Angel aims to slow selection process

The selection of a new North Kitsap Commissioner will take longer than expected, since South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel said she needs more time to study the qualifications of the three candidates.

“The public doesn’t know who these folks are,” Angel said. “They were selected by the Democratic Party. I want to set out a plan to review their qualifications. I plan to do my due diligence.”

The vacancy was created when North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen resigned to take a post with U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. In keeping with state law, the local Democratic Party selected Hansville consultant Stephen Bauer, Kitsap County Planning Commissioner Tom Nevins and Kitsap County Spokesman Clarence Moriwaki from a field of 11 candidates.

Angel and Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown are now charged with selecting from the three names and have 60 days to do so. Brown indicated last week he expected the new commissioner to be selected July 2, after using this week to conduct individual interviews.

Angel now says this scenario is “not possible,” and that she feels the candidate should face the public, since none of the candidates have been accountable to anyone outside the party.

“This is a very important position,” she said. “The new commissioner will be making critical decisions about county government without having campaigning for the position. All I know about these people I have read in the paper, except for Clarence, who has worked here a few months.”

Brown thinks the new commissioner should take office without delay.

“They can come in here at any time,” he said of the candidates. “They were named a week ago and we have done nothing. We need to get a move on. With the budget issues we need to get someone in as soon as is feasible. If we wait until mid-August, we will lose a lot of critical time.”

Endresen, on her second-to-last day in office, said the decision should be made sooner rather than later.

“We already have the names and know their qualifications,” she said. “The north end needs to have a commissioner in place.”

The July 4 holiday will cut down on available time, and both commissioners are scheduled to attend a National Association of Counties meeting the week of July 17.

With Angel’s stated desire for public meetings, it could be at least the end of July before a decision is made.

If the two cannot agree on a single nominee, then Gov. Christine Gregoire will select a name from the same list.

Kitsap Association of Realtors Association Executive Mike Eliason supports a more deliberate path.

“State law authorizes the Board up to 60 days (60) to select the replacement,” he wrote in an e-mail to both board members. “The time period may seem like an eternity for Democrat Party activists who began their involvement in late April of this year, but it’s just the beginning for the vast majority of Kitsap’s citizens who also have a vested interest in the outcome of the decision.”

In a meeting Monday afternoon Angel declined to set a schedule for the process.

This caused a frustrated Brown to say, “Now we wait. And wait. And wait.”

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