Commissioners pull chair title from Emerson

Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson is no longer chairwoman of the board.

Carrying through with threats made last week, commissioners Helen Price Johnson and Jill Johnson voted to revoke Emerson's status as chair during the last minutes of Wednesday's work session.

"I feel the chair has once again decided to just make her own decision and put out another special session notice," Price Johnson said. "I don't believe this is in the best interest of the county, to be on edge wondering what the next thing the chair will be doing."

Price Johnson moved to reconsider chairwomanship of the board and received a second from Johnson.

"I am sad," Johnson said. "We can argue the nuances of what was said and what wasn't said for this special session, but the direction from this board was clear."

Emerson called the decision "ludicrous." She said her actions were appropriate and, as she saw it, actually in line with what the majority of the board really wanted.

A special session notice wasn't required, she claimed, but she decided to approve one anyway believing her colleagues on the board would want to play it safe.

"So frankly, I did exactly what the majority of the board was desiring," Emerson said.

Price Johnson and Johnson disagreed and voted, 2-1 with Emerson opposing, to revoke chairwoman status.

Price Johnson then made a motion to name Johnson as chairwoman for the remainder of the year. Emerson refused to conduct the vote.

"I'm not chair anymore," Emerson said.

Johnson took the reins and called for a vote, which passed 2-0 with Emerson abstaining.

Additional coverage of the commissioners' decision will appear in the Saturday print edition of the Whidbey News-Times and the South Whidbey Record.

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