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Port of Poulsbo will accept applications for commission position beginning Monday

POULSBO — The Port of Poulsbo will begin accepting applications for the commission vacancy on Monday, but by Thursday had already received two applications.

Commissioner Jim Rutledge said at the commission meeting Thursday he and Chairman Tony DeCarlo will review the applications and interview qualified applicants, but he was unsure if the port is the appropriate body to make the appointment.

"I think the board’s authority to make the appointment is gone," he said.

Retired Navy man Ron Savage and lawyer Stephen Swann have applied for the position.

The application period will be open for four weeks beginning April 9, during which time port commissioners will confer with county commissioners as to who makes the appointment.

The vacancy occurred when seven-year commissioner Arnie Bockus resigned effective March 31. Bockus lost his reelection bid in November, and then applied for appointment to another commission position vacated by resignation. He was appointed by Commissioner Tony DeCarlo to the position on Dec. 1, before his own term had expired. Commissioner-elect Rutledge questioned the legality of the appointment, and so at a special meeting Dec. 28 — four days before Rutledge took office — DeCarlo and Bockus voted to reaffirm the appointment.

In an informal opinion, Assistant Attorney General Christopher Lanese cited a common-law public policy principle that a sitting commissioner is ineligible for appointment if the appointment is made during the commissioner’s term.

The port is also seeking applicants for a Community Advisory Board to help update the port's comprehensive plan.

Commissioners are empowered by state law to set objectives, policies and overall direction for the port district. They can exercise the right of eminent domain, levy and collect assessments on property within the district without voter approval to provide services to the public, and issue bonds and impose excess levies for specific purposes. They have considerable influence over economic development and environmental stewardship. They are paid $100 per meeting.

If you’d like to apply for the port commission or the community advisory board, write Port of Poulsbo, 18809 Front St., P.O. Box 732, Poulsbo, WA 98370. The application will also be online at http://portofpoulsbo.com/index.htm.

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