The meeting follows a tense past two weeks that resulted in the commissioners receiving a petition – signed by about a third of the port’s staff – declaring a “no confidence vote” in Farrell.
The petition began circulating shortly after the port notified 47 of its 256 employees that their jobs had been eliminated.
Commission President Clare Petrich said today that today’s meeting is “a review of the performance status of Tim Farrell and of the situation of the layoffs.”
Executive sessions are not open to the public and can be held to discuss only specific topics, according to the State’s open meetings law. Governing bodies are not allowed to make decisions in executive session.
Today’s meeting is between the commissioners and Farrell will not be in attendance. Under the State’s open meetings law, governing bodies can meet in executive session to discuss a charge or complaint brought against a public officer or employee.
The employee being discussed can “request that a public hearing or open meeting be held regarding the complaint or charge,” according to the State Attorney General’s web site.
Farrell said yesterday (May 28) that he was unaware of that provision in the law. He had no comment regarding the commission’s meeting. He has said that the port needs to reduce its staff to match its shrinking business. Cargo volume has dropped dramatically over the past two years.