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The North Kitsap Herald article by Megan Stephenson dated March 1 titled, “AG: Bockus could not be appointed” is in part inaccurate and misleading. At the request of Rep. Sherry Appleton, who was acting on behalf of Commissioner Rutledge, Assistant Attorney General Christopher Lanese issued an informal opinion. No where in his five-page letter did he state that “Poulsbo Commissioner Arnie Bockus could not be appointed to another commission vacancy before his term expired” as Stephenson states. In fact, Lanese states in Footnote 1 of his Feb. 23 informal opinion letter, “AG opinions are not intended to resolve specific controversies. This opinion should not be construed as a comment on the actions of any port commission.”
Lanese issues his informal opinion based on a broad prospective and interpretation of common-law public policy, but was not specific to the appointment of Arnie Bockus to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Glenn Gilbert. Quite simply, there is no statute which covers the specifics of this appointment and therefore cannot be “a clear violation of conflict of interest laws,” as Stephenson states.
For the record, prior to the appointment of Mr. Bockus to fill the unexpired term of Commissioner Gilbert, the Port placed a public notice of the Port Commission vacancy with a request for candidates in the Kitsap Sun in late October 2011. At the end of the three-week notice period, only one candidate — from Silverdale — had applied and was deemed ineligible.
Many of us directly involved with the Port are pleased that Mr. Bockus was willing to submit his name to fill Mr. Gilbert’s term. Mr. Bockus is significantly qualified and, along with Chairman DeCarlo, has presided over several successful years of Port operations. To their credit, the Port of Poulsbo is one of the most financially healthy ports in Puget Sound. It has zero debt, a cash reserve, high boat occupancy, and satisfied transient boaters which also benefit the downtown business community.
It is indeed unfortunate that in each of the last three monthly Port meetings at least one or more hours of contentious time has been spent on the appointment of Commissioner Bockus. Some of the public comments lack civility and are acrimonious. The March 1 meeting is a case in point, when one of Commissioner Rutledge’s supporters verbally attacked Commissioner DeCarlo and the Port’s attorney, Mr. Norbut. This bullying behavior causes disharmony, ill will and is unproductive. Apparently, Commissioner Rutledge and his supporters believe if they continue to harass Commissioners Bockus and DeCarlo, they will get one or both to resign.
Commissioner Bockus is the replacement of Mr. Gilbert, and we have asked both Commissioners Bockus and DeCarlo to stay the course.
As friends of the Port, we ask Commissioner Rutledge to stop further challenge of this appointment and focus on substantive matters of the Port.
Bev Anthony, Chris Attwood, Bruce Barrett, Debbie Barrett, Joe Barrett, Joe Dazey, Sue Dazey, Brenda Gaedke, Jon Gaedke, Denny Kimmel, Gail Kimmel, Glen McVicker, Rodney McVicker, Phil Reaber, Sally Spleen, Steve Spleen, Teresa Starbuck