Seitle pulls into Port position
June 25, 2008 · Updated 4:25 PM
A well-known Langley political activist is entered into politics for real this week when he was named as a Port of South Whidbey commissioner.
Rolf Seitle got the nod Wednesday to fill a Port commissioner's seat left vacant by former commissioner Jim Hawley.
Seitle, who lives in Langley, was the top choice out of six applicants, according to Port board president Lynae Slinden.
"It was a tough choice," she said after she and fellow commissioner Gene Sears made their selection.
Slinden said Seitle, who is 74, had the best qualifications for the position. She said he showed a strong interest in further developing Langley's Small Boat Harbor. The Port recently signed an interlocal agreement with Langley providing for some joint funding and administration of the harbor.
Seitle will finish Hawley's term, which expires this November. Hawley was removed from the Port board by the other two commissioners after he failed to make regular appearances at the once-a-month meetings.
Seitle will have to run for election in November if he wishes to keep the seat. During Wednesday's Port meeting in Freeland, Slindon encouraged the applicants not chosen for appointment to run in the election if they are still interested in the position. Applications to run in the election are due to be turned into the Island County Auditor's office by Aug. 7.
Speaking this week about his appointment, Seitle, a semi-retired professional engineer, said he has the time and energy to devote himself to the Port. Seitle and his wife, Barbara, have owned property on Edgecliff Drive in Langley since 1991, and have lived there since 1997.
Deciding to apply to be a Port commissioner was a simple matter of interest for Seitle.
"I was looking for something interesting to do, and the position seemed to fit some of my experiences," he said.
Having been active in the League of Women voters and in a number of political issues in Langley, Seitle said he was attracted to commissioner's office because it is a non-partisan position.
Seitle said his last full-time job was as senior vice president of Transdyn Controls Inc., an electronic control design firm. He is still a consultant for the company on a limited basis. As an employee of that company, he has had experience with the hardware needed for water and wastewater distribution, collection and treatment, electric power generation and distribution and traffic management.
Seitle also worked for Ford Motor Company, Systems Control Inc. and British Petroleum.
Seitle's public service history includes 12 years as a director of the Skyline County Water District in Woodside, Calif., and four years as the district's president. During his tenure, he wrote grant applications and was involved in the construction of a major pump station, five miles of high pressure pipeline and new storage facilities, according to Seitle.
He is a native of Vienna, Austria, and moved to the United States in 1952.