Whidbey News-Times


Johnson’s chastisement of Emerson is ‘specious’ | Letter

July 13, 2013 · Updated 10:55 AM


Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson’s chastising of fellow Commissioner Kelly Emerson about the June 27 Law and Justice Council forum, Johnson complaining that she “couldn’t even attend her own district’s meeting” is specious.

The Heller Road Fire Station at which that forum was held is in Commissioner Kelly Emerson’s district. I attended.

The law and justice levy lid request is for $2.6 million annually, for five years, starting in 2014, after which it would “sunset” unless the voters opted for renewal.

Sheriff Mark Brown had 43 deputies when elected in 2007.

He now has 33, and he wants to hire an additional 19, for a grand total of 52. He says it would take him at least until 2017 to do so, probably longer.

Prosecutor Banks would receive only about $275,000 of the $2.6 million.

Commissioner Emerson acquiesced that the probability of Island County being able to “sunset” the levy lift when it is due to expire (and keep all those new deputies) is very low.

My conclusion: any so-called “sunset” clause in the ballot resolution is wholly contrived: just like Commissioner Jill Johnson’s claim.

Thank you, Sheriff Brown, Prosecutor Banks and Commissioner Emerson for your time.

The purpose of this meeting was to take public input, not to discuss issues among the commissioners themselves.

If Commissioner Jill Johnson is truly concerned about the appearance of forming unauthorized two-commissioner quorums, perhaps she and Commissioner Price-Johnson should issue special meeting notices for whenever they commute together to the Officer’s Club on Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.


William Burnett

Oak Harbor

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