Port of Coupeville elects to let director speak

Months after a commissioner for the Port of Coupeville expressed concerns about comments the executive director made to the press, the divided three-member board decided to stick with the status quo.

The commissioners rejected a proposal brought forth by the board’s newest member, Laura Blankenship, by a 2 to 1 vote. That proposal would have named the board of commissioners president, Marshall Bronson, as the media spokesperson.

Bronson and Benye Weber disagreed with Blankenship and opted to voted against her proposal.

“I find I have no problem with the executive director of the port speaking to the press,” Bronson said during the port’s May meeting.

He added that it isn’t acceptable or realistic for him to serve as a spokesperson because executive director Jim Patton is more familiar with the day-to-day operations of the port.

Blankenship said that Patton has made statements where he has been critical of the county and of other commissioners, which can be implied as being the position of the port.

In a notable instance, Patton was critical of comments Blankenship made concerning Weber during a meeting earlier in the year. He described those comments as “antagonistic.”

“If we make those kinds of statements, then they should come from the commissioners,” Blankenship said. She noted that Patton has made statements about the port’s levy and the county.

Bronson suggested that if any of the commissioners have an issue with Patton’s performance as executive director, then it should be brought up in an executive session.

The media contact issue is the latest of a number of concerns Blankenship has brought forward in her first months in office. She wanted to formalize the process the port uses to take possession of derelict boats and she is currently spearheading a process that formalizes the way the port gives out donations to community organizations.


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