Letters to the Editor

Harbormaster finally vindicated

We who know former Harbormaster Mack Funk socially and personally were astonished at the published implications of impropriety knowing that he took over a job that had been sorely neglected and worked hard at making the needed repairs and improvements which included making the marina a pleasant and safe place for all who patronize it.

As a volunteer who helped build the Kids Don’t Float PFD-loaner kiosk and member of the local boating-safety promoting Power Squadron, we got to know the Funks as pleasantly dedicated people who enjoyed the reputation they earned for getting needed things done like hadn’t happened before.

Developing a rapport with the marina’s clients was made difficult because his first assignment was to discharge an employee who was well liked among some at the marina but had apparently behaved inappropriately. But he did, continued established precedents, and then went to work getting repairs made to the electrical system, floatation devices and other needs including arranging and managing the long overdue dredging project that is still unfinished. He endeared himself to those who use the marina all of whom believed he was doing right things.  Understandably, the sudden dissatisfaction from city management came as an unwelcome shock, but he agreed to tender his resignation pending a promised investigation which didn’t come until after his resignation was accepted.

The marina was established as an independent entity that fiscally produced an annual surplus of about $300,000 over operating expenses providing funding for its long-term needs. But the city decided to fold marina finances into the city’s operating budget in order to manage resources more to their wants especially with the controversial Pioneer Way project in financial jeopardy. They successively jacked up moorage fees upsetting long-term customers particularly those who live on their boats.  Getting things done properly at the marina apparently didn’t set well with upper management priorities.

Thanks to Editor Jim Larsen and reporter Justin Burnett for digging deeper into this story. At least Mack was vindicated of the implications and we wish him and his family well for whatever the future holds. Whidbey Island has been a historic refuge for decent low income people who don’t deserve to be cast to the wolves of uncaring opportunistic transient interests (like efforts to take over the hospital). Let’s hope that Oak Harbor’s marina remains the gracious monument to the city’s history it has been.

Al and Barbara Williams
Oak Harbor

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