Sports and Schools

Blankenship cites ‘backroom scheming’ in Port of Coupeville resignation

After a little more than a year into her six-year term on the commission for the Port of Coupeville, Laura Blankenship resigned this week from her elected position.

In a resignation letter she addressed to commission Chairman Marshall Bronson, she accused the head of the three-member elected body and Port of Coupeville Executive Director Jim Patton of using their skills as political operators to the benefit of the Greenbank Farm Management Group rather than port district taxpayers.

“In my opinion, your backroom scheming and conspiring ensures the farm will not only fail to become the economic driver the taxpayers were promised, it will continue to drain port district resources unnecessarily,” Blankenship said in her resignation letter.

When asked for elaboration Tuesday, Blankenship said she didn’t have any additional comment.

Patton laughed when asked to comment about Blankenship’s resignation letter.

“I don’t think I can improve on it,” Patton said.

He also denies backroom scheming among the port and management group.

“There was never any of that,” Patton said.

Blankenship also penned a letter to the taxpayers and residents living within the Port of Coupeville’s district.

In that letter she stated, “I have absolutely no reason to believe that my continued participation will achieve a better outcome for port district taxpayers.”

A copy of the letter she addressed to taxpayers and residents can be seen on page 5 of today’s The Whidbey Examiner.

There were contentious moments between the port commissioners since Blankenship took office in January 2012.

There were arguments over how the port handles its budget, how it would make reductions during a recent budget shortfall and how it doles out grant dollars.

Most recently, the three-member board argued about how to best implement recommendations formed by a volunteer group examining how the Greenbank Farm should operate once the agreement with the management group expires.

Blankenship tried to get several recommendations approved in January, but she was outvoted by the commissioners Bronson and Benye Weber.

With Blankenship’s resignation, the process will begin to find a replacement.

Patton said the topic of finding a replacement would probably come up during Wednesday’s Port of Coupeville meeting.

That meeting took place after The Whidbey Examiner’s Wednesday morning press deadline.

Patton said the commissioners will look for new applicants and will appoint someone to fill out the remainder of Blankenship’s term, of which is nearly five years remain.

 

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