Election – McAleer, DelaBarre leave McHugh in the Dust in Port of Port Angeles Contest

By Paul Gottlieb, August 6, 2013, Peninsula Daily News

Port of Port Angeles employee Colleen McAleer and event-services company owner Del DelaBarre were the winners in Tuesday’s balloting for District 1 port commissioner — with incumbent appointee Paul McHugh a distant third.

McAleer and DelaBarre now advance to the Nov. 5 general election. McHugh is out of the race.

McAleer, 46, whose whistleblower complaint factored into the June 24 resignation of port Executive Director Jeff Robb, had 3,498 votes, or 59.76 percent. DelaBarre, 75, had 1,449 votes, or 24.76 percent.

McHugh, 56, who took office in January 2012 as an appointee to fill out the term of Jim McEntire, had 906 votes, or 15.48 percent.

The next count of ballots probably will be Friday, county Auditor Patty Rosand said.

The port race, which was confined to Sequim-area District 1 — the same boundaries as the Sequim-area county commissioner position — will be decided by voters countywide in November.

There are two other port commissioners. Term of office is six years.

McHugh, a former Sequim City Council member, did not return calls from the Peninsula Daily News seeking comment Tuesday night.

“I was excited,” McAleer, the port’s director of business development, said Tuesday of the results.

Her whistleblower complaint centered on port-related lease issues.

It became a central part of an internal port report on Robb’s relationship with employees that was highly critical of his performance and led to Robb’s controversial hiring by the three port commissioners to a lesser position at the same salary.

“I suppose it shows to people that I have integrity and I stand up for what I believe is right regardless of the negative impacts I may personally have,” McAleer said.

“So people know I am very sincere about my message and what I know our community can be doing and should be doing.”

‘To make a difference’

DelaBarre, co owner of BaRay Event Services, which manages American Kennel Club events, said he emerged from being a relative unknown with no name recognition to come in second.

“We started out and wanted to make a difference,” DelaBarre said.

“We got everyone talking about the port. The community is engaged. I feel like that’s a win all by itself.”

The Clallam County Auditor’s Office counted 10,393 ballots Tuesday night for all the county races for a voter turnout of 25.28 percent.

Auditor Patty Rosand said she couldn’t estimate how many more ballots were outstanding. Ballots had to be postmarked by Tuesday, or placed in a dropbox by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

McAleer had reported $16,540 in campaign contributions to the state Public Disclosure Commission as of Tuesday.

DelaBarre had raised $4,524, while McHugh had no campaign contributions reported as of Tuesday.

Port of Port Angeles commissioners oversee a budget that this year includes a $6.2 million general fund and an $11 million capital improvement fund.

The port has 48 employees by head count.

Commissioners are paid $114 per diem for meeting days up to 96 per year, and $254 monthly to a cap of combined salary and per diem of $13,992 annually, have mileage reimbursed at 56.5 cents per mile and have insurance.

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