Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Democratic panel may nix terms for GOP planners

The folloowing article appeared in the February 13, 2007 Jefferson County edition of the Peninsula Daily News.

Democratic panel may nix terms for GOP planners

By Evan Cael
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Several residents and colleagues rallied Monday behind the reappointment by the all-Democratic Board of County Commissioners of two Jefferson County planning commissioners who are Republicans.

Jim Hagen, the Planning Commission chairman, and member Dennis Schultz have requested reappointments.

Their four-year term expires March 17.

The Planning Commission is an advisory board to the county commissioners, and its members are appointed by the three commissioners.

At Monday's commissioners meeting at the county courthouse, Planning Commissioner Bud Schindler handed them a petition signed by five of the nine planning commissioners supporting the reappointment of Hagen and Schultz.

Period extended

The county commmissioners also are considering four other applications for the seats held by Schultz and Hagen in commissioner Districts 1 and 2, respectively.

The deadline to receive applications was last Friday, but the county commissioners voted unanimously Monday to extend the application period until Feb. 23.

"We still have applications coming in, and there is no urgency," said County Commissioner David Sullivan, D—Cape George.

"I'm leaning toward not reappointing (Hagen and Schultz)."

Both County Commissioners Phil Johnson, D—Port Townsend, and John Austin, D—Port Ludlow, said they will wait and see what their qualifications are before deciding appointees to the two positions.

Hagen, vice chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party who lives in Cape George, said he's volunteered about 1,000 hours during the past three years as planning commissioner.

"It's going to be a very dynamic year for the Planning Commission," Hagen said.

He cited the critical areas ordinance, shoreline master plan, proposed Black Point master plan resort at Brinnon, an industrial land bank and about 15 expected comprehensive plan amendments.

'Experience important'

"With that kind of workload, experience is going to be important," Hagen said.

Schultz mentioned in his letter seeking reappointment that he earned the county an award from Gov. Chris Gregoire last year for authoring the county's agriculture unified development code update.

He pointed out he is the only planning commissioner ever to be so recognized.

"I have a very strong interest in agriculture and small farming in the county." Schultz said.

Planning Commissioner Bill Miller, an active Jefferson County Democrat, addressed the county commissioners at their Monday meeting.

"Even though I recognize the experience of the two planning commissioners, their terms are expiring,"  Miller said.

He suggested the county commissioners extend the application deadline, which they did.

Resident Richard Hild presented a petition with about 65 signatures in support of Hagen and Schultz.

And the commissioners said they received several e-mails also in support of both men.

The commissioners will conduct open interviews in the coming weeks during their regular Monday meetings for those who have applied.

For residents living in Districts 1 and 2 interested in applying for the non-paid seats, write county commissioners at P.O. Box 1220, Port Townsend, WA  98368 or e-mail them at jeffbocc@co.jefferson.wa.us.

Reporter Evan Cael can be reached at 360-385-2335
or evan.cael@peninsuladailynews.com.


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