The Port of Pasco may start as soon as next week seeking candidates to fill the seat left vacant by Ernie Boston's retirement.
Port Executive Director Jim Toomey told commissioners Thursday that they have 90 days from Boston's resignation to appoint a new commissioner before the decision falls to county commissioners.
That means a new port commissioner must be chosen by Aug. 14.
Boston, who served 17 years on the commission, resigned as of May 17 so he could focus on recovering from surgery.
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Toomey said the staff wants to move forward quickly because this summer is likely to include discussion about the Tri-Cities Airport expansion.
A design and cost estimates for the airport terminal project are expected this summer, and commissioners also may be discussing a runway extension and land purchase, Toomey said.
Candidates have to validate with the county auditor's office that they are registered voters and live within the District 2 boundaries.
Toomey said they are double-checking which boundaries will be used, since commission boundaries recently were changed because of 2010 census data.
District 2 includes Pasco west of the blue bridge and southwest Franklin County. Toomey said most of the boundary changes were in the Desert Plateau area and near the airport, where there was more population growth.
In the past, Toomey said the port has sent a list of questions approved by commissioners to all of the candidates before their public meeting interview.
The majority of that meeting will be public, including the interviews and the decision, he said. The commission could go into a closed session to talk about qualifications of specific candidates.
Port commissioners make $9,600 a year plus $104 per meeting.
Commissioners also unanimously approved honoring Boston with a resolution. The resolution will be framed and given to him.
The resolution acknowledges Boston's service to the port and its citizens.
"His constructive, independent thought and strong sense of responsibility and service to his fellow residents of Franklin County and Washington state as a whole has made for a better place to live and work," according to the resolution.