Parks commissioners of South Whidbey OK digital attendance

Parks commissioners, the people in charge of the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District, which is supposed to encourage people to get out and be more active, unanimously approved a remote attendance policy for themselves Tuesday.

The smaller-than-usual board of three commissioners — two were absent — voted 3-0 to approve being able to attend the once-a-month meetings by phone or by video chat.

Parks Director Doug Coutts warned of issues that have happened with the Island County Board of Commissioners, specifically referring to Commissioner Kelly Emerson’s technical difficulties with remote attendance. He also urged the commissioners to only use the policy when it is necessary.

“It’s the exception, not the rule,” he said.

Still, the policy may have come in handy Nov. 18 when the commissioners delayed their meeting by 30 minutes because commission President Don Wood missed the ferry sailing in Mukilteo. His plight was sympathized with by other commissioners.

“Some days it’s just tough,” said Commissioner Joel Gerlach. “There are family emergencies, business meetings.”

Three of the five commissioners work off Whidbey Island.

The Port of South Whidbey and the Langley City Council have similar policies.


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