Now there are two: Port adds commish

In a special meeting Monday, Kitsap County Commissioners appointed Gary Keenan to the Tracyton Port Commission.

Keenan is a Tracyton Water District commissioner and businessman who is a lifelong resident of Tracyton.

He was chosen from three other candidates to represent District 2.

He will serve alongside District 1 Commissioner Walter Fitzpatrick. Neither Fitzpatrick nor Keenan attended Monday’s meeting.

“I think that the port could have an important part to do in Tracyton,” Keenan said, namely making improvements to the waterfront.

Keenan has served with the Tracyton Water District since 1994. The district is now in dissolution talks with Bremerton. Keenan was with the water district when it and the port were discussing a possible purchase of the Tracyton Community Hall for $1. The port made purchasing the building one of its goals during its resurgence in 1994.

Legal counsel for the Water District has since advised the district not to give the property away. It is being appraised for sale, Keenan said.

Now that the port board has a quorum with two members, its agenda includes: appointing a third commissioner, tackling the redistricting issue, and paying the port’s bills.

For nearly a year, the port commission has been plagued by controversy. Fitzpatrick believes the port is inactive, has been collecting taxes illegally and has created fraudulent budgets.

In her presentation Monday, CK County Commissioner Patty Lent acknowledged that in 1988 the state auditor issued a finding that the port had been inactive and should take steps to dissolve. No action was taken by the state, port or board or county commissioners.

Fitzpatrick filed a criminal fraud complaint in February 2002 and has said recently he is renewing the allegations of misconduct against county officials.

“This has been a very difficult thing to handle, especially in your first couple of months in office,” Endresen told Lent at the special meeting.

Lent agreed that this is the most visible task she has worked on to date since taking office after November 2002 elections.

The port is a problem that has been brewing for years. The Port of Tracyton was created in 1929.

(Editor’s note: Commissioner Walter Fitzpatrick has said in the past he will not talk to the media “on the record” about the Port of Tracyton. He failed to respond to an e-mail on Monday, May 12.)

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