Footnote on Coppola planning commission appointment

The issue of residency was raised Tuesday, as the Port Orchard City Council (minus Rob Puttaansuu and Fred Chang, who were working) discussed outgoing Mayor Lary Coppola’s appointment of his wife Dee Coppola to the city planning commission.

It was up to the council to confirm (or not) the appointment. The planning commission is an advisory board, like the several other boards and committees that weigh in on topics such as parks and development design standards. The planning commission advises on land use, and so could be seen as a relatively powerful body of citizen advisers.

Typically, the council accepts the mayor’s recommendations for all boards and committees without much to-do. But during discussion of Dee Coppola’s appointment, there was a focus on the residency rule that only one of the eight planning commission members can be a nonresident. The council on Dec. 13, already had appointed Robert Baglio, who lives outside city limits.

The Coppolas live in The Rockwell Apartments in downtown Port Orchard, and they own a home in Manchester. At Tuesday’s meeting I, too, was wondering about the residency issue, since Mayor Coppola, in an interview Monday, told me he and Dee plan to move back to Manchester.

The whole thing was also a bit reminiscent of rumors that swirled around Lary Coppola’s official residence during his 2007 bid for mayor.

On Tuesday, Councilman Fred Olin asked, “If someone on the planning commission moves out of the city, and Mr. Baglio is appointed as the non-resident, would that person have to withdraw from the planning commission?”

City attorney Greg Jacoby said city code does not address the issue, which has not come up before. He said there were a couple of possible interpretations. On the one hand, the council could ask to have the appointee removed from the commission. On the other, the appointee could be considered grandfathered in. “I’m not saying that’s the best interpretation,” Jacoby said.

At the request of the council, Jacoby said he would do further research to try to clarify how the code should be interpreted in the event Dee Coppola does move out of the city during her term on the planning commission.

Dee Coppola herself was clear on what would happen. “I’d have to resign,” she said, while allowing for the possibility of being grandfathered in. It would be up to the council to make that call, she implied.

Dee added that she and Lary have no immediate plans to move into the Manchester house, in which the Coppolas have undertaken an extensive remodel. There’s still a lot of work to be done, Dee said. So as for moving, “It’s going to be a while.”

7 thoughts on “Footnote on Coppola planning commission appointment

  1. If the code is written in English, do not try to interpret it. Follow it.

    If the code does not answer the question, change it so that it does.

    We do so like to interpret our own language from English to…what?

  2. The Port Orchard Planning Commission appointment of Dee Coppola: One more tawdry tactic by a failed mayor who can’t accept defeat and simply go away. That about sums up the situation with the appointment of his wife to the planning commission. A person with character and class would stand tall, congratulate his opponent and move on with grace and dignity. But, not Lary. He is a confrontational bully who can’t accept that his personal failings elected his opponent. Dee should do the right thing, pass on the planning commission appointment fiasco, and let the new mayor appoint members of his choosing to the planning commission.

  3. Denis — I’ve read more than my fair share of land use code, as an example, and DOD engineering standards, and I can tell you that what I read was written in a version of English that is foreign to most Americans. Some City codes are well written, easy to understand… and some are not. Interpreting this stuff into regular English isn’t easy, and that’s why the attorneys get the big bucks.

  4. OR, they could just do the right thing and not accept Lary’s attempt at nepotism.

    Is the town of Port Orchard so devoid of qualified people to sit on the Planning Commission that they have to resort to ‘inbreeding’ to fill a vacancy?

  5. John Hough, that is your assessment, it’s not fact.

    Why is it so hard to believe Mayor Coppola appointed his wife as one of his last acts as Mayor? He appointed her to another term on the Public Facilities whatever a couple weeks back. No one had a cow over that.

    Port Orchard’s annual budget is 30 million dollars, the bulk of which goes to law enforcement. The County’s annual budget is 315 million or so, the SKSD’s annual budget is somewhere between 96 and 120 million, depending on who you talk to. Combine the budgets of those two liberal institutions and it’s upwards of 420 million dollars a year. Combined, it’s 12, 14 times the budget of the City of Port Orchard. Take my word for it, there is plenty of nefarious stuff going on in that school district and in the County government. I’d like to hear your assessment of that.

    Don’t you have something better to worry about, John Hough, than a civic-minded citizen’s appointment to an 8 member small town planning commission?

  6. “The County’s annual budget is 315 million or so, the SKSD’s annual budget is somewhere between 96 and 120 million, depending on who you talk to. Combine the budgets of those two liberal institutions and it’s upwards of 420 million dollars a year. Combined, it’s 12, 14 times the budget of the City of Port Orchard. Take my word for it, there is plenty of nefarious stuff going on in that school district and in the County government. I’d like to hear your assessment of that.

    The main problem with your statement is that it is not related to the subject of the blog post. This posting talks about “residency“. Yes, in a previous article there was a discussion of nepotism. But this posting is concerned with RESIDENCY .

    To support that thought, it references the status of Robert Baglio, and the 2007 election of Lary Coppola. At that time, Coppola lived on his boat to establish that he lived within the city limits.

    South Kitsap Schools has an administrative board that supervises them. Please Google Kathryn Simpson. She’s a member of that board, and I’m sure she’d be happy to talk to you. There’s no connection at all between the city, or the planning commission, with regard to the schools.

  7. @ Electricaltape

    #1 I support Dee’s appointment to the Planning Commission and Lary’s legal right to do so as the outgoing Mayor.

    #2 Having served on my own School District Finance Committee for three years, I can honestly say that what I feel to be the most of the questionable spending by local school districts is a direct result from years of crappy, restrictive, redundant, mandated and not funded legislation from the Federal and State level. The union hostage holding status quo of personnel staffing, expensive and long term retirement liabilities is not sustainable but is fully protected and kept firmly in place by that same crappy legislation which has not been overturned because of candidate and election buyoffs by education unions.

    #3 Having served this past year in a limited capacity on the Kitsap County Budget Review committee, I can say that some operations and departments are running very lean and some are to the point where citizen rights and safety will be in jeopardy if more cuts continue. Other departments and the commissioners as a whole need a heck of a lot more citizen review, education, whistleblowing and oversight.

    #4 In this instance I actually agree with Ducttape01, except for the fact that all of these public agencies and operations need more citizen involvement and oversight; they are all separate issues and budgets beholden to an endless list of legal restrictions and or unfunded or underfunded mandates by the state and federal governments. Kathryn Simpson is the President of the South Kitsap School Board. There are times where she and I do not agree, but we communicated frequently about education issues and find much common ground. Contact her and outline the nefarious goings on you see occurring.

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