At a meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. today (Monday, May 14) Port of Bellingham commissioners are scheduled to take up the issue of adding two new commissioners to the three-person panel.
It’s an idea that has been flickering on the margins of local political consciousness for years, but it flared up in the past couple of months, fed by dismay over commissioners’ 2-1 decision to sack Charlie Sheldon as executive director.
Concerned citizens have been gathering signatures to force a public vote on the port commission expansion, but they have also invited commissioners to simply place the matter before voters themselves.
Backers of an expanded port commission had expressed the hope that they could get the measure to voters this August, and then elect two new commissioners in the November 2012 general election. But County Auditor Debbie Adelstein tells me her staff would be hard-pressed to meet ballot publication and overseas ballot mailing deadlines for an August plebiscite on the port commission.
If backers do manage to get port commission expansion to voters in August, and voters agree to it, the resulting election for port commissioners would be a bit unusual. There would be no primary round. The top vote-getters for the two positions would assume their seats on the port commission. That means someone could be elected with a small fraction of the votes cast, if there are a lot of candidates. But let’s cross that bridge when and if we get to it.