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Port regrets remarks about volunteer's access

Commissioners for the Port of Coupeville are rolling back statements they made several months ago concerning a Greenbank resident’s perusal of district records in the port office while the office was unattended and the door was locked.

Two commissioners, Marshal Bronson and Benye Weber, two months ago were critical of Greenbank resident Rick Abraham’s actions when he entered the port office while it was closed and the doors were locked and was examining records on the port’s computer.

Abraham took offense to those criticisms. He has argued that he had permission to be in the office unattended, and he threatened to take legal action against the Port of Coupeville, according to a letter he submitted to the port in March.

Marshal Bronson, who heads the board of commissioners, read a letter into the record during the Port of Coupeville’s April 10 meeting stating the board regrets that Abraham was offended by certain remarks made about his unattended visit to the port office in February.

“These remarks were made during a regular monthly public meeting of the board on Feb. 13, 2013, and may have left the impression with the public that your visit was improper,” Bronson said during the meeting. “Moreover, these remarks were made after you had left the meeting and you were not given the opportunity to respond.”

He said the board noted that Abraham provided a detailed explanation of his actions, and agrees that because of the access given by the executive director his visit in February wasn’t improper.

Abraham barely accepted the letter commissioners Bronson and Benye Weber sent to him.

“I thought it was actually pretty weak and disingenuous, but if there is no more damage, than I think the matter is resolved,” Abraham said in an interview Tuesday morning.

He added that the issue was never about security.

He said the real issue was him questioning the judgment of the commissioners for the Port of Coupeville.

He served on a volunteer committee that came up with recommendations about how the Greenbank Farm should operate once the current agreement with the Greenbank Farm Management group expires.

The commissioners for the Port of Coupeville did approve a resolution this month basically formalizing the public records policies.

The port is going to post times that public records will be made available and those hours will be posted at the door of the office and online at www.portofcoupeville.org, according to the resolution.

The resolution also states that people inquiring for information must be made by appointment only and “no member of the public may be granted unattended access to the port office without prior written approval of the board of commissioners,” according to the resolution.

The port will also charge a fee of 15 cents per page for photocopies of public records, but no fee will be charged for making public records available for inspection.

Commissioners Bronson and Weber approved the resolution.

There are currently two members sitting on the three-member board. Former commissioner Laura Blankenship announced her resignation last week.

 

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