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Port commissioner fined by state agency

"Port of South Whidbey Commissioner Jim Hawley is hoping he won't have to pay a $250 fine levied against him by the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.In fact, he might refuse to pay it.I'm not going to, he said Thursday. I'm a senior citizen who spends over $300 a month on prescriptions.The PDC announced this week that Hawley was one of a number of office holders fined for not filing their personal financial reports on time. It's an annual requirement for elected officials, and the deadline is April 15.Hawley is the only official in Island County who was among 18 elected officials fined, with the amounts ranging from $100 to $500.Hawley attributed his tardiness in filing his financial report to a bureaucratic morass. It started shortly after April 15 when he realized he was late and asked the PDC to send him the required form. At first, he said, he thought he didn't have to file this year because his financial information was the same as the year before.But Hawley learned he still had to fill out a short form of the disclosure statement. He attempted to fax the PDC the proper form and a letter of explanation about his tardiness, only to discover that he'd lost the form. He faxed the letter, but since he'd written it on engineering paper divided into quarter-inch squares they couldn't read it.After a long delay, Hawley finally got another form and filled it out only a few days ago. He mailed it to the FDC. Now he's waiting for a response, hoping that his $250 fine will be rescinded.Tim Ellis, director of public outreach for the PDC, said Thursday that Hawley will have another chance to avoid the fine, which came after several warning letters were sent to him during the summer. The five-member PDC commission will schedule a hearing to hear Hawley's concerns, or even consider those concerns in written form. He's got one more opportunity, Ellis said.Hawley said he has no argument with the requirement that elected officials supply personal financial information, especially at the county commissioner level and higher. But he doubts it's necessary for small port district where candidates spend little if any money to get elected.Hawley filed a disclosure statement when he first ran for office in 1999, and then again in 2000. But even that didn't go smoothly. He said the PDC lost his form while moving its offices from Olympic to Tumwater and he had to send it again.It's only me, Hawley said. Other people don't have these problems. "

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