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Pool commissioner leaves ‘drama’ behind

With Kirk Huffer now living in Arizona, North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District is looking to fill his vacant seat on the board of commissioners.

Huffer left the parks board in June after a tumultuous year in the board’s history. Former district director Bill Walker quit late last year after repeated clashes with the board.

Walker fired a swim coach and administrative assistant in 2012 when both refused to provide him with a password for the swim club’s bank account.

The Washington State Auditor’s Office investigated and found more than $18,000 in adjustments had been  made to club members’ accounts without explanation. The two employees sued the district for wrongful termination and received settlements.

In his new city, Huffer said he would be willing to get involved in a parks district again, but “hopefully one without all the drama.

“I hope to pass on some good ideas if I find a healthy district down here,” Huffer said.

Huffer said he left the district believing that it is in good hands with the new director Gino Wolfe, whom he called “a good fit.” Gino, a retired Navy command master chief, started his new position in May.

“I felt like I left with a lot of work still to be done,” Huffer said, “but I believe … we are making progress in the right direction.

“I learned a lot about human nature and myself while serving on the board as a volunteer,” he said.

As an accountant, parks and recreation district Commissioner Alan McDougall said Huffer was a “big help” in understanding the financial reports the board received.

“He provided a lot,” McDougall said. “He was a straightforward kind of guy. He had points, and you had to try and figure them out sometimes, but they were usually very sound.”

McDougall said that the board is looking for a replacement who is “concerned about physical fitness, health and the community (and) understands a little bit about procedure, so they can pick up speed really quickly.”

He said there are already a couple people interested in the job who “seem like nice people,” but he doesn’t know them personally.

“Essentially, we’ll just choose one who seems the best,” McDougall said.

Huffer said he moved at the end of June in part because he and his wife were looking for an environment in which their children could compete in advanced swimming competitions.

“My wife and I made the decision to look elsewhere for a team that better fits their needs,” Huffer said. “It was not a decision made lightly.”

In the end, Huffer said that he hopes his replacement will “have a vision for the district, which includes updating the current facility and releasing the additional potential that is there.”

Anyone interested in being considered for the open position on the parks and recreation district board should log on to www.oakharborpool.com/open-position-on-commission-board

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