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Port Commission

Posted on 28th September 2011 at 08:36

It was a raucous Port of Longview Commission meeting yesterday afternoon, with a large contingent of Longshore union members and supporters filling a room at the Expo Center, calling for action against EGT by the Port Commission. Local 21 President Dan Coffman says that the controversy is literally tearing the community to shreds. A number of people spoke about how they’re “appalled” by what they’re calling preferential treatment for EGT. They’re demanding that the Port unilaterally dissolve the lease agreement with EGT, claiming that the company has already been involved with several violations of that lease. The Port now has another controversy, with the sudden dismissal of Valerie Harris, the Port’s Marketing Director. Several supporters of Harris also spoke, claiming that the basis for the firing is bogus. Ostensibly, Harris was fired after concerns were raised about her claimed educational credentials. It’s noted that Harris has a BA from Almeda University, an on-line school that was also at the center of a diploma mill investigation involving Washington State Patrol Troopers. Supporters claim that Harris’ firing was engineered through an anonymous e-mail campaign conducted by her ex-husband and his new wife. When the Commissioners confirmed Harris’ dismissal, saying that Executive Director Ken O’Hollaren has the authority to hire and fire at his discretion, the crowd reacted angrily, hurling catcalls and profanities at the Commissioners. The Commissioners decided at that time that the meeting could not proceed in an orderly fashion, and voted to adjourn.