Port of Benton delays decision on executive director

The Port of Benton Commission interviewed four finalists for the port’s top staff job Tuesday but made no decision about the next executive director.

It will make a decision no later than its Nov. 13 meeting, according to David Billetdeaux, the port’s attorney. Prothman Services, its consultant, has been asked to gather more background information about the four finalists.

The port is moving to appoint a successor to long-time director Scott Keller, who retired abruptly in June.

The four finalists are interim executive director Diahann Howard, Stuart Dezember, a 15-year port executive, Wade Farris, a recent city administrator in Gig Harbor and Othello, and Brian Dansel, Northwest Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The executive director leads a staff of about 22 and manages about $90 million in port assets, including the municipal airports in Richland and Othello, on an annual budget of $12 million to $15 million.

The port director post has an advertised salary range of $140,000 to $170,000.

Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.