Whidbey News-Times


Island County commissioner Emerson should exercise caution with meetings | In Our Opinion

July 8, 2013 · Updated 3:19 PM

The Island County Board of Commissioners is not the “Kelly Emerson Show.”

Emerson was appropriately scolded Monday by the other two commissioners after going against the board majority.

Contrary to a June 12 work session agreement by the commissioners, Emerson subsequently gave notice that she’d be attending a public discussion in Oak Harbor.

The meeting was to talk about a possible law and justice levy the commissioners may or may not put on a ballot.

Having two of three commissioners attending a meeting creates a quorum, establishing it as an official government meeting because there are enough board members to take action.

There are rules and procedures that must be met to ensure open public meetings laws are followed.

While no vote was taken during the June 12 workshop, both Commissioner Price Johnson and Commissioner Johnson feel the wish to avoid a quorum was clear.

Only one commissioner would attend their designated meeting in their respective districts to avoid the potential problem.

Oak Harbor is the area Johnson represents.

Emerson attended the Oak Harbor meeting, leading Johnson to pull her attendance.

While Emerson is claiming ignorance of any consensus during the June 12 meeting, her actions reveal a lack of respect for fellow board members and accepted protocol.

Johnson and Price Johnson publicly chastised Emerson for her actions, and rightfully so.

Johnson put Emerson on notice, telling her she may be forced to rescind her support of Emerson as board chairwoman.

As chairwoman, Emerson’s role is to represent and enact the wishes of the majority, not indulge her personal agenda.

If Emerson is unable to perform that function, we agree that she shouldn’t be chairwoman.


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