Parks commissioner drops complaint

Following initial complaints and a openly contentious meeting last week, South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District Commissioner Warren Collver has dropped his threatened complaint against the remaining members of the board.

Collver had accused the board members of discrimination, citing Title 39, Section 60 of the Revised Code of Washington, and said he was following up with the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

When he announced his actions at an administrative meeting of the board Thursday evening, Chair Larry Walker cut him off, claiming that the discussion could not legally continue.

Walker explained that any pending litigation could derail the board’s ongoing dissolution and result in another $30,000 debt to the county in election fees.

Collver’s attempts to further discuss the issue were also cut off by Walker, who repeatedly hit the table with his fist shouting, “I have the floor.”

On Monday, Collver said he would not follow up, having spoken with long-time parks board critic Kathryn Simpson, a candidate for the board during the November election.

Simpson said she sympathized with Collver’s situation, calling the actions of the board inappropriate. But she worried that the action would derail the dissolution process, piling further election debt on a board that now has not park.

“He has, in my opinion, been treated very poorly and very unfairly by the other board members,” Simpson said, citing the argument between Collver and Walker Thursday evening, but added, “If he held on to this ... the board remains in existence, which defeats his desires.”

Collver said board members apologized to him, and said he would not pursue the complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

“If people are willing to let it go away, don’t stir it up,” Collver said, “and if it means swallowing your pride, everyone needs to do that.”

He said the board members gave him the message of “Hey, I’m human,” explaining even though he was angry by previous action, the apology made “a big difference.”

He added that he does not want to see anything impede the dissolution, which is scheduled to go before a judge July 20.

“Hopefully there will be nothing stopping the dissolving of the board,” Collver said. “I've always been very, very supportive of merging with the county.”

Walker maintains the opinion he wrote in a letter Thursday evening, dismissing Collver’s discrimination claims, still applies.

“I still stand by what I said. I don't believe there was ever any discrimination,” Walker said. “I think he might have construed disagreement for discrimination. But that’s in the past now, so we just move forward.”

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