The Island Guardain
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360-378-4900 - PO Box 38, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
The Island Guardian is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists

San Juan County Manager, Mike Thomas retired in February. The three member SJ County Council immediately appointed Mark Thompkins as the interim manager during the search for qualified candidates is made. Mark is qualified and up to the task of the duties of the manager, but he has clearly stated that he does not want the job permanently. He has also agreed that he will fill in until the right candidate is found.

The County Manager is a key position in providing an accountable and responsive government through effective, efficient and economical administration in accordance with the County Charter, the Washington State Constitution and other applicable federal, state, and local laws as well as County policy. Protocol is that council members are to establish policy and expectations with the manager who will communicate and oversee the staff to implement that policy. In order to do that he must work closely and be compatible with the elected council members.

Two incumbents on our three-member county council have stated they will not run for re-election. Cindy Wolf announced publicly that she will not run and Christine Minney has reportedly told several people that she does not intend to run. And yet, a three-member council with two “Lame Ducks” plans to hire a county manager.

County Manager is the most important decision the county council makes. It is vital to make sure the new manager will be a good fit for San Juan County and can work well with ALL of the council members. In order to hire the right person for the job, the three council members must be in sync about their expectations for the manager. The final decision for hiring should be made after the election when the two new board members can join the remaining incumbent to interview finalists and make a consensus decision about a county manager who will be best for San Juan County.

Cindy and Chritine, I urge you to do the right thing and defer the decision on County Manager to the newly elected council members who will take office in January 2025.

That’s my two cents worth. What's yours?
Minnie Knych