Port of Brookings Harbor commissioners Tuesday appointed Mike Manning as interim port commissioner to fill the seat vacated by Kathy Lindley Hall who tendered her resignation in July.

Manning's appointment came after port commissioners discussed the applicants in executive session. The other four applicants were Al Cornell, William Ferry, Sharon Hartung and Roger Thompson.

"It was a tough choice; we had some very qualified candidates," Commissioner Jim Relaford said.

Commissioners said they like Manning's business experience and ties to the commercial fishing industry.

"He's got the qualities of having run a business, he understands business," Relaford said. "Kathy Lindley had ties to the commercial fishing segment of the constituency which is important, so we kind of wanted someone who could provide that experience, and Mike with all of his experiences really fit the bill."

Commissioner Sue Gold shared a similar view.

"We need to have someone represent the commercial fisherman," Gold said.

"That was my main thrust in choosing him."

They also wanted someone who works well with others.

"Mike kind of fit all of the qualities that we were looking for," Relaford said.

Manning, 46, runs BC Fisheries and BC Fishing Transport.

He applied for the position because he thinks the port needs assistance.

"We have a lot of deferred maintenance and stuff that hasn't been done maybe as good as it could have been, and it's my community," Manning said. "If my community is successful, then I'm successful, and I'd like to see it do better."

Through his business, Manning has a working knowledge of not only the Port of Brookings Harbor, but ports up and down the west coast, he said.

As a result, he believes he can provide Brookings-Harbor with input on what is working or not working for other ports.

Manning's goals are "to help bring unity to our port. I'm not going to tell you I'm going to go in there and bring any drastic changes," he said.He wants, he said, "to help bring unity with the focus of making our port better and working together as a team."

He believes in developing and growing the port, but until he has a chance to become more involved and learn the financial situation of the port, he doesn't want to outline a specific plan.

"I want to go in and see what they have on the table and where they are financially," Manning said. "Before we start thinking about where we are going with that stuff, we have to see where we are."

He has similar view on the Big Green Building, or Gray Ghost, an empty 22,000-square-foot, two-story building on Lower Harbor Road that has been the subject of some discussion by commissioners recently.

"We need to see where everybody's at and what's going on, and I need more information to make a good decision on what we should be doing," Manning said.

This is Manning's first time in public office. The Brookings resident has been active in the community for six years.

Manning will fill out the remainder of Lindley's term. The seat is up for reelection in July.

"We're pretty pleased that he accepted it," Relaford said. "It's a tough job. You spend hours a month, and there's no pay or anything. You've got to love what you do, and you've got to love the port. He's a good fit."