Seaports Magazine - Spring 2014 - (Page 10)

»FEATURE PUBLIC SECTOR AGENCIES with PRIVATE SECTOR EXPECTATIONS Recruiting and retaining high-quality employees at public ports requires addressing unique challenges. By Meredith Martino M ost project managers acknowledge the triple constraints of their work, sometimes called the Iron Triangle: quality, time and cost. If a project is of high quality and completed quickly, it's going to cost a lot. If it's completed quickly and at low cost, the quality is going to suffer. And if the project must be of high quality and low cost, it will take a long time to complete. Human resource managers face constraints of their own in finding and retaining high-quality employees while balancing the cost to the organization with the ability to retain those employees for as long as possible. And within public ports, there are often unique challenges that can impact the staff makeup of the agency. 10 AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE Public Port Challenges "We really act like a business," said Nancy Lawlor, manager of human resources at the Maryland Port Administration. "Other state agencies focus on providing services to citizens, but we generate revenue." This duality is common among public ports. Functioning as arms of municipal, regional or state governments, ports are nonetheless expected to be sources of revenue - either keeping their financial ledger in the black on their own or generating funds for their larger government bodies. This tension creates challenges in recruiting and retaining port staff at all levels. Where private companies can determine their own hiring processes within the bounds of employment law, public agencies have to be accountable to taxpayers, with a high level of transparency and often limited budgets compared to their private sector counterparts. "We are accountable to the citizens," said Lawlor. "We have to be careful in how we reward and motivate." Public ports also must deal with boards or commissions that change frequently, often the result of an election outcome - either directly or indirectly. Ken O'Hollaren, interim executive director at the Port of Port Angeles and former executive director at the Port of Longview, is familiar with the challenges of this aspect of port employment. "There is no avoiding political change. It  is part of being a public agency," O'Hollaren said. "The key role of the executive is to be a conduit between the board and the staff, to let management focus on

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Spring 2014

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Public Sector Agencies with Private Sector Expectations
Welcoming Veterans to Port Ranks
Working with Stakeholders: The Buck Stops at the CEO’s Office
Words of Wisdom from Long-Standing Port Executives
PPM® Certification Readies Executives for the Top
Facing Challenges Head On
Ports are Critical to U.S. Economy’s Health
The Changing Paradigm of Transportation Executives
Port and Maritime Environmental Compliance Planning Starts at the Top
Comprehensive Records Retention Plan a Must for Ports
Saint John Brings the Port to the Classroom
Barbados on Track for Record Cruise Growth
Santa Marta Focuses on the Environment, Community and Operational Efficiency
Northwest Ports Partner to Further Cut Diesel Emissions

Seaports Magazine - Spring 2014