Port might add meetings

OLYMPIA – The Port of Olympia commission will vote Monday on whether to add more public meetings to its schedule, an idea that would give commissioners more time to bone up on port issues and increase public awareness, a port commissioner said Friday.

If the idea is approved Monday by the commission, as many as two special meetings could be held every month, according to Monday’s meeting agenda. The meetings would be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Thursdays after the commission meeting agenda is published.

“These meetings would be announced at the regular port commission meetings and the years’ schedule would be put on our Web page,” according to Monday’s agenda.

Although Commissioner George Barner said he raised this idea a few months ago, Commissioner Jeff Davis will present it at Monday’s meeting, according to the agenda.

Davis and Commissioner Bill McGregor could not be reached Friday.

Barner said Friday he likes the idea of more special meetings so the board would have more time to talk about port issues before rushing into decisions at the regularly scheduled port commission meetings. Although the special meetings would be open to the public, public comment would not be heard, an approach similar to that taken during commission work sessions.

At the special meetings, commissioner questions could be answered by port staff members and particular points of view could undergo further analysis, Barner said.

“It’s important to have that exchange before all the commissioners,” he said, adding that as a result the “public process is more open and transparent.”

Commissioners are paid for the meetings they attend. The port’s finance director could not be reached Friday, but Barner said he is paid about $90 per meet- ing. Although more commission meetings might increase the port’s costs, he’s not out to “ante up the port’s budget,” Barner said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403