Tracyton Port commissioner might be ousted

Following the Kitsap County Commissioners’ appointment in May of Gary Keenan to the Port of Tracyton (District 2), it was hoped the ailing port would have a quorum, and move forward.

But the one-and-only voter-elected port commissioner, Walt Fitzpatrick (District 3), kept to his promise of not showing for any more meetings — which left Keenan alone, and the port still without a quorum, at Keenan’s first regular meeting July 10.

Prior to Keenan’s appointment, the other two port commissioners had dropped out, leaving only Fitzpatrick — who declared all meetings canceled for the year.

It takes a minimum of two of the supposed-to-be three-commissioner port board to make such a decision, according to state law. Two commissioners constitute a “quorum” or legal majority, and can make decisions.

Keenan said he will invite Fitzpatrick to attend. If the missing port commissioner doesn’t show Aug. 14, port by-laws allow Fitzpatrick to be dropped. Two or more unexcused absences and a port commissioner loses his seat.

Also, according to the law, county commissioners must wait 90 days before appointing another port commissioner, to create a quorum, said Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent on Monday.

“Around Aug. 2, we’ll run an ad for a volunteer for an appointment to District 1.” She added that commissioners hope to have enough applicant to make a decision, and an appointment, by Aug. 11.

This will make a board that’s supposed to be entirely elected, mostly appointed. An appointed quorum is not allowed to stand for very long. Both appointed port commissioners have to run in the upcoming primary election, Sept. 28. If they run unopposed, they will be considered confirmed by the electorate. If they run opposed by two or more, they may end up in the general election, Nov. 4.

Those wanting to serve the Port of Tracyton in Districts 1 and 2 must file by July 28, said Lent. District 1 individuals may apply for appointment, which creates an incumbency if they’re selected by the county commissioners. Being the incumbent can help in the election to confirm.

“The port needs a quorum to file for an election as well as pay its bill to the Tracyton Library, where the port meets” every second Thursday of the month, said Lent.

What is supposed to be a three-member board of commissioners has suffered from lack of a quorum off and on for some time now. It’s also impossible to do anything with the port’s general — filled with $70,000 in taxpayer collected funds.

Fitzpatrick recently had 600 pages of criminal allegations thrown out as frivolous by Jefferson County prosecutor, Juelie Dalzell. In those allegations, Fitzpatrick named nearly every Kitsap County officials involved directly or tangentially with the Port of Tracyton. Ever since his election November 2000, Fitzpatrick has been trying to dismantle the port from the inside.

If Fitzpatrick is dropped from the board, there are at least two others willing to run for his District 3 seat.

Fitzpatrick has consistently declined to go on-record when speaking to the press. When reached by phone on Monday, July 14, Fitzpatrick again declined to speak on the record.

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