Bay Wolf and Great Bender posed some questions that, from my perspective as a recent applicant for a Commission seat, need to be answered. If a vacancy occurs, the seat is supposed to be filled within 60 days.
1. I heard 13 to 14 names might have been on the list. I don’t know when they applied. I was told that some names are on pretty much a “standing list” for appointments to Commissions and Boards.
2. Applications were going to close around February 15 per Keith Swenson, Director of the Governor's Office of Boards and Commissions, and a decision was expected to be made "soon".
3. I only saw one application....mine, submitted on February 14 for the "at-large" position.
4. I had follow-up contacts with Mr. Swenson on March 21 and 29 when I was advised that no decisions would be made until after the legislative session was over. The 2019 Legislative session ended April 28. A subsequent contact with Mr. Swenson, on April 2, set up a meeting on April 11 to discuss my application.
5. On April 11, I had a meeting lasting a little over an hour Mr. Swenson at the Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters in Olympia.
6. Subsequent email contacts, asking if decision had been made, with Mr. Swenson were done on May 10, June 7, June 21, July 19, and July 24.
7. On July 24, the Governor's office announced that Molly Linville and Jim Anderson had been selected as the new Commissioners. I never received a contact from Mr. Swenson as to the decision having been made.
If you want to get a sense of the process, here is a link to the Governor’s Boards and Commissions website:https://www.governor.wa.gov/boards-commissions
I would encourage folks to read through RCW 77 – the Fish and Wildlife statutes. https://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=77
and, in particular, as to the statutes relating to Commission activities, look at:https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=77.04
The operative word in many of the statutory sections is "...shall..." not "...may...". They have the authority and need to, in my opinion, set down some operational mandates for the Director and for him to pass along to staff as required objectives to be done.
I've been working with the Commission protocols for 50 years. I've seen it work in other states and I've seen some promise in this Commission off and on over the past 20 years.
It is a political process, no doubt about it. Personally, I'd like to see some changes in the statutes as they relate to the Commission selection process. One major change is found in the Colorado statutes (CRS 33-9-101(c)) which reads:
" (c) Of the voting members appointed to the commission, there shall not be a difference of more than one person between those members affiliated with any major political party."
That would/could help remove some of the political pressure. Commissioners should be apolitical. Their first priority should be to the resource. They should not have to be concerned about potential removal should they buck the establishment on an issue.
There are four Commissioners whose terms are up this year. Carpenter on October 31, and Kehoe, Smith, and Graybill on December 31.