Ports deserve our involvement | In Our Opinion

Arnie Bockus has resigned from the Poulsbo Port Commission. We hope now that the appointment of his successor can be done correctly: An application period that is adequate in length and well-publicized, and an appointment that is made after interviews and discussion in a public forum, with a vote by the two remaining commissioners.

We still believe that Bockus’s vote to appoint himself to a commission vacancy was a conflict of interest. We believe the appointment could have waited until the first meeting in January, when there would be two commissioners qualified to vote on the appointment.

We also believe this episode could have been avoided if port district residents were more engaged in port district business.

Port commissions deserve the public’s interest and involvement. They wield a lot of authority. They 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.

The Port of Poulsbo is expected to again accept applications for the new vacancy on the commission; how long an application period will likely be decided at the commission’s April 5 meeting, 7 p.m., at the port. The new commissioner will have the honor of helping update the port’s comprehensive plan, a blueprint of where the port hopes to go in the next six years. The new commissioner will also contribute to discussion of such issues as dock improvements, dredging, replacement of the breakwater, and expansion of port district boundaries.

If you live within the port district (visit www.portofpoulsbo.com to see if you do), consider applying for appointment to the commission. You don’t have to be a commissioner to influence the direction of the port; attend meetings and let the commission know what you think about the issues.

Port commissioners are elected by you, and you pay them $100 a meeting for the privilege. They represent you. You can make their job easier by letting them hear from you.


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