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It was a hard vote for commissioners, but a necessary one | In our opinion
Island County commissioners Jill Johnson and Helen Price Johnson had no option but to strip Kelly Emerson of her role as board chairwoman this week.
Undoubtedly, it was a difficult vote for Emerson’s fellow commissioners to cast, but it was the right one.
When she was named chairwoman of the Board of Island County Commissioners, Emerson wasn’t directed on what to say or how to vote.
Her voice was not silenced.
However, after a decision was made by the board, whether she agreed with it or not, Emerson’s responsibility was to implement that decision and abide by it.
It’s important for the board to present a united front.
A week ago, Emerson issued a notice saying she would attend a public meeting to discuss a possible law and justice levy measure for November’s ballot.
The meeting was being held in Oak Harbor, an area represented by Johnson.
Prior to Emerson issuing that notice, Johnson, a Republican, and Price Johnson, a Democrat, said they made it clear that each commissioner would attend the law and justice meetings planned in their respective districts.
Emerson, a Republican, who represents Camano Island, maintained that wasn’t her understanding.
Johnson, who backed out of attending the Oak Harbor meeting, issued a warning to Emerson — do it again and her vote, which put Emerson in the chair position, would be rescinded.
This week, Emerson did it again. She issued a similar notice and attended the law and justice meeting planned for Freeland, the district represented by Price Johnson.
Johnson and Price Johnson followed through with their warning and voted to remove Emerson as chair.
The commissioners must now put this debacle behind them and move on with the business of Island County.
The commissioners’ responsibilities are great and work load huge. We hope not to see any more unnecessary distractions hamper their efforts to get the work done.