The Walla Walla Port commissioners acted wisely to eliminate Executive Director Jim Kuntz's $25,000 deferred compensation package. In my opinion, the additional compensation beyond his base salary was deceptive and excessive.
Clearly, the total compensation of $159,726 he received last year was inappropriate and unjustifiable in light of allegations of his unprofessional behavior in the workplace and his inability for years to bring jobs to the Valley. The fact that Mr. Kuntz is still employed at the Port in any capacity is the bigger issue that should be addressed immediately.
Until the commissioners make the decision to relieve Mr. Kuntz of his employment, his current $150,000 salary is unjustified by his level of responsibility and his lack of accomplishments over the last six years. There is no justification for Mr. Kuntz's salary to be the fourth highest among all 75 ports in Washington given his poor performance.
The action taken by the Port commissioners to reduce Mr. Kuntz's total compensation by nearly $10,000 is a good start. The next management decision should be to start the process of finding a new director the entire community can be proud of, who can do the job with a fresh perspective, insight and talent.