SEED deserves a fair hearing; will it get one?

Not to keep beating (what we fervently hope will soon be) a dead horse here, but comments made by Port of Bremerton CEO Ken Attebery in an Indepedent article last week (“SEED flying on auto-pilot for now,” March 8), leave us wondering how serious port officials are about giving their pet project an honest review.

Responding to a directive last month from the port’s board of commissioners that the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project be put on hold until its business plan and financing scheme can be evaluated by an outside source, Attebery said he was “anticipating a positive outcome,” after which the project would presumably move ahead as planned.

With all due respect, the whole point of doing a review is to determine whether the project represents a prudent use of the taxpayer’s money. But if the port’s CEO has already decided what the report will say before the analysts have even been chosen, let alone finished their work, how can we have any confidence in the integrity of those findings?

Moreover, unlike the elected port commissioners, who have to face their constituents every four years and win or lose at the ballot box based on their convictions, Attebery is an employee of the port. Consequently, his opinions about what the port should or shouldn’t do with regard to SEED — or anything else, for that matter — are irrelevant.

It’s Attebery’s job to do what the commissioners — and by extension, the voters — tell him, not push his own agenda.

Finally, we’re also not satisfied to hear that Attebery intends to have the review done by an analyst willing to work “pro bono.” While we’re not anxious for the port to throw any more money down the SEED rathole, we’re inclined to think a review that costs nothing will be worth every penny of it.

The taxpayers deserve a fair, objective and informed review, not a rubber stamp of what SEED supporters like Attebery already believe. Here’s hoping they get it.

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