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Port commissioner says park visitors need bathroom after hours
During last weekend’s beautiful weather, Port of Bremerton Commissioner Larry Stokes said there were plenty of people enjoying the port’s playground near the Port Orchard Marina.
However, if they needed to use the restroom, they were out of luck.
“There were all these young children there, but the bathrooms were locked,” Stokes said at the Port of Bremerton Board of Commissioner’s meeting March 9. “You know, a little girl needs to go to the bathroom.”
Stokes said he assumed that the bathrooms near the Mary Ann Huntington Children’s Park were locked at 5 p.m. because that was when marina staff went home.
“I know we have to lock them for security reasons, but we should put out a port-a-potty so people have access to a restroom,” he said. “If we are spending all this money for floating restrooms so people don’t have to walk too far, the least we should do is have restrooms available.”
Steve Slaton, the port’s director of marine facilities, said the bathrooms near the gazebo are locked when his staff leaves for the day.
“We have found when we leave them open, we get problems, like people living in them,” Slaton said.
Stokes said he did not expect staff to leave the restrooms unlocked, but asked that a port-a-potty be put there after hours.
“If the commission wants to do that, we can,” Slaton said.
After the meeting, the board held a study session where the commissioners discussed how commissioner’s requests for information and agenda materials would be handled by port staff.
“My experience is, is that when there is a new member of the board, they ask a lot of questions to get up-to-speed,” said Board President Bill Mahan, alluding to what may have caused recent frustrations.
“We absolutely understand we need to respond to the commissioners’ and to give you the information you need to make a decision,” said port Chief Executive Officer Cary Bozeman. “The trouble comes when it is a request to spend money, or (something that) impacts the current policy of the organization, then it becomes muddled. We need to know then if it is a directive of the board.”
“I’ll make it very clear — if a person needs a second vote, I guarantee you he’ll get it,” said Commissioner Stokes. “I think the problem is that we’ve got three commissioners here that are experts in different fields, but are never consulted. “As far as I’m concerned, the commissioners are left completely out of the loop and are never consulted (on a subject) where our expertise lies.”
Stokes said he was frustrated with a lack of teamwork amongst the board and staff.
“If I have to bring every problem and recommendation I got to an open meeting so I don’t break the chain of command, I will,” he said.
Bozeman said his staff would never hesitate to provide information to the board, but requests that may impact the budget “voted on by you, we are hesitant to do, and will always be.”
“I have had a problem receiving information from the staff,” said Mahan. “I think the difference may be in the expectations. You can’t just ask for teamwork, you have to set the stage and be a team player.”
“I commit that we’ll work at getting you the information you need — don’t question our commitment to getting you the information you need,” Bozeman said, pointing out that there were two separate issues: information requests, and commissioner requests involving money expenditures.
Commissioner Zabinski then asked port attorney Gordon Walgren if a “two-commissioner vote (was required) for an information request? What’s an actual action item?”
Walgren said “administrative-type requests should be handled by staff,” but that any time two commissioners are involved in a request, “that requires action in an open public meeting.
“Requests for information from the public need to be responded to in a timely manner in accordance with the law, and requests from the commission should be responded to in the same way.”