27 Jul Commission Meeting Minutes 6-29-20
PORT COMMISSION OF THE PORT OF EDMONDS MINUTES OF SPECIAL MEETING
(Via Zoom) June 29, 2020
Jim Orvis, President
Angela Harris, Vice President
David Preston, Secretary
Bob McChesney, Executive Director
Marla Kempf, Deputy Director
Tina Drennan, Finance Manager
Karin Michaud, Office Manager
Brittany Williams, Manager of Properties and Marketing
Brandon Baker, Marina Manager
Renae Ebel, Administrative Assistant
Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney
Karin Noyes, Recorder
CALL TO ORDER
President Orvis called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
COMMISSIONER FAIRES MOVED THAT THE CONSENT AGENDA BE APPROVED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
A. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
B. APPROVAL OF JUNE 8, 2020 MEETING MINUTES
C. APPROVAL OF PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $510,164.57
D. DRY STANDPIPE REPAIR G & H DOCKS
E. RESOLUTION 20-04, REPLACING PREVIOUS BANK SIGNATORY AUTHORIZATION WITH NEW BANK SIGNATORY AUTHORIZATION
COMMISSIONER PRESTON SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Denise Miller, Edmonds, said she has enjoyed all that Ms. Kempf has taught her about running a port, particularly a dry storage facility. She thanked her for her service and wished her well in her retirement.
PROCLAMATION HONORING THE SERVICE OF MARLA KEMPF
Commissioner Orvis read the following proclamation honoring the service of Marla Kempf into the record:
We, the Commission of the Port of Edmonds take pride and pleasure in honoring the service rendered to the tenants, residents, and staff of the Port of Edmonds by
Whereas, Marla has served as Deputy Director and Marina Manager of the Port of Edmonds for 16 years and, during that time, worked diligently to serve the interests of the tenants, residents, and staff of the Port of Edmonds; and
Whereas, Marla has worked continually to make the Port of Edmonds one of the finest marinas in the Puget Sound region, promoting Quality, Service, Value and Convenience, and;
Whereas, Marla has exhibited strong and effective leadership in marina operations, marina marketing programs, and environmental issues at the Port of Edmonds and in the marina industry throughout her career;
Now Therefore, we, the Commissioners of the Port of Edmonds, do hereby express our gratitude to Marla Kempf and, on behalf of the tenants, residents, and staff of the Port of Edmonds, sincerely thank her for her dedicated service.
Commissioner Orvis observed that there have been a lot of unexpected events during Ms. Kempf’s 16 years at the Port, including Harbor Square, breakwater development and stormwater/boatyard permits. She has shown tremendous leadership and dedication in putting together and training a quality staff consistent with the values the Port District residents and tenants want to see.
Commissioner Faires thanked Ms. Kempf for her 16 years of competent service to the Port. He values what she brought to the Port, and the Port will miss her.
Ms. Kempf advised that June 30th is her last day. She introduced Brandon Baker, the new Marina Manager. She thanked the Commissioners for their kind comments and said the past 16 years have been a lot of fun for her. She thanked them for the opportunity to take her ideas and put them into action and to work with a great team. Her team of staff members deserve a lot of credit for the delivery of the Port’s brand of quality, service, value and convenience. She looks forward to the next chapter of her life and is confident that Mr. Baker will do a great job for the Port.
Commissioner Harris commented that Ms. Kempf has been fantastic to work with. She gladly answered all of her questions as a new Commissioner. She is sorry to see her go, but happy for her.
COMMISSIONER PRESTON MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION APPROVE THE PROCLAMATION HONORING THE SERVICE OF MARLA KEMPF AS PRESENTED BY STAFF. COMMISSIONER HARRIS SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
HARBOR SQUARE BUILDING 3 CHANGE ORDERS 10 AND 11
Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Commission has been briefed on the progress of the Harbor Square Building 3 structural project on a number of occasions since it began in January. Most recently, the contractor, AM Exteriors, has issued Change Orders 10 and 11 to address issues discovered during the beam replacement process and correct the interior finish work after the second-flor buildout was completed. The engineers, CG Engineering and BEE Consulting have reviewed the changed conditions and approved the values as appropriate. The two change orders include the following scope, timeline and budget adjustments.
• The total cost of Change Order 10 is $79,832.26, including tax. Buildout on the second floor requires significant finish work around the newly installed windows. A gap had been created when bringing the windows flush with the interior walls, and drywall finishing and wood trim around the windows is now required. Protection of the tenant suites will also be required while mudding, sanding, trim installation and painting occurs after hours with plastic barriers constructed and then removed. The work schedule has been amended, with additional crews coming at night to stay on schedule.
• The total cost of Change Order 11 is $15,239.34 including tax. A 22-foot ledger beam that was tucked behind another beam that was being replaced was discovered with extensive rot and had to be replaced. Additional shoring inside the wall and on the second floor had to be put in place to accommodate the repair. However, the project continues to be on schedule.
Mr. McChesney reported that there were no changes orders in the project meeting held earlier in the day, and the contractor has not requested that the contract time be increased beyond the previously request. The substantial completion date is still expected to be August 1st. He recommended the Commission authorize him to accept Change Orders 10 and 11, submitted by AM Exteriors, LLC, in the amount of $94,071.60 including tax for the Harbor Square Building 3 Structural and Exterior Improvements Contract 2019-328.
Mr. McChesney summarized that, refurbishing a building with tenants inside is a daunting challenge, and the costs are significant. However, the end result will be a nearly new building that will last for a long time.
When the project has been completed, Commissioner Faires said he would like staff to provide the public an accounting of Harbor Square with regard to the initial investment, return on investment, pay off of the debt, and assumptions for the future of the property. Mr. McChesney agreed that staff could prepare the report. However, he cautioned that Building 3 will present an ugly picture but a good story. The repairs will last a long time and the building will be a revenue-generating asset into the future. If the 5-year payback is folded into the total Harbor Square investment, you will find a pretty good story. Commissioner Faires agreed that would be the case, but he felt it would be appropriate to demonstrate to the owners that the Port has made a good investment with their money.
COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION AUTHORIZE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO ACCEPT CHANGE ORDERS 10 AND 11 SUBMITTED BY AM EXTERIOR, LLC. IN THE AMOUNT OF $94,071.60 INCLUDING TAX FOR THE HARBOR SQUARE BUILDING 3 STRUCTURAL AND EXTERIOR IMPROVEMENTS 2019-328 CONTRACT. COMMISSIONER FAIRES SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Commissioner Orvis pointed out that the total cost of the Building 3 Project will be about $1.2 million, and the end result will be a nearly new building. When comparing this cost to the cost of the Community Center Project that is being built from scratch, he is impressed with how much value the Port got for the cost. Commissioner Preston and Johnston agreed that the Port got a lot of value for their money, and the building will be a significant asset for the Port.
CONTINUATION OF RESOLUTION NO. 20-03 DECLARING LOCAL EMERGENCY AND DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY
Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Commission previously asked that Resolution No. 20-03 be brought up at each and every Commission meeting for review. He reminded them that the resolution will continue in full force and effect until termination by law or by further resolution and shall be reviewed as a regular agenda item on the Commission’s agenda until such time as the resolution is terminated. He reported that there has been no action taken by the Executive Director under the special emergency authority to date.
STATE AUDIT REPORTS FOR 2018 AND 2019
Ms. Drennan reported that the Washington State Auditor’s Office completed the audit of the Port’s 2018 and 2019 financial statements and issued an Accountability Audit Report on June 25th. She, Commissioner Orvis, Commissioner Faires and Mr. McChesney attended the Exit Conference on June 26th, and the draft report from the auditor was attached to the Staff Report.
Ms. Drennan explained that there are three levels of audit recommendations: Findings, Management Letters and Exit Items. Findings are the most serious, followed by Management Letters, and the Port didn’t receive either. However, they did receive the following recommendations:
• The Port should assign two individuals to assist with opening mailed payments to ensure receipts are adequately safeguarded and deposited intact.
• The Port should ensure a secondary review is performed of all journal entries using supporting documents.
• The Port should work with the software vendor to eliminate administrator ability to view user passwords.
Ms. Drennan announced that the Auditor’s report would be posted on the Washington State Auditor’s website in a few weeks.
Commissioner Faires asked if staff plans to implement any of the recommendations. Ms. Drennan answered no. She explained that she can’t see having two people open the mail and no one has the experience to review her journal entries for substance. There is nothing the Port can do about the IT recommendation.
Commissioner Orvis said his impression from the Exit Conference was that the Auditor had to issue at least some recommendations, but they understood why the Port did not and could not make the changes. There was no pressure from the auditor. In fact, the recommendations were not even discussed in the Exit Conference. Their opinion was that the Port had things under control and enough checks and procedures were already in place to reduce the danger of loss.
Commissioner Faires agreed that the Port currently has a stable and experienced team. This audit is one of many that found the Port was doing a good job.
Commissioner Orvis pointed out that the Port’s budget is reaching the level of requiring an annual audit rather than a semi-annual audit. He suggested to the auditor that perhaps the threshold should be raised based on inflation. He commented that the Port has an experienced team and clean records, and recommended some latitude with regard to requiring annual as opposed to semi-annual audits. As long as they continue to have experience and expertise, he doesn’t see how anyone would be made better off by auditing annually. He commended staff for another clean audit.
HARBOR SQUARE BUILDING 3 PROGRESS UPDATE
Mr. McChesney provided a brief update on the progress of the Harbor Square Building 3 Project, specifically noting the following:
• All structural repairs have been made, and the building has been properly waterproofed. The new siding is currently being installed.
• Inspections by CG Engineering, BEE Consulting and the City of Edmonds have taken place throughout the project.
• Painting started on June 25th and will continue until approximately July 17th.
• The project is still on target to be completed by August 1st.
• Tenants have been provided information throughout the process and have been offered the chance to meet with Port staff and the contractor to address any questions or concerns at any time during the duration of the project.
• Parking has not been an issue for tenants due to the Harbor Square Athletic Club’s temporary closure as a result of the pandemic.
• Weekly meetings between select staff and the contractor continue to take place each Monday at 9 a.m., and the next meeting is scheduled for July 6th.
Ms. Williams shared pictures to illustrate the bad condition of the building prior to work commencing. She also shared pictures of the new beams, the new windows, the new siding, and the work that is taking place inside the building. Lastly, she shared a colored rendering of what the building will look like when completed.
Commissioner Faires reported that he visited the site several times over the past few weeks and it appears that the contractor is competent and that the final product will be good.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Mr. McChesney recalled that the Commission spent a great deal of time at the last meeting discussing the Dry Storage policy changes, and a few customers offered comments about the situation. Staff agreed to review the comments and issues and come back to the Commission with a recommendation. While staff is very sensitive to the customers and appreciates their comments, they are recommending the Port move forward with the Dry Storage policy as planned and review it again at the end of the year.
Mr. Baker shared data on Dry Storage activity so far in 2020, particularly with regard to the 21-move cap. As of June 29th at 2:00 p.m., three customers have moved their boats 18 times, nine have moved between 15 and 17 times, and 30 have moved between 10 and 15 times. No one has exceeded the 21-move cap, and no one has been charged a fee for moves in June.
Mr. McChesney reiterated that it is staff’s opinion and recommendation that they stay the course for the rest of the year.
Commissioner Faires agreed they should stay the course for now. He emphasized that it is important to get the policy right, but doing so will be a function of time. He charged Mr. Baker to come back to the Commission at the end of the year with suggested changes, if any are warranted. Mr. Baker accepted the challenge and said the goal is to review the data at the end of the year. Staff will provide a recommendation on how the policy can be fined tuned at that time.
Commissioner Harris said she and Commissioner Preston met with Ms. Kempf and Mr. McChesney to discuss the policy in greater detail. After further consideration, she felt the policy was well put together, and she supports the staff’s recommendation to keep it in place. She said it is important to remind the tenants of the extra benefits the Port is offering, such an extra night on the dock. Tenants can stage their moves to reduce the number.
Commissioner Preston agreed that the Port should stay the course. The new policy will require some tenants to make changes, but they will be able to adapt.
Commissioner Johnston asked if there is a mechanism in place for providing feedback to the tenants who submitted comments and suggestions. Mr. McChesney said staff’s intent is to re-inform all of the Dry Storage tenants of the policy via email notification and the newsletter.
Mr. McChesney reminded the Commission that, in the past, the first meeting in July has been cancelled. If the Commission follows that schedule, the next meeting will be July 27th. Commissioner Orvis voiced concern about cancelling the meeting, since a special meeting would be required if something unforeseen comes up that needs the Commission’s immediate attention. He suggested it might be easier to cancel the meeting than to schedule a special meeting. Mr. Cattle explained that the Open Public Meetings Act does not require the Port to provide published notice for a special meeting, but Commissioners must receive notice 24-hours in advance of the meeting. They can provide a courtesy notice to people who have requested notice via email. Notice to radio and television stations that have written notice requests on file should be provided 24-hours in advance of the meeting. Notice of the special meeting should be posted on the door of the Commission Meeting Room, and it would also be a good idea to publish a meeting notice on the Port’s website. Commissioner Orvis summarized that, as per the Open Public Meetings Act, the Port can put together a special meeting in 24 hours. The Commissioners agreed that the first meeting in July would be cancelled.
Mr. McChesney explained that the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation on the Open Public Meetings Act ends officially on July 1st, but it is expected it will be extended because the virus has not been contained. It is likely the Port will want to continue the ability to have some Commissioners attend via Zoom meetings, but in order to do that, the Commission will need to pass a resolution to that affect. Mr. Cattle will prepare a draft resolution for the Commission’s consideration at the last meeting in July. He expressed his belief that the online meetings have worked well. Mr. Cattle recalled that the Commission broached the subject at their last meeting, and there was some general acceptance for broadening the capability of the Commissioners to access meetings remotely via Zoom. Other ports have adopted resolutions to formalize the process, and he will prepare a draft for their review at the next meeting.
Commissioner Orvis said he learned during a Washington Public Port Association (WPPA) meeting that fire districts and other districts in the central part of the state have been using teleconference meetings for years for a variety of reasons. The option is becoming more common, and will likely become standard for at least some members to join meetings remotely. However, some rules will apply, such as the person running the meeting must be present in the same space as the public but everyone else could join the meeting remotely, as long as they can be heard by the public in attendance. They will likely need rules that clarify how the public can participate in the meetings, too. He said the State Legislature is also considering options for remote meetings and sessions.
COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Commissioner Harris thanked Ms. Kempf for taking the time to educate her on the Dry Storage Facility. She reported that she participated in some of the WPPA weekly online meetings, which have been informative and helpful. The Integrated Pest Management Plan is still on her to-do list, and she plans to take it on in July. She reached out to Gerry O’Keefe from the WPPA, who provided some examples. They also discussed the idea of providing templates that other ports could use. While the WPPA doesn’t have the band width to accomplish this task, he gave her some contact information for people who might be willing to work on a committee with her.
Commissioner Harris said she met with Teresa Whipple, the Editor of My Edmonds News, regarding a topic that was not Port related. Ms. Whipple reminded her of the articles the Port used to publish on a regular basis. Commissioner Harris reported that she met with Ms. Williams and was advised that, instead of doing a monthly or quarterly article, the articles are press-release driven as topics come up. She said she would follow up with Ms. Whipple to clarify the Port’s intent.
Commissioner Harris suggested the Commission form a small committee to talk about implementation of the Public Access Plan. Mr. McChesney said meeting with the Public Access Plan Committee is high on staff’s priority list, to particularly discuss how to address the north promenade, which will be a multi-year project. Commissioner Faires agreed that they need to have discussions and make decisions about the north promenade. However, he doesn’t want to lose sight of the implementation projects that were identified for 2020 and 2021. Commissioner Harris summarized that the pandemic put a pause on implementation of the plan, and the schedule may need to be revised. Mr. McChesney agreed that the pandemic threw a monkey wrench in the schedule, and staff is still trying to catch up. He agreed that the committee should meet again soon.
Commissioner Harris reported that she is looking for resources, as part of a smaller committee in the community, on training for businesses on implicit bias and other things. As she gets the resources pulled together through that venue, which includes a representative of the City’s Diversity Commission, she will provide information to staff. She would like the Port to consider doing some training, perhaps in the fall. Mr. McChesney agreed that her effort would be very timely. The Port does a variety of staff training related to work-place issues, and diversity could be folded into the discussion.
Commissioner Johnston said he has had discussions with Commissioner Orvis and Mr. McChesney about moving ahead with implementation of the Public Access Plan. He also supports Commissioner Harris’ recommendation that the Port provide diversity training to staff. He commented that most of the regular meeting attendees have been involved in the Zoom meetings the Commission has had. There appears to be awareness of the meetings, and it seems to be a good way to bring people together. He reported that he has participated in some of the weekly WPPA calls, and plans to continue. He offered Commissioner Harris his assistance with the Integrated Pest Management Plan.
Commissioner Johnston announced that Commissioner John Love from the Port of Whitman County announced his retirement. He said Commissioner Love is a long-time Commissioner and has had a significant influence in the WPPA. He was also instrumental in Whitman County’s internet communication improvements, and has contributed significantly to the health of small ports in the state. Commissioner Orvis agreed that Commissioner Love has a lifetime reputation of being a highly capable man who has contributed everywhere he has been. His leaving will be a loss not only for the Port of Whitman County, but for ports in general. He commended the Port of Whitman County for bringing broadband coverage to the rural areas in southeast Washington. Commissioner Faires said he has known Commissioner Love since he was 11, and he is a personal friend. Everything that has been said about him is true, and the port industry and the WPPA will miss him.
Commissioner Preston said he has also participated in some of the weekly WPPA meetings. At one meeting, representatives from the Department of Commerce gave updates and explained how they are tracking the recovery. He said he has missed getting together with people from the WPPA. Zoom is a bit sterile because the discussions that happen before, between and after the meetings are often the best way to share ideas.
Commissioner Preston said he and Commissioner Harris have participated in some of the Downtown Edmonds Merchant Association (DEMA) online meetings. There is a lot of frustration amongst the storefront businesses, and most have made the changes needed to open their doors to customers. They are generally supportive of the City’s decision to close the streets around Main Street to automobile traffic on the weekends. While he doesn’t support a permanent closure, doing so on a temporary basis has brought some excitement and a ray of hope to the restaurants and merchants. Some have indicated they would be open on Independence Day (July 4th).
Commissioner Preston thanked Ms. Kempf for all she has done for the Port and the community. She has been an inspiration to so many people.
Commissioner Orvis welcomed Mr. Baker to the Port and said he has big shoes to fill. He commented that Mr. Baker has a terrific reputation. The marina tenants at Elliott Bay have nothing but good things to say about him. Mr. Baker thanked Ms. Kempf for working with him as he downloaded all of her knowledge over the past few days. It has been a great learning experience, and she has graciously shared the insights she has picked up about the Port and public service throughout her career. He said he looks forward to working with the Commissioners for years to come.
Commissioner Faires asked if the new stormwater pump at the north end of the Port is functional. Mr. McChesney responded that the project is complete, but they won’t know if the pump is functional until there is a major storm event and it kicks on. He commented that the City’s Public Works Department has done an excellent job of managing the project.
Commissioner Orvis said he also participated in a few of the WPPA online meetings, and some have had over 100 participants. They use the chat mode to allow people to ask questions, and the process is quite capable of handling large crowds.
Commissioner Orvis suggested that, having learned some things from the Harbor Square Building 3 Project, the Commission needs to reconsider the limits placed on the Executive Director for making financial decisions. He reviewed that a recent change order associated with the project was beyond what the Executive Director was authorized by resolution to approve, and the decision was the difference between a work stoppage and meeting requirements. He suggested the Finance Committee review the limits and procedures and present a recommendation to the Commission for consideration. This may become particularly important as the Port moves forward with the north promenade project. Commissioner Faires suggested that the Port Attorney should also be involved in the discussion to address the legal requirements.
The Commission meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.
Port Commission Secretary