Homola picks her planning commissioner

An expert in water quality and watershed restoration projects will likely become the newest member of the Island County Planning Commission.

But another vacancy remains to be filled as a shakeup of the planning department continues with Planning Director Jeff Tate’s surprise resignation Wednesday.

On Monday, the board of commissioners are scheduled to decide whether to accept Commissioner Angie Homola’s recommendation to appoint Coupeville resident Rex Porter to the planning commission.

If confirmed, Porter will fill the seat vacated by Oak Harbor resident Bill Massey. It’s a somewhat controversial issue since the commissioners’ rescinded former Commissioner Mac McDowell’s pick for the spot after Homola asserted that it was her right to make the appointment.

Porter has a wealth of experience in planning. He is the lead consultant for the county’s Holmes Harbor Shellfish Protection District, he wrote the county health department’s septic tank management plan and he’s the project manager for the county’s watershed and salmon recovery project.

In addition, Porter is the executive director of the county’s Marine Resources Committee and he wrote the Coupeville Storm and Waste Water Reuse program, according to his resume.

Four others applied for the position. They are James Bruner, a retired Air Force major, a former technical editor and aerospace engineer; Kurt Jaehning, a school teacher and commercial fisherman; Tara Hizon, a residential real estate appraiser; and Mahmoud Abdel-Monem, a pharmaceutical chemist and WSU Beach Watcher who works for a company in Minnesota that creates mineral products for animal consumption.

Construction project manager David Sherman, the man who McDowell briefly appointed to the commission, did not submit an application.

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