One of Whidbey’s longest serving elected officials announced he is leaving his position.
Citing health reasons, North Whidbey Park and Recreation District Commissioner Harvey Prosser announced his resignation this week from the elected board.
“I’m trying to get well again and it’s not going well,” said Prosser, 84, who lives north of Oak Harbor.
He added that he is also losing some of his hearing and he isn’t able to understand words that aren’t spoken clearly.
He’s finishing up his 25th year on the elected board. He said he was asked to serve on the board in 1987 shortly after moving to Oak Harbor and after he started swimming at the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool.
Sean Merrill, one of the commissioners on the park board, said he respected Prosser immensely.
“He didn’t speak much, but when he spoke, he carried a lot of weight behind it,” Merrill said during Thursday’s North Whidbey Park and Recreation Commission meeting held at the Oak Harbor Senior Center. “He will be missed.”
Some of the people attending the meeting wanted to know why Prosser resigned. Merrill read most of Prosser’s resignation letter, leaving out the details of the health issue.
Prosser’s resignation comes as the elected board is dealing with criticism stemming from the firings of the North Whidbey Aquatic Club coach Neil Romney and park district administrative assistant Vikki Robinson. Prosser, who has been a longtime swimmer at the pool, said he was very upset about the situation.
Prosser added that he’s confident the younger generation of commissioners will be able to clean up the problems.
Prosser’s resignation leaves the board members working to find a replacement.
Merrill suggested the vacant director position be posted on the district’s website and Facebook page. He also suggested that applications be accepted into January because of the holiday season and the short time before the next meeting.
“I think it would be a disservice to the district if we only have it open a month,” Merrill said during the meeting.
The commissioners eventually approved accepting applications for the vacant commissioner position until Jan. 10, but would accept them up until the board’s Jan. 17 scheduled meeting.
As for Prosser, he hopes to recover enough to start competing again.