As the world churns in Tracyton

Criminal conspiracy? Or just a former port commissioner’s sour grapes?

In an open letter (e-mail) to Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent and county auditor, Karen Flynn, Tracyton Port Commissioner Walt Fitzpatrick accuses them of participating in a criminal conspiracy.

Specifically, Fitzpatrick is accusing a county take-over of the port through “elections fraud” by Flynn, Lent and others.

He posted the e-mail Aug. 2, two days after a clash at a port meeting between himself, Lent and county commissioner-appointed port commissioner, Gary Keenan.

“I learned this morning, Saturday, Aug. 2, Mr. Gary Keenan filed notice of a Port of Tracyton commissioner vacancy with Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn yesterday (Friday, Aug. 1). It’s my understanding this filing occurred late in the day,” said Fitzpatrick.

“Mr. Keenan names myself, Walt Fitzpatrick, as the absent commissioner Port District 3.”

Fitzpatrick claimed he had first learned of Keenan’s filing, and Auditor Flynn’s action in The Sun newspaper.

“My commissioner’s seat is not vacant. It’s never been vacant,” Fitzpatrick said. “My elected status as port commissioner remains unchanged despite this transparent attempt to install a County appointed (unelected) puppet government into the inactive Port of Tracyton.”

Fitzpatrick claimed Keenan’s filed notice is “false on its face,” and that he has not been absent from any Port meeting since taking office on Jan. 10, 2001.

Fitzpatrick said no formal notice has been posted by Auditor Flynn of her “special candidate filing period” that lasts for 36 hours beginning on Monday, Aug. 4.

“County Auditor Flynn has taken the first step to illegally nullify a lawful election. County Commissioner Patty Lent, along with several others, are completely complicit,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, Keenan claims Fitzpatrick is no longer a commissioner because he has missed two consecutive port meetings which Keenan ran this summer.

With Keenan ostensibly as the only commissioner, and the other two positions on the three-person board likely to be appointed either by county commissioners or port commissioners, it will end up an all-appointed board, rather than the all-elected board it is intended to be, according to state and port laws and rules. The three will have to be confirmed by the electorate in the next public election.

According to Flynn, William Mooney filed to run in the next port election (District 1) late last week. Pat Wright, a Tracyton resident, and Bremerton business owner, also filed, for District 3 — Fitzpatrick’s former position. Keenan filed as well.

If three or more file against these individuals in the three districts, then they would automatically be on the primary election in September. If two or less file in each district, they will appear on the general election, Nov. 4.

Mooney and Wright might be appointed in the meantime to give the port a quorum. This would not affect their simultaneous filings for election, said Flynn.

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