News

Bay St. marquee will stay for now

In a tumultuous and jam-packed meeting on Monday, the Port Orchard City Council’s decision to accept and move forward with the phased removal of the marquee was overturned by a 4-3 vote — meaning the structure is staying.

Councilmember Rick Wyatt filed a motion to reconsider the marquee decision last week and listened as public input during the meeting wavered from one extreme to the other.

The final vote was 4 to 3 with Wyatt, John Clauson, Carolyn Powers and Bob Geiger in the majority.

Wyatt was in the majority, voting to remove the marquee, in the original vote, which, according to parliamentary procedure, allowed him to motion for reconsideration of the original vote.

Although Wyatt has stated he was not influenced or persuaded to make this decision, especially by a fellow councilmember, Councilwoman Rita DiIenno said that’s just not true.

“We know that’s untrue because people have overheard him talking about it in conversation,” she said.

DiIenno said in the meeting she would vote with the majority, which allowed her to request a motion to reconsider Monday’s vote and continue public testimony to the Council’s next meeting on June 27, although she has supported the marquee’s removal in past votes.

“The reason for it was, although we had asked for input for the phased removal, I had heard that Rick was going to overturn the original vote,” DiIenno explained. “I at least wanted to make sure the door was left open for those who weren’t aware of what was going to happen.”

According to DiIenno, a motion to reconsider would take a majority vote of the council to overturn and nullify the motion Wyatt made.

“I feel really very comfortable with the position that I took Monday night,” Wyatt said. “I feel that I was 100 percent right.”

DiIenno said Wyatt was not interested in hearing the public out, since he had typed his decision before the meeting to be read at the end of the hearing.

“I was trying to stay professional and to the point in my comments, and I tried to explain the issues several times,” Wyatt said.

According to Wyatt, the issue is one of finances.

“We need to get this into (the Finance Committee) and find some money,” Wyatt said. “I’ve been working with (City Attorney) Loren Combs on a financial packet, and I believe we can find the money in (the city’s) budget for use to upgrade and remodel the structure.”

Wyatt said he is primarily concerned with lifting the financial burden off Bay Street business and building owners.

However, Wyatt feels the political maneuvering might have gone too far.

“When (DiIenno) came out and supported my motion, I knew exactly where she was going,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt said he will attend the July 27 council meeting even though he is scheduled to be on vacation. Wyatt’s somewhat-expected motion to overturn the original vote has earned him an unflattering nickname with several Port Orchard residents — “Wishy-Washy” Wyatt.

“I don’t look at it that way,” Wyatt said. “I’m giving people a chance to express their opinions. The atmosphere of the bench that night was totally uncalled for.”

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