Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Board made mistake in revoking chair title


The July 11, 2013 vote by Island County commissioners Helen Price Johnson and Jill Johnson to remove Commissioner Kelly Emerson as chairwoman appears to lack statutory authority for that vote ever to have occurred.

County-elected officials have only those powers expressly conferred or delegated to them by specific statutory language.

County commissioners are mandated to elect a chair during their first session after the general election, which was way back in December 2012, and they are not statutorily authorized to do so at any other time.

From this, it derives that a freshman commissioner such as Jill Johnson may never accede as chair during the first year in office, since Jill Johnson was not even a commissioner back in December. Luckily, the statutes also allow that any person may appeal to Superior Court from any decision or order of the board of county commissioners, and such appeal must be made within 20 days after such a decision was made.

Moreover, the premise upon which this vote was cast is also flawed.

Johnson and Price Johnson also completely lack the statutory authority to cajole or order a fellow commissioner not to issue a special meeting notice or not to attend a public meeting.

A special meeting may be called at any time by the presiding officer of the governing body — the chair — of a public agency or by a majority of the members of the governing body. This fully enables all county commissioners to attend all desired public forums, just as any other citizen.

William Burnett

Oak Harbor

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 26
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates