Board OKs transit agency’s new director contract

Members of the Island Transit board unanimously approved a contract today that the agency’s attorney, Matt Hendricks, negotiated with Nortier. Nortier retired in January after serving as the commanding officer of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. He has more than 20 years of experience as a Navy officer.

The transit board members unanimously chose Nortier from among three finalists following closed-door interviews last month. The board members directed Hendricks to negotiate a contract with him.

This morning, Hendricks told the board that Nortier only asked for a couple of changes from the boilerplate contract. He will get the same benefits as other employees, but asked to begin work with 40 vacation hours already accrued, plus he wants to accrue 15 vacation days a year.

Nortier will be on probation for the first six months, which Hendricks said was standard for executive contracts.

The board members agreed with Nortier’s requests and voted to allow the chairman to sign the contract. Hendricks said Nortier will still need to sign the document, but he doesn’t foresee any issues. If all goes well, Nortier will start on May 2. Interim Director Ken Graska’s contract ends April 16, so the agency will be without a director for a couple of weeks. In order to fill in the gap and help Nortier with the transition, the board hired Graska as “an administrative point of contact” from April 16 to May 15.

Graska will work as a contractor and earn $3,000 for the work.

Island County Commissioner Rick Hannold, a member of the transit board, thanked Graska for helping the agency during a difficult time. Graska was hired by a new board after serious financial problems came to light at the agency.

“I firmly believe we are a much better agency today, and it’s because of you,” Hannold said to Graska.