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Two-month Indianola Port Commission position draws three applicants
INDIANOLA -- Three residents applied for an Indianola Port District job that will last two months and require them to attend two meetings. Application deadline was Sept. 25.
Patrick Hatchel, John Lane or Bill Sibbett will be appointed to the Port Commission District 3 position on Oct. 1; the position was vacated in August when Joan Wald resigned. The appointed commissioner will serve immediately and until Nov. 26, when the Nov. 5 general election is certified and the elected commissioner takes office.
Hatchel and Lane are candidates on the Nov. 5 ballot. Hatchel is a Mountlake Terrace police officer and a member of the Kitsap County Public Facilities District board. Lane owns Gutter Cover NW and is a seating host for the Seattle Mariners. Sibbett is a tug boat captain with experience as a commercial fisherman and in marine construction.
Appointment would give Hatchel or Lane a head start on the job they are running for. But would it give the appointee an advantage in the election?
“I can’t answer that question. I don’t know the answer to that,” Commission Chairman Jeff Henderson said.
Henderson said he didn’t know if it would be best to appoint someone as a placeholder until after the election.
“I’m going to answer that question after we interview them next Tuesday night,” he said. “It’s relatively the first thing on the agenda to take care of, and I would anticipate we would appoint that evening.”
The commission will have a complete membership for the first time since July 29, when District 2 Commissioner Judith Frank resigned amid the public fallout over the temporary closure of the Indianola dock. Wald’s resignation left Henderson as the sole commissioner and unable under state law to conduct any port business requiring a commission vote.
Henderson and County Commissioner Rob Gelder interviewed candidates for the District 2 position and on Sept. 4 the County Commission appointed Eric Cookson, a retired Coast Guard senior chief petty officer.
Cookson is also on the Nov. 5 ballot for the District 2 position, running against write-in candidate Matthew Smith. The winner will serve the two years remaining in the six-year term. The winner of the District 3 race will serve six years.
The Indianola Port Commission owns and manages the historic dock, a former Mosquito Fleet ferry dock now used for recreation. The dock has a float where boaters can tie-up short-term. The port district’s 2013 budget was $41,650 in revenue and $38,648 in expenses; the district has $100,000 in an investment pool. A property tax increase on the Nov. 5 ballot would generate additional revenue for dock maintenance and improvements. The structural integrity of the dock is now being studied.
There are no full-time staff members; the port contracts out for accounting, maintenance and security.
Commissioners are currently unpaid, but beginning in January will receive $100 a meeting. Two candidates – Hatchel and Lane – said at a candidates forum Sept. 17 that they would not accept it.