, Mrs. Dolan’s husband, Terrance Dolan, came to her defense and explained her qualifications.  However, he failed to respond to my additional questions. (And note: this post was before I found out that Sean Parnell was being paid 100K to promote the PORT…so in addition to Mrs. Dolan, the economic development of the Port was being done by: the Manager, the Atty, the Internal Auditor, and Sean Parnell…so a lot of paid folks working on developing the Port.)

Terry Dolan response 1Terry Dolan Response 2