Bozeman a qualified but curious choice as port CEO

On paper, there’s no reason to think Cary Bozeman isn’t qualified to be the chief executive officer of the Port of Bremerton.

After all, he’s familiar with the agency, and if you can run a city, it isn’t a stretch to think you can run a port.

Helpfully, unlike his previous position as mayor of Bremerton, where Bozeman was that city’s point man on most issues, the port administrator’s job is mainly reporting to and carrying out the wishes of the district commissioners.

In that respect, Bozeman is probably up to the job and it isn’t his credentials that are troubling. But there are other reasons to be a little uneasy about the choice.

For one thing, it always seems peculiar when someone claims they’re launching a worldwide search for the perfect candidate and winds up hiring a candidate from their own backyard.

More to the point, in his capacity as Bremerton mayor, Bozeman was instrumental last year in negotiating the city’s annexation of the South Kitsap Industrial Area (SKIA), of which the port controls a sizeable chunk.

And now it seems he may have been simultaneously negotiating his own employment by the port. At the very least, Bozeman obviously knew the job was open and that he had an interest in changing teams while he was ostensibly working on Bremerton’s behalf.

Such an obvious conflict of interest flies in the face of the port’s oft-stated desire for “transparency” in its operations.

Lastly, from a purely parochial perspective, the port commissioners took umbrage last week when Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola asked for help funding the city’s planned downtown parking garage. Commissioner Cheryl Kincer, in particular, criticized Coppola for insinuating the port had shown Bremerton more love than it had Port Orchard.

Bringing no less than the mayor of Bremerton onto the management team isn’t likely to mollify Port Orchard in that respect.

Again, on paper Bozeman may be a good fit for the job. But it would seem he has some ground to make up in the public relations department, at least in these parts.

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