June 10, 2010 |

Top candidate for job at harbor turns it down

The Haines Borough will re-advertise its harbormaster job after its top candidate for the job – Ed Barrett of Whittier – turned down an offer of $65,000.

Barrett was chosen over local candidates Ken Gross, Ellie Braaten and acting harbormaster Joe Parnell. Christian Racich, who most recently held the top job at the harbor, was paid $55,000.

Borough manger Mark Earnest, who formerly worked with Barrett in Whittier, explained Barrett’s decision to the assembly Tuesday: "His employer didn’t want to lose him and made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse."

Despite the setback, Earnest said he was determined to hire a harbormaster who had experience working the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on expansion projects.

"That’s one of the most important criteria," Earnest said. "It takes a dedicated effort to keep the (expansion) process moving along It takes a big effort."

The borough is currently planning expansions south and north of the existing basin.

Earnest said he would advertise the job again and review candidates in two or three weeks. There’s no need for people who previously applied to do so again, as those resumes would be advanced to the next round of candidate review, he said.

The opening marks the third time in five years the harbormaster job has changed hands. Barrett’s withdrawal follows work by the borough, which negotiated with the public employees’ union to raise the job’s pay and rewrite code to expand the harbormaster’s duties.

"It isn’t hard to fill this job. We’ve filled it a number of times. The question is why we can’t keep anybody in that position," harbor advisory committee member Jim Studley said this week.

Even at the increased pay, the job doesn’t pay enough for the commitment it requires, former harbormaster Racich said this week. "They need to change it. It’s not enough. It’s your life. It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week."