Whidbey News-Times


Port of Coupeville is justified in questioning access | Editorial

March 18, 2013 · Updated 3:55 PM

Former Port of Coupeville volunteer Rick Abraham is on the defensive this week after port commissioners questioned what he was doing in the port office, accessing records, while the office was closed.

He called their questioning an “unfounded attack.”

What exactly is “unfounded” about officials, tasked with overseeing an agency’s operations, questioning why a non-employee was in the office accessing files after hours?

The commissioners have every right to ask those questions and raise concerns.

Abraham was part of the volunteer group tasked with evaluating how the port should handle Greenbank Farm.

Yet he admits he wasn’t acting as a member of that committee at the time of this incident.

What was he doing?

If he wasn’t acting as part of this group, was he acting as a private citizen?

And if he was acting as a private citizen what gives him the right to enter the port office through a side door after hours?

He doesn’t have that right.

Executive Director Jim Patton said he gave the committee “generous license” to access records during their work and that the commissioners weren’t aware of that.

He takes responsibility for a communication breakdown.

But again, Abraham said he wasn’t acting on behalf of the committee.

He was in the office after the committee submitted its report.

Just because Abraham was on this committee doesn’t give him continued unfettered access.

Patton said he will be researching a new ordinance that establishes limits on when and how records can be accessed. Really?

The port has to establish an ordinance that says the public can’t access records when the port office is closed?

The bigger issue needing to be addressed is how Abraham got into the office after hours through a side door from another business.

Abraham said he’s considering litigation depending on how the commissioners respond to this situation.

The commissioners have responded appropriately.


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