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Sibbett appointed to Indianola Port Commission

INDIANOLA — Bill Sibbett will serve less than two months as a Port of Indianola commissioner before he turns the office over to his successor.

Sibbett, a tug boat captain and commercial fisherman, was appointed to the District 3 commission seat Oct. 1 by Commissioners Jeff Henderson and Eric Cookson. Neither commissioner has returned messages left by the Herald.

Port auditor Jessica Olanie said the commissioners did not give any detail as to why Sibbett was appointed.

The position drew three applicants, two of which are running for election for District 3: John Lane and Patrick Hatchel.

The District 3 position was vacated in August when Joan Wald resigned.

Sibbett will serve until Nov. 26, when the Nov. 5 general election is certified and the elected commissioner takes office.

The commission has 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.

 

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