By John Gillie, August 14, 2014, The News Tribune
Tacoma port commissioners, lauding his efforts to keep the port’s financial performance on track, have awarded the port’s chief executive a nearly $10,000 annual raise.
That raise, retroactive to June 1, raised Chief Executive Officer John Wolfe’s annual salary to $257,088. That amount is a 4 percent increase over Wolfe’s previous salary of $247,200.
Commission President Clare Petrich, in a letter to Wolfe, congratulated him on his and his staff’s performance over the past 12 months.
“Most significantly, the port has worked to meet the goals of the strategic plan adopted two years ago. That has served us well,” Petrich wrote. “Your leadership in its implementation reflects well on the performance of your management team and the entire staff of the port.”
Since his elevation to the port’s top job in 2010, Wolfe has led the port in restoring the business volumes lost during the recession. In addition to attracting a major shipping consortium from Seattle, Wolfe more recently has guided a port team that landed a $1.8 billion liquified natural gas plant on a port-owned site.
In the past 12 months, Wolfe’s port team has expanded the rail network on port lands and has begun reconstruction of two piers to better accommodate super-sized containerships entering trans-Pacific service.
Petrich noted that not all of the port’s plans came to fruition as the commission had hoped. The commission president said those projects such as the reconstruction of busy Port of Tacoma Road or the extension of state Route 167 from Puyallup to the port were delayed not because of any issue with Wolfe or his staff, but because of the lack of state funding for those projects.
The chief executive’s efforts to help the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Seattle develop new strategies to attract more market share to the Pacific Northwest also won commission lauds.
Wolfe’s salary has risen to the present level from the $220,000 he was given when he assumed the job four years ago. Wolfe declined the offer of a raise in his first year in his position because the port was still struggling to shake off the effects of the recession.
Though the Port of Tacoma now handles more containerized cargo than its rival, the Port of Seattle, Wolfe’s salary is some $110,000 less than that of Tay Yoshitani, the Port of Seattle’s chief executive.
Yoshitani’s responsibility, however, is far broader than Wolfe’s. In addition to operating a cargo port, the Port of Seattle operates Sea-Tac Airport, two cruise ship terminals, a fishing fleet marina and a large recreational boat haven.