(Editor’s note: Since the publishing of this letter, Melissa Alspaugh has retracted any and all support for Joe Wheeler in The Port of Friday Harbor firing/restructuring issue.)
(This is an excerpt from a letter sent to port commissioners)
I am writing this letter out of deep concern over the lack of action with regards to Joe Wheeler’s unwarranted dismissal. I am coming to you as a former employee, former liveaboard and a member of the community. I understand that you may be in a difficult position, but make no mistake. The attention is now on you. It has already been established that Ted Fitzgerald does not have what it takes to be port director. His actions are petty and act with intent to humiliate an outstanding employee, which would be backed up by your staff had you bothered to ask them.You are allowing the port to disintegrate into a work environment governed by fear and negativity, resulting in utter despair and hopelessness.
It is laughable to call the dismissal of Joe Wheeler a “restructuring.” What I cannot possibly fathom is why you are choosing to side with a man you have known for only several months. It is no secret that Ted Fitzgerald has fired people under the guise of restructuring at his last post in Brookings. It is no secret that he is buddies with the contractor’s superintendent. I would say that the situation at hand points more towards megalomania than it does a competent manager working within a budget.
How could the commissioners, who are supposed to be guardians of the port,support a man who has been abusive to his staff, not solely Joe Wheeler? How can you as commissioners ignore the out crying of your community? How can you, as commissioners, not realize that a man who claims to be able to take on the role of maintenance manager and port director concurrently is a man with serious delusions?
Your reputation as leaders of this community is at stake and the only way to rectify your standing within this community is to remove Ted Fitzgerald from his post immediately. You are in a position to restore not only your own integrity but the integrity of the Port of Friday Harbor.
San Juan Island