Monday, June 15, 2015

New Olympia Port Commissioner Appointed

By Mark Edward Nero

At a June 10 meeting, sitting Port of Olympia Commissioners George Barner and Bill McGregor appointed Commission candidate Michelle Morris to the vacant District 3 seat.

Morris is a principal in Olympia-based Sound Resource Management Group, Inc. Previously she served as executive director of Sustainable South Sound; was the founder/director of Thurston County Critical Areas Ordinance Coalition; founder/director of Concerned Citizens of Thurston County; and information analyst/global code of conduct for Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and a Masters in Environmental Studies from Evergreen State College.

Former Commissioner Sue Gunn resigned from the District 3 seat April 1 due to personal health matters. She underwent heart surgery Dec. 18 and due to complications from it, missed several Commission meetings from last November to this past March.

By law, the Port Commission had 90 days to appoint someone to fill the vacancy. If the Commission failed to make a timely decision, the responsibility for the appointment would have shifted to the Thurston County Commission.

The District 3 seat is up for election again in the fall, and there were originally eight candidates for the position; the commissioner narrowed the field to the four who are not running in the fall general election to fill the remaining Sue Gunn’s unexpired term.

Barner and McGregor agreed that the voters should make the choice in that election, and that their appointment of a candidate could give that person an unfair “leg up” as an incumbent.