Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fidley Watch - No End in Sight

At press time, judging by the 3,000-year-old Mayan calendar, the end of the world was fast approaching.

If you’re reading this, the world is still turning (although the accuracy of a calendar developed three thousand years ago that has an accuracy of plus or minus 750 days doesn’t preclude the event from happening next month).

One impending event that is guaranteed is the appointment of a successor to fill a vacancy on the Seattle Port Commission created when Commissioner Gael Tarleton resigns from the Port Commission at the end of this month. At the last election, Tarleton was elected to represent the 36th legislative district in the Washington State House of Representatives. Under State law, the Commission will have 90 days to appoint a successor, and the decision will be taken by majority vote at a Commission meeting.

Tarleton’s successor will serve until the November 2013 general election, when a candidate will be elected to complete her term that expires on Dec. 31, 2015.

The Port of Seattle Commission has announced the proposed schedule for the process, which gives applicants until noon on February 1st to submit application materials. On February 4th, 20 finalists will be named, and they will be asked to address the Commissioners for two minutes at the February 5th Commission meeting, or submit a written statement. By February 12th, the Commission will have narrowed the finalists down to 6, and the commission will appoint the new commissioner in March at one of the scheduled public Commission meetings.

While this commissioner will only serve until the election in November, a temporary commissioner who proves his (or her) competence during this interim and seeks to run for the remainder of the term will effectively be an incumbent with a decided advantage over the competition.

Gael Tarleton has been a friend of the maritime industry during her tenure on the Seattle Port Commission, and we wish her well in her future endeavors representing the 36th district. It is the hope of Pacific Maritime Magazine that her replacement on the Commission be as engaged and interested in the continued success of the local and West Coast maritime community. The Port of Seattle operates the Airport as well as the seaport, and is partially funded by taxes collected from voters in King County. A replacement for Tarleton who respects the contributions of the maritime community is not assured, and it’s entirely possible that someone with little or no knowledge of the industry could be considered.

The West Coast community has a rare opportunity to affect the election of the next commissioner, and it goes without saying that one of the 8,000-plus subscribers to Pacific Maritime Magazine is, or knows, a perfect fit for this position. If the world didn’t end last month, more information on the Seattle Port Commission opening can be found at www.portseattle.org/about/commission/pages/default.aspx.