Mediation plan for city-county building hits a snag

"Port Orchard city officials rejected one of Kitsap County's four conditions regarding a potential court ruling on the proposed $33 million downtown Bremerton government center.The court was to address whether Port Orchard's status as the Kitsap County seat would be threatened by the county's plans, which for relocating as many as 254 county employees and some county administrative offices to a new building in Bremerton.In a letter submitted to the county on Thursday, June 28, city declined to be bound by the judge's decision. That was one of the county's conditions for sending the matter to court.If the city or the county believes that the Superior Court Judge has made an incorrect legal ruling, then it would not be right to ignore that fact and agree not to request a higher court to correct the wrong, Mayor Jay Weatherill wrote. We are hopeful that no appeal would be necessary and that a well-reasoned and legally correct decision would be made as quickly as possible.That was the most important of four conditions, county officials said. Personally, I am disappointed with the response, but all three (commissioners) will have to talk about this, Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen said.Commissioner Jan Angel, who represents both South Kitsap and part of Bremerton, said she believes Port Orchard's request for the right to appeal the judge's decision is reasonable.The city also requested the county not enter into any other agreements regarding the governance center until the Superior Court renders its decision on the matter.Commissioner Tim Botkin was surprised at that request, which he said had never been discussed before.Botkin added that he fears the process could be bogged down significantly in a court proceeding.City officials agreed to three other conditions, including* Both sides would jointly decide on what the judge should rule.* Both sides would agree on a judge to decide the issue in a timely manner. * The process would take place within 90 days. "

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