Hopefully choosing new commissioner is a smooth process | Opinion

Just when it seemed Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson was out of surprises, she delivered another shocker this past week.

Following a heated discussion with fellow commissioners at their regular meeting, Emerson announced with all the drama for which she has come to be known that she is resigning.

The Tea Party Republican — the same commissioner who sued Island County, refused to pay thousands of dollars in fines for building violations, was stripped of her chairwoman title by her colleagues for defying board consensus and who had questionable attendance for months — doesn’t like the way the other kids play, so is picking up her ball and going home.

She’s packing up her things and leaving seven months before the job is done.

To this we say, good luck in your future endeavors, Mrs. Emerson, and thank you for your … service.

However, Kelly, fear not for the constituents you leave behind. They will be fine, for there are many who would gratefully and humbly don the District No. 3 hat in service to the greater Island County community.

On that note, the task now falls upon commissioners Helen Price Johnson, a District No. 1 Democrat, and Jill Johnson, a District No. 2 Republican, to fill the vacancy until voters can make their choice known this November in the general election.

It’s a big job, to be sure, but one that was performed just a few years under a similar political makeup when longtime South Whidbey Republican commissioner Mike Shelton resigned to accept a job in Olympia.

The result of that decision saw the appointment of Phil Bakke, the county’s then planning chief.

While he lost his bid in the following election to Price Johnson, the process of selecting Bakke was conducted in a bipartisan way by two commissioners of very different politics — then-commissioners Mac McDowell, an Oak Harbor Republican, and John Dean, a Camano Island Democrat.

Though the voters saw fit to select a different representative, the process revealed that commissioners of different politics can work together in way that best serves the county.

We hope the selection process that lies ahead will be equally smooth and serve as yet another example of how good leaders who don’t always see eye to eye can work together toward a common goal.

Those interested in filling the position being vacated by Emerson may contact the Island County Republican Party via its website at www.islandcountygop.com

As Emerson was elected as a Republican, state law allows the party to come up with a list of three finalists from which the remaining commissioners can choose.


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