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Angel bypassed for chairmanship
As a final act during the last Kitsap County Commissioner meeting of the year, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel received a slap in the face, according to her constituents.
North Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen, the current chairwoman on the board of commissioners, on Monday nominated Central Kitsap Commissioner and fellow Democrat Tim Botkin to chair the board when 2002 rolls around. He already filled that role last year.
First-term incumbent Jan Angel, a Republican, thought next year would be her opportnity to lead county commissioner meetings, but it just wasnt meant to be.
Chris and Tim have introduced politics into the courthouse and they have shown their displeasure with the South Kitsap commissioner, said Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan, who also resides in South Kitsap. If anything, theyve given the public a very good reason to vote for the charter because it provides for nonpartisan elections.
This was a slap in the face of the South Kitsap commissioner and the South Kitsap voters, he continued. I am shocked and upset.
Mahan called the action a discourteous one, noting that county commissioners have typically established a policy although not written into state law whereby the chairmanship rotated around the table from year to year.
In fact, Mahan said in January 1969, when he served as a Republican County Commissioner for South Kitsap, he seconded a motion appointing North Kitsap Republican Frank Randall as chairman of the board of commissioners.
I stated that I felt the unwritten policy should be that the commissioners should serve two years as the chair and then rotate the position through the board, said Mahan, who switched to the Democratic Party in 1971. The policy eventually switched to a yearly schedule in about 1994.
Mahan says its common courtesy to pass on the torch and he was suprised to hear the news Monday afternoon.
It was a blatant power grab, and they showed no respect for Jan Angel, said Vivian Henderson, a South Kitsap resident and executive director of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners. This is why we need home rule. There is too much power with two people.
Others who were shocked and appalled by the appointment on Monday also say this gives more power to the Home Rule Charter, which is up for a public vote on Feb. 5.
The charter calls for five nonpartisan county councilmembers to be elected in a by-district fashion and also creates a new elected county executive position.
There is too much power with just two commissioners, said Henderson, who slammed the door to the commissioners chambers in disgust after the nomination. There is no separation of power right now in county government. The charter would create the county executive position and a majority among councilmembers would be three among five.
Endresen and Botkin said state law doesnt require the chairmanship to rotate among the commissioners year-to-year. The law only indicates a nomination must take place among the commissioners themselves.
They also noted that Angel has said she didnt feel ready for the job anyway because she is the newest commissioner.
Angel, however, denied those claims at the commissioner hearing on Monday.