More than 35 people already have filed applications with the Port of Tacoma to fill a vacancy due to occur in May, when Commissioner John McCarthy leaves the board to become a county judge.
The successful applicant would serve out the remaining 15 months of Mr. McCarthy's term and then would have to run for re-election. Commissioner Jack Fabulich said the expanding containerport might receive from 50 to 100 applications before it begins the process of trying to select a list of semifinalists for the job.The five-member commission meets twice each month. Commissioners are paid $5,000 a year.
By law, the four commissioners must choose a replacement to fill out the remainder of Mr. McCarthy's term. But the Tacoma board urged Mr. McCarthy to set standards for the choice of his successor.
The departing commissioner said he expects next week to unveil a selection system similar to that used at the Port of Seattle following the death of Commissioner Ivar Haglund. Each of the Tacoma commissioners will be asked to select three candidates from the applicants, he said, resulting in a semifinal list of 12 or fewer candidates.
Mr. McCarthy said he favors a process in which anyone can apply, semifinalists are chosen and then in-depth interviews are conducted.
Commissioner Bob Earley said the process sounded acceptable, but said if the same method were employed at the Port of Seattle, it probably was flawed.
One Tacoma resident urged the port board to appoint a special outside panel to appoint a new commissioner. He argued that the appointed commissioner would have the advantage of being an incumbent.
But a senior longshoreman supported the process set by law, saying it would select the "best man."
"Our best woman," said Pat McCarthy, another commissioner.
Mr. Fabulich said he expects the selection of the new commissioner to be difficult, because there are likely to be more than 12 qualified candidates.