SK’s Angel supports Bauer for commissioner

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel has dropped her request to prolong the search process with a series of public meetings and thrown her support behind Stephen Bauer as the county seeks to replace departed Commissioner Chris Endresen.

“I’m surprised and pleased,” Bauer said on Friday. “I look forward to the rest of the process.”

If Bauer has the support of Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown, as is commonly believed, it would appear the Hansville consultant has the appointment all but wrapped up.

Brown could not be reached for comment Friday morning.

“It is my desire for the citizens of Kitsap County, as well as myself, to have an opportunity to get to know the three selected county commissioner candidates better through a public participation forum,” Angel stated in a news release Thursday night. “Various circumstances are not going to allow this event to occur.”

Angel said she made her decision after learning that two of the candidates, Bauer and Kitsap County Spokesman Clarence Moriwaki, would only participate if both commissioners requested them to do so. Because Brown had already spoken out against the public meeting idea, she dropped her request.

Angel said she supported Bauer because he was the first choice of the Democratic Precinct Officers. “I knew then that it was over,” she said. “So I made the decision myself.”

Angel said she studied the employment packets on her own, and did not take counsel from any other parties.

On Wednesday, Angel had proposed three public meetings, one in each commissioner district. She later revised this to a single meeting in Silverdale before the end of July. She said earlier on Thursday she had instructed County Administrator Nancy Buonnono Grennan to investigate facility availability.

Following that meeting, Angel said she would decide which one of the three candidates to support. She said she would base her preference on the interaction of the candidates with the public as well as their ability to answer a range of questions.

Angel said the same questions could be asked in an interview, but added, “The interview format doesn’t work for me.”

She acknowledged having some interaction with all three candidates, but not the in-depth interview needed to judge qualifications about serving as commissioner.

“I need additional material,” she said. “This could involve background checks. I won’t be pushed or rushed.”

Angel said on Friday morning that she still favored public interaction but knew it would not happen.

Brown said he didn’t think forums were necessary.

“This isn’t an election,” he said. “This is an appointment. If the public doesn’t like the appointee, they will have the opportunity to elect a new commissioner in November of 2008.”

The idea of a forum, meanwhile, was complicated with the proposed involvement of two independent groups, the Kitsap Alliance for Property Owners (KAPO) and the Kitsap Association of Realtors. Brown called both organizations “special-interest groups that want to delay the appointment process for partisan reasons.” 

In anticipation of a forum Realtors’ Association Executive Mike Eliason began calling former colleagues of Bauer in Bellevue and Oregon on Thursday for references and reported “he got glowing reports from everybody I talked to.”

Port Orchard Independent Editor Jeff Rhodes contributed to this report.

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