Fort Worden Public Development Authority’s general manager resigns, won’t be replaced
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Port Townsend Food Bank volunteers Sara Barton, left, and Richard Harmon pick up leftovers from Bon Appetit at Fort Worden State Park on Friday. The PDA will take over food service in September.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Michael Deighton, who was hired as the Fort Worden Lifelong Learning Center Public Development Authority’s general manager in January after a nationwide search, has resigned the position and will not be replaced.

Deighton went on unpaid leave on July 1 and submitted his resignation on Aug. 8 according to Dave Robison, executive director of the public development authority.

“Michael put in a lot of work on the transition to the PDA from State Parks, but he found that this really wasn’t the place for him and that he needed to move on,” Robison said.

The public development authority is eliminating the position.

“We’re taking this as an opportunity to reorganize and not focus on the general manager position,” Robison said.

Jamie Hayashi has been named interim operations manager and will “run interference between the desk, hospitality and food services.”

Deighton, who has been living in Port Townsend, said Thursday that he had left the job for personal reasons.

He said he had “several things in the fire” but declined to elaborate.

Deighton was drawing an $85,000-per-year salary with another potential $20,000 in incentives and bonuses.

Before joining the public development authority, Deighton had worked in a variety of locations, but for the past few years, had headquartered his operations in Alpharetta, Ga., north of Atlanta.

During his career, he worked in several short-term jobs in the hospitality industry, many of them as a consultant.

Hayashi will be involved in the development of a new food service component to replace Bon Appetit, which is leaving the park on Sept. 3.

“We decided to bring the food service in-house,” Robison said.

“Bon Appetit has done a great job using local, organic food, but we think that we can do even more.”

Robison said the public development authority had extended offers for the executive chef and food service manager positions, both to local people, and hoped to announce those names this week.

Bon Appetit is a national food service company that contracts with several corporate and public clients and has operated in Fort Worden for five years.

It has operated in three locations, providing food service for conferences, the Local Goods Cafe inside the Commons and the Cable House canteen on the beach.

The public development authority is overseeing the campus portions of the 434-acre park for educational purposes while State Parks continues to manage the camping, beach and recreation areas.

The campus portion of the park includes the Centrum arts organization, the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Goddard College, Peninsula College and the Coast Artillery Museum.

Robison said he was pleased with the public development authority’s accomplishments since taking over in May.

“I don’t see these as bumps in the road,” Robison said.

“They are interesting challenges.”

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Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 17. 2014 7:39PM
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