Not dead, not alive

Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent has scheduled a special meeting for 10 a.m. Monday, May 12 to appoint a second Port of Tracyton commissioner.

She met in an administrative hearing Monday to discuss the plan with fellow commissioners.

“It needs to have a functioning board to go forward,” Lent said of the Port of Tracyton.

With just one acting member, the Port board does not have a quorum to conduct business or to decide to dissolve itself, Lent said.

Going ahead with the dissolution process is a time-consuming, lengthy process and should be left to port commissioners and the citizens to decide, she continued.

Walter Fitzpatrick, the remaining port commissioner, left a phone message with Lent that she read to commissioners Jan Angel and Chris Endresen. Lent said Fitzpatrick threatened to bring criminal charges against the county auditor and other officials if the appointment was made and would “stop at nothing” to close the port.

Six people have applied for the position, but two were ineligible because they live in District 3, which Fitzpatrick represents. One applicant Patrick Boyle requested his name be withdrawn.

Kay Baltz, Gary Keenan and Kenneth Adkisson, of District 2 will be considered for one of the spots. Lent did not make a recommendation at Monday’s session.

Officials held a public hearing last month to determine the interest in the port. The majority of the people there spoke in favor of keeping the port operating. Fitzpatrick said the port should have been dissolved years ago and is collecting taxes illegally.

On April 22, Fitzpatrick sent a letter to Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire asking she take action on a 1989 request from the state auditor to dissolve the port because of inactivity.

Lent said the Attorney General’s office has remanded that decision to the county.

In February 2002, Fitzpatrick filed a criminal fraud complaint with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office claiming the port’s budgets were false.

During the past 10 years, the Port of Tracyton has collected about $70,000 in taxes and has about $50,000 in the bank. No taxes are being collected this year.

In-fighting, excessive absences and the eventual resignation of the other two port commissioners led to the board vacancies.

A judge granted a temporary restraining order July 1, 2002 to Fitzpatrick after former Port Commissioner Steve Hoffman threatened him during a meeting.

When a second commissioner is appointed, he/she and Fitzpatrick will have 90 days to fill the third seat. If they fail to do so county Commissioners will fill it.

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