PO Mayor-elect Plans to Stay on Planning Commission

Note: a copy of this blog entry appears on Speaking of South Kitsap.

Swearing in ceremony:
Port Orchard Mayor-elect Lary Coppola, along with newly elected city council members Jerry Childs and Jim Colebank, will take the oath of office at 2 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. Council member-elect Fred Olin is not available and will be sworn in at a later date.

Here’s the entry:

Tomorrow at 2 p.m. at City Hall, Lary Coppola will be sworn in as the new mayor of Port Orchard. Coppola wants to remain on the Kitsap County Planning Commission and says he can do it without conflict of interest.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, who appointed Coppola to the commission, said she supports Coppola’s decision, at least for now. Angel said she is concerned about his ability to juggle running the city and a business, while serving on the planning commission.
“I just question whether he’s going to have the time to do that,” said Angel, who represents District 2. “It’s a bigtime commitment to the planning commission, and I want to make sure we’re adequately represented.”
Angel has advised Coppola to take some time in his new job to evaluate his ability to serve on the planning commission while meeting his other commitments.

Critical of Coppola’s plan to stay on the commission is fellow commissioner Jim Sommerhauser. He said it would create a conflict of interest for Coppola to represent the county by voting on land use issues regarding areas eligible for annexation into the city. Coppola, who believes he is in line for chairmanship of the commission, said he will only vote to break a tie, and will recuse himself from votes that involve a clear conflict of interest. Sommerhauser said that would leave South Kitsap poorly represented on the nine-member commission, with three representatives for each of the the county commissioner districts.

Sommerhauser said he is speaking as an individual and not as a planning commission representative.

Coppola also will continue to write his West Sound Politics blog and his column in the Kitsap Business Journal, both of which he suspended after announcing his candidacy. Now that the election is past, Coppola said, he will once again publish his opinions, with the disclaimer that he represents himself alone and no official position. The title of his column in the December issue is, “He’s baaack …”

“I don’t intend to use it as a tool for anything other than to express my thoughts,” Coppola said. “They won’t reflect any official positions.”

Your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “PO Mayor-elect Plans to Stay on Planning Commission

  1. No conflict of interest?? You have got to be kidding. The Mayor of Port Orchard and a representative of South Kitsap on the County Planning Commission as the same person and he does not see a conflict of interest. Points already raised regarding Coppola not voting unless a tie and to recuse himself if a “clear conflict of interest” arises are enough argument in itself. I guess that means if it is a murky conflict of interest he would vote? This is an obvious grab to influence Kitsap County and especially South Kitsap growth and development in the next 4 years or more. The fact that Jan Angel supports this even only for now is disappointing. Mr. Coppola needs to decide who he wants to fairly represent, the citizens of Port Orchard or the citizens of South Kitsap. When it comes to the Planning Commission there is a difference in the needs and desires of both groups. I for one as a voter and taxpayer in South Kitsap do not feel well represented by Mr. Coppola on the Kitsap County Planning Commission and urge Jan Angel to appoint a South Kitsap representative on the Planning Commission who can represent us full time, not just when a conflict of interest is not apparent.

  2. It might make sense to make a seat available on the County Planning Commission for one member from each City council or planning commission as ex-officio rather than voting members (and vice versa) so as to maintain some communication between what goes on in the various jurisdictions. Or that might just be too many people at too many meetings.

    But Lary has put himself in a catch-22 where he cannot vote if it impacts County/City issues and thus we in SK may be underrepresented. On the other hand, the PC is an advisory body with no real authority and often marginal impact on County Commissioners’ decisions. So let’s not make a big fuss now, but see what happens…

  3. Chris, my thoughts contain amazement that Mr.Coppola could possibly think residents would accept his intent to compromise their right to fair and reasonable representation by his wearing the different hats?

    He KNOWS he is representing conflicts of interest or he would not have ‘suspended’ his West Sound Politics blog and column in the Kitsap Business Journal to run for Mayor.

    South Kitsap deserves qualified people in each role Mr. Coppola plans to fill. Conflict of interest aside, having one person fill each public service job waters down his effectiveness in each. The people deserve better.

    The paper and blog he writes for won’t complain…they would get up-to-date information directly from the horses mouth.

    Not fair, Mr. Coppola, to South Kitsap. They already have strife…they deserve better.representation than one person wearing conflicting hats then writing about it from a #1 political influencing position.

    In my opinion..
    Sharon O’Hara

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