Quite the Port of Bellingham commissioner meeting yesterday. As is well known by now, the commission did not offer Charlie Sheldon his job back as executive director. Mike McAuley made the motion, knowing it was an empty gesture, and Jim Jorgensen and Scott Walker just sat there, neither giving a second to the motion.
And so the die is cast - with Jorgensen and Walker confirming their illegal and attempted secretive play to oust Sheldon for no apparent reason. At least no reason was forthcoming over the next half hour as the two of them tried to explain it all to the packed room of citizens. Virtually everyone was there to support rehiring Sheldon.
Prior to this, the three commissioners met for over two hours in a closed executive session. And upon opening the public portion of the meeting at 3:20 p.m., about 20 people spoke in support of Sheldon, with several more speaking to an issue of lead in aviation gas at the airport.
I took a video of the three speeches and have posted it to YouTube. As my camera will only shoot about 15 minutes of continuous video, the 26:16 minutes is missing about 10 seconds of Jorgensen's speech at the 16:16 point of the film. You hardly notice it. I have ordered the full audio of the meeting, and will add Jorgensen's words here as an 'update' in a few days.
Click here to view the Video on YouTube.
Here is a timeline of the three speakers.
McAuley from beginning to 7:12 -
Walker from 7:45 until 15:39 -
Jorgensen from 15:39 until 18:36
For the last 8 minutes, Walker talks the most and jousts with the audience over the reasons for firing Sheldon. Walker tries to revise history by saying the commission did not force Sheldon to resign and that Sheldon did not plan to stay at the port very long anyway. The audience becomes disgusted with Walker's lies and calls him out on it.
We can each draw our own conclusions from the video. For me, it is instructive to see how Jorgensen seems so blank and how his explanations lack any specificity or logic. One can see how Walker could bully him into helping with firing Sheldon.
My hope is we don't let our disgust with all this be forgotten, but use this clear example of port commissioners Walker and Jorgensen refusing to be accountable to the voters as a lever to increase the commission to 5 members. More on that later.